Verb patterns. Using the Infinitive in English

Starting to learn English, we build short sentences and express thoughts with simple constructions. However, deepening our knowledge and expanding vocabulary, we are faced with many strange and incomprehensible combinations. In this part, we will try to understand how verb patterns works, and also what an infinitive and a gerund are, and how to choose one or another to sound correct, beautiful and “English” =)

So, we need the full infinitive (to - infinitive):

  1. To express an intention or an aim.

She went to the market to buy some milk.

  1. After certain verbs: afford, agree, allow (in passive), appear, arrange, ask, attempt, choose, dare, decide, expect, fail, forget, help, hope, learn, manage, offer, plan, pretend, promise, refuse, seem, tend, threaten, want, would like.

They promised to help us with the party.

We decided to visit our friend while we are on holiday.

  1. After adjectives that:
  1. Describe emotions and feelings: happy, glad, etc.
  2. Express willingness or unwillingness: willing, eager, reluctant, anxious, unwilling, etc.
  3. Describe traits of character: mean, clever, etc
  4. After adjectives lucky and fortunate

He was sad to hear that we had left.

Why are you so reluctant to help?

She was clever not to believe her friend.

It should be said as well that adjectives describing the traits of character, can be used with unpersonal construction

It + be + adjective + of + noun/pronoun

It was clever of her not to believe her friend.

  1. After certain nouns and pronouns: something, somewhere, anyone, nothing, etc. Usually, these constructions show something possible or obligatory.

We have a lot of work to do.

Tale something to eat when you leave on your trip.

  1. After verbs too and enough

You are too young to go abroad alone.

  1. With the construction it + be + adjective/noun

It is important to remember these rules.

It was our dream to open our own restaurant.

  1. When we want to speak about some sudden or unexpected event, which is unpleasant. Usually it is followed by the word only.

I came to work only to find that it was a holiday and the office was closed.

  1. After the construction be + first/second, etc./next/last/best, etc.

He is the last one to trust.

  1. After such verbs and phrases as ask, learn, find out, wonder, want to know, decide, explain, etc. if they are followed by question words (who, what, where, etc.)

She wanted to know how to operate the machine.

They haven’t explained how to deal with this.

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