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Note 24 – The infinitive of verbs

For the background to my writing challenge, please read my first blog by clicking the following link –  If you would prefer to dive straight into note 24, then please read on…

The infinitive

Having travelled to London for my course again today, I had longer on the train so was able to read up about infinitive verbs.  In his book The Queen’s English, Bernard C Lamb describes infinitive as ‘the basic form of a verb’, for example ‘to look’, ‘to speak’, ‘to find’.

According to John Seely in Oxford A-Z of Grammar & Punctuation “the infinitive has two forms”:

1. Where the infinitive form = The verb stem only

In this form, the infinitive e.g. the words ‘look’, ‘speak’ and ‘find’, will always follow another verb.  For example:

“You must speak your mind”

(where ‘must’ is the other verb ‘speak’ is the verb stem)

2. Where the infinitive form = The word to plus the verb stem

In this form, the infinitive e.g. ‘to look’, ‘to speak’ and ‘to find’ can be used after many nouns, verbs and adjectives.  For example:

“Please allow me to speak my mind”

Note: According to The Pocket Writer’s Handbook by Martin Mander & Stephen Curtis Mander and Curtis (Penguin Reference Library), the infinitive can also be the subject matter as follows:

“To speak your mind means you are being very open and honest”

My thoughts:  I knew nothing about infinitives earlier today, so this has been a great one for me to learn – it will certainly make me look at text differently.  I will probably think of the infinitive verb as the raw form of the verb; untouched by a tense or a person.  For example ‘she found’ or ‘they saw’ would not be infinitive verbs. 

Update on my course: If you have read my previous couple of blogs this week, you will know that I’m on a course this week called ‘train the trainer’.  I have to present my first mini course (presentation) tomorrow.  It’s only 5-10 minutes  but there are a number competences to incorporate in order to pass. You’ll be happy to know that the topic I’ve chosen is ‘The World of Blogging’ and I will be showing the rest of the course participants how to blog onWordPress!  I will let you know how I get on.

Until tomorrow…


This blog:

My other blog:

My website:

Twitter: @madeirasandra  and  @tipsandluxuries

Reference list

Bernard C. Lamb The Queen’s English (2010), UK

John Seely  The Oxford A-Z of Grammar & Punctuation, USA

The Pocket Writer’s Handbook by Martin Mander & Stephen Curtis Mander and Curtis (Penguin Reference Library)

About Sandra Madeira

I am a full-time working mum with a passion for writing and inspiring others. Subjects I tend to blog about are life skills, parenting, decluttering, worklife balance, etc. At the moment I am on a decluttering mission creating space in my house, garden and mind. I have challenged myself to do at least ten minutes a day and write about it. Have a good day! Sandra Freelance Writer


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