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Detailed Notes On Infinitives. Essay

2805 words - 11 pages

INFINITIVESInfinitives, usually, but not always, is preceded by to. While you normally think of only one type of infinitive (to + verb), there are actually four types:Active Present: to drive Passive Present: to be drivenActive Perfect: to have driven Passive Perfect: to have been drivenInfinitives become difficult because they can function as a noun, an adverb, or an adjective. It is up to you to determine which one. Infinitives are similar to participles and gerunds in that they can have a direct object. By using the "key" (whom?/what? after the infinitive), you can determine whether or not the infinitive has a direct object:Helen decided to accept the challenge.Infinitive + whom?/what? = direct objectTo accept + what? = challenge (challenge is the direct object of the infinitive)Infinitives differ from gerunds and participles in that they can also have subjects. Gerunds and Participles cannot have subjects. This subject always comes after the main verb and directly before the infinitive. What makes the subject somewhat difficult to identify is that it will look as it is the direct object of the main verb:The student asked the teacher to help him.In this sentence, it would appear as if teacher is direct object of the verb asked:(subject + verb + whom?/what? = direct objectStudent + asked + whom?/what? = teacherHowever, in reality teacher is actually the subject of the infinitive to help. After you have located the infinitive and you have looked to see if the infinitive has a direct object, always look at the noun or pronoun to the left of the infinitive. If that noun or pronoun could do the action of the infinitive, then the infinitive has a subject. For example, can the teacher help? Yes. Well, teacher, then, becomes the subject of the infinitive and the infinitive phrase itself the teacher to help him (him is the direct object of the infinitive) functions as the direct object of the main verb asked:Subject + verb + whom?/what? = direct objectStudent + asked + what? = the teacher to help him (becomes the direct object of the verb asked)In addition to subjects and direct objects, you must be aware that prepositional phrases will crop up in an infinitive phrase just like they do in gerund and participle phrases. Obviously, if the prepositional phrase answers the questions when?, where?, how?, why?, how much?, how often?, the prepositional phrase functions as an adverb. If it functions as an adverb, it will usually modify the infinitive. If the prepositional phrase does not function as an adverb, it will function as an adjective and it will usually modify the direct object.INFINITIVES AS NOUNS. If an infinitive functions as a noun, it will only be a subject, direct object, predicate nominative, or prepositional phrase. (We do not study infinitives as appositives in the freshman year of grammar.) After you have isolated the infinitive phrase from the rest of the sentence, once again use the "key" to determine how the infinitive phrase functions as...

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