Infinitives (Non-Finites)

  • To answer the questions on Infinitives and Gerund it is good to study how they can be interchanged.
  • Finite verbs have a particular person (First - singular or plural, Second - singular or plural, Third - singular or plural) and tense (Present, Past, Future) and they change accordingly.
  • Infinitives do not have a particular person or tense and they remain constant always (do not change).
  • There are three groups of infinitives:
  1. Infintives
  2. Participles
  3. Gerunds

1. Infinitives

  i) Present Infinitives
  •      To study, to go, to build, to learn, to swim, to talk, to speak.
 ii) Perfect Infinitives
  •      To have studied, to have gone, to have built, to have learnt, to have swum.
     Infinitives can be used

     i) As the subject of a verb
  •         To work is to pray.
    ii) As the object of a verb
  •         My desire is to serve the poor.
   iii) As the object of Preposition
  •         There was nothing left but to fight.
    The infinitive is used

     i) To express purpose
  •         We eat to live.
    ii) To indicate the result
  •         The news proved to be false.
   iii) To indicate the probability
  •         She is going to narrate a story.
   iv) To join two sentences or replace a clause
  •         He has some bills.  He must pay them.  He has some bills to pay.
  •         I am going to Delhi where I will start a business.  I am going to Delhi to start a business.

2. Participles

  i) Present Participle (Verbal Nouns)
  •      Studying, going, building, learning, swimming, speaking.
 ii) Past Participles (Verbal Adjectives)
  •      Studied, going, built, learned, swum, spoken.
A Participle (Verbal Adjective) is that form of the verb which has also the nature of an adjective.
  •     Seeing a snake, the girl ran away.
'Seeing a snake' qualifies the girl and the verb 'see' has an object.

There are two kinds of Participles
  1. Present Participle (which is always Active)
  2. Past Participle (which always denotes a completed action or state and it is always Passive in meaning)
  • A rolling stone gathers no moss.
  • A burnt child dreads the fire.
iii) The Present Participle is used to form the Continuous Tenses (Active Voice)
  •      I am speaking.  I was speaking.  I will be speaking.
iv) The Past Participle is used in th Perfect Tenses and also to form the Passive Voice.
  1. I have spoken.
  2. I had spoken.
  3. I will have spoken.
  4. I have been given.
  5. I had been given.
  6. I will have been given.
 v) We can join two sentences by using Participles.
  • The thief saw the police man.  He ran away.
  • Seeing the police man, the thief ran away.
  • He was encouraged by his success, he made further efforts.

3. Gerunds

  • Studying, going, building, learning, swimming, speaking.
The Gerund is a Verbal Noun.
  • Cycling is a healthy exercise.
 i) A Gerund can be a Subject, an Object , a Complement or an Object of a Preposition.
  •     Living in a city is expensive. (Subject) 
  •     He loves visiting new places. (Object)
  •     What he dislikes is getting up early. (Complement)
  •     She is fond of cooking. (Object of a Preposition)
ii) A Gerund can be used instead of an Infinitive and an Infinitive instead of Gerund.
  •     The dog started barking.                                   The dog started to bark.
  •     Panneer continued to work even after midnight.  Panneer continued working even after midnight.

Complete the sentences using a gerund or an infinitive.

Example: I strongly suggest________an attorney on hand before signing a contract to buy a home.
               a) having        b) to have
Answer : a) having

 1. Do all of us need_____?
     a) going      b) to go

 2. Bertha promised_____?
     a) writing    b) to write

 3. Joe doesn't mind_____by himself.
     a) working  b) to work

 4. Jenny and her husband seem_____the perfect life.
     a) having     b) to have

 5. Do you really enjoy_____to work on Monday morning?
     a) going       b) to go

 6. After eating its fill, the monkey decide_____home some food.
     a) carrying    b) to carry

 7. The higher return you hope to achieve, the more you must risk_____.
     a) losing       b) to lose

 8. When Michael lived in Asia, he missed_____Christmas with his family.
      a) celebrating b) to celebrate

 9. I vehemently dislike_____with morons, screw-ups, deadbeats, crooks and liars.
     a) dealing      b) to deal

10. Although Sumi has a good job, she can't afford______out of her parents' house.
      a) moving    b) to move

Answers: 1. b  2. b  3. a  4. b  5. b  6. b  7. a  8. a  9. a  10. b


Complete the sentences using a gerund or an infinitive.

Example: The Rules Committee allowed each candidate______for five minutes.
               a) talking      b) to talk
Answer : b) to talk

 1. Our teacher doesn't allow______in Study Hall.
     a) talking          b) to talk

 2. This license permits______under certain conditions.
     a) driving          b) to drive

 3. Would you be willing to allow me______my own opinion?
     a) having           b) to have

 4. Should we permit foreigners______campaign contributions?
     a) making          b) to make

 5. For the protection fo our campers, we cannot permit______.
     a) wandering     b) to wander

 6. Our work schedules do not permit us______our children long distances.
     a) driving          b) to drive

 7. You'll be surprised how preparing ahead will allow______some extra fun too.
     a) having           b) to have

 8. How can you permit your children______around New York at the dead of night?
     a) wandering      b) to wander

 9. This knife has a particularly fine blade that allows______precise cuts and incisions.
     a) making           b) to make

10. Group work allows students______about their understandings and discoveries with peers.
     a) talking            b) to talk

Answers: 1. a  2. a  3. b  4. b  5. a  6. b  7. a  8. b  9. a  10. b


Complete the sentences using a gerund or an infinitive.
Example: I mean______at the truth.
               a) arriving        b) to arrive
Answer : b) to arrive

 1. Stop______mean to your sister!
     a) being           b) to be

 2. On my way home. I stopped______some gas.
     a) getting         b) to get

 3. After high school, Sally went on______medicine.
     a) studying      b) to study

 4. Before you go to sleep, don't forget______the door.
     a) locking        b) lock

 5. As soon as Archana turns 18, she means______to Hollywood.
     a) moving        b) to move

 6. Selvam remembered______in to me at a party two years ago.
     a) running        b) to run

 7. We regret______you that we have suspended all business activity.
     a) informing     b) to inform

 8. We will never forget______called Mommy and Daddy for the first time.
     a) being           b) to be

 9. I don't regret______up tennis and settling down with my wife and children.
     a) giving          b) to give

10. I had to go home early yesterday because my son had forgotten______his key.
     a) talking          b) to talk

Answers: 1. a  2. b  3. b  4. b  5. b  6. a  7. b  8. a  9. a  10. b


Put the verb in brackets into gerund or infinitive
Example: I used (ride)______a lot but not any more.  (key = to ride)
  1. You still have a lot (learn)______in English.
  2. You don't need (ask)______him every time you want to go out.
  3. Would you like (come)______with me to the gym?
  4. Why do you keep (look)______at me?
  5. We got tired of (wait)______for better weather.
  6. The washing machine began (make)______a terrible noise.
  7. The police accused him of (steal)______the money from the house.
  8. She didn't like (leave)______the children alone but she had no choice.
  9. She apologized for (borrow)______the book without your permission.
  10. Most people prefer (spend)______their money to saving it.
  11. It's much better (stay)______at home than to go out in the rain.
  12. It isn't good for you (eat)______so many sweets.
  13. I'm vey sorry for (be)______late.
  14. I'm for (do)______nothing till he arrives.
  15. I didn't feel like (work)______so I phoned my boss.
  16. He took to (get up)______early every day.
  17. He expects you (go)______with him.
  18. He decided (put)______his coat on the hanger.
  19. Do you remember (post)______the letter?  Are you sure you've posted it?
  20. Do you feel like (go)______to the cinema?
Answers: 1. to learn  2. to ask  3. to come  4. looking  5. waiting  6. to make  7. stealing  8. to leave
                9. borrowing  10. spending  11. to stay  12. to eat  13. being  14. doing  15. working
               16. getting up  17. to go  18. to put  19. posting  20. going

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