The infinitive is an impersonal form of a verb that names an action and answers the question what to do? what to do? The infinitive is used with the particle to, can have forms of time and state, but does not indicate either person or number.

Forms of the infinitive

Indefinite (simple infinitive)to + verb (to call)to be + verb +

-ed/III form (for irregular verbs) (to be called)

Continuous (continuous infinitive)to be + verb+ -ing (to be calling)
Perfect (perfect infinitive)to have + verb +

-ed/III form (for irregular verbs) (to have called)

to have been + verb + -ed/III form (for irregular verbs) (to have been called)
Perfect Continuous (perfect continuous infinitive)to have been + verb + -ing (to have been calling)


  • Indefinite (simple infinitive) – in the active state the verb remains unchanged (to call), in the passive (passive) the ending -ed (to be called) is added. Can mean present or future tense
  • Continuous (continuous infinitive) – indicates a long-term action that occurs simultaneously with another action expressed in a sentence by a predicate verb in the personal form
  • Perfect (perfect infinitive) – used to specify what precedes the action expressed by the predicate verb
  • Perfect Continuous (perfect continuous infinitive) – indicates an action that began and continued for a certain time before another action expressed by a verb in the personal form (predicate verb), or this action continues. This form of the infinitive emphasizes the duration of the action in time

The main cases of using the infinitive

To express the goalI’ve come here to talk to you
After some verbs: to agree, to appear, to decide, to expect, to hope, to plan, to promise, to refuseShe agreed to buy a ticket for me
After some adjectives that describe a person’s feelings and emotions or characterНе is so glad to see you 
After the adverbs too and enoughНе is too tired to go to the cinema now
After some nouns and pronouns, for example, something, somewhere, anyone, nothing, to express something necessary or possibleCan you bring something to drink, please 
In the grammatical construction be + the first / second etc., next / last / bestShe was the first to pass the exam 
In the grammatical construction itbe + adjective / pronounIt is necessary to learn it by heart 
After some verbs: to ask, to learn, to find out, to wonder, to want to know, to decide, if they are followed by the question word who, what, where, how , when, whom, whose, but not whyShe asked how to get to the museum 

Bare Infinitive or Zero Infinitive is the form of the infinitive without the particle to.

Use of the infinitive without the particle to

the simple infinitive is used after modal verbs (can, must, тау, should, might, could)She can ski 
After verbs to let, to make, to see, to hear, to feel

But: be made /be heard/be seen + to + infinitive (passive structure)

We saw him talk to the manager

 Не was seen to talk to the director 

After structure had better/ would ratherYou had better rent a car 
In sentences beginning with the phrase why notWhy not dance?


  1. Чіміріс Ю.В. Довідник у таблицях. Англійська мова. 7 – 11 класи. 2018. – 32 ст. 
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