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INFINITIVES

175. In the sentences,

66 We like to sail,”
“ They wished to be paid at once,"

the expressions to sail and to be paid are not Verbs,1 for they do not tell or assert anything ; they do not say anyone sailed or any one was paid. But to sail and to be paid do something of the work of Verbs, because they express action or doing. Such verbal expressions are called Infinitives. 2

In each of the following sentences there is only one assertion, and that is expressed by the Verb, not by the Infinitive :

Verb.

Infinitive.

The boys are going
The teacher intends

The boy hoped
The child seemed

to play ball.
to give a lesson.
to meet his sister.
to be lost.

Exercise 126. Pick out the Verbs and the Infinitives in the following sentences.

1. Do you wish to leave? 2. Jack is trying to catch the horse. 3. The father told his sons to listen. 4. The aunt has come to stay. 5. Little Will is learning to read. 6. The clerk is going to write a letter. 7. The traveler meant to return that way. 8. A sower went forth to sow. 9. The mowers have begun to cut the hay. 10. Robert intends to walk home. 11. Margaret had hoped to receive a prize.

1 Read again paragraph 20.

2 From the Latin in, meaning not, and finitum, bounded or limited ; the Infinitive is not limited, as Verbs are, to definite assertion, but it expresses a verbal idea in a general way.

12. The knight studied to please the king. 13. The horse wanted to get out. 14. Were the girls pleased to see their mother ? 15. It is time to start.

176. Infinitives and Participles, since they are derived from Verbs, are called Verbals.

177. An Infinitive may, like a Verb, take an Object or an Attribute after it, or be modified by an Adverb. — Examples:

It is too warm to read a book (Object).
The boy tries to be good (Adjective Attribute).
The child is pretending to be a horse (Noun Attribute).
You must learn to run more swiftly (Adverb).

USES OF INFINITIVES 178. An Infinitive may do the work of a Noun, being used as Subject, Attribute, or Object in a sentence, or as the object of a Preposition, thus: As Subject.

To read is interesting.

To obey is better than sacrifice. As Object. That man means to succeed.

I am learning to ride. As Attribute. To die is but to sleep.

That house is to be sold. As object of a 1 We are about to go. Preposition. Š There is no way to get there except to walk.

Exercise 127. Pick out the Infinitives and say how they are used.

1. The general tried to take the town. 2. He is to be shot. 3. To travel is to know the world. 4. You are to be praised for that. 5. The traveler promised to return. 6. I mean to write home. 7. The girl intends to call. 8. Do you know how to hold a pen? 9. The vessel is about to sail. 10. The

father hopes to meet his son. 11. The workman tries to work. 12. To err is human, to forgive [is] divine. 13. To move is to stir, and to be valiant is to stand. 14. Harry is beginning to learn Greek. 15. The poor mother refused to be comforted.

179. Besides taking the places of Nouns (as Subjects, Objects, etc.), Infinitives are frequently used as Adjectives, limiting Nouns; or as Adverbs. Infinitives used as Adjectives :

It is time to go (i.e. going or leaving time").
He is a man to honor (i.e.honorable man, or man worthy

of honor').
We have the intention to succeed (to succeedtells what

kind of intention). Infinitives used as Adverbs : (a) Modifying Verbs :

He called to see you (called why?). (b) Modifying Adjectives :

We were sorry to part (sorry why ?). (c) Modifying Adverbs : You are not tall enough to reach that. (To reach modifies

the Adverb enough enough for what?) (d) Modifying a statement : He is, to be sure, a skillful oarsman. (To be sure modifies

the whole statement.)

180. A subject of an Infinitive is sometimes expressed ; as,

They want me to carry the basket.

It is high time for John to depart. In the first sentence me by itself is not the Object of want (they do not want me), but me to carry the basket is

the Object. In the second sentence, John to depart is the Object of the Preposition for Parse me and John as subjects of the Infinitives.

181. An Infinitive with what belongs to it forms an Infinitive Phrase. - Examples

I am learning to ride a bicycle very well.

She wishes us to be ready. 182. In analyzing sentences containing Infinitives we must tell how each Infinitive is used, whether as Subject, or Object, or Adverbial Adjunct, etc.

We diagram sentences containing Infinitives, thus :

(a) Infinitives used as Nouns (Subject, Object, Attribute, object of a Preposition).

To have a good time is to enjoy oneself.
to have time is — to enjoy oneself

good

a

I wanted to sing with them.
I wanted | to sing

with them (6) Infinitives used as Adjective or Adverbial Adjuncts. I have a right to see it.

He did it to annoy US. I have right

he did it a to see it

to annoy | us John is sure to be there.

Johnis

[ocr errors]

there

Exercise 128. — Analyze and diagram the following sentences, and tell what each diagram shows about the Infinitives.

1. It is time to be dismissed. 2. To fish is my favorite sport. 3. He is a man to depend upon. 4. We are apt to be mistaken. 5. I am going to swim. 6. Charles wants to leave now. 7. Why do you ask me to read ? 8. Do you wish to have me with you? 9. When are we to have dinner? 10. I hope to be there. 11. I wonder to see you here. 12. What is to be done about it? 13. They were glad to see us. 14. The Davises are about to leave for the summer. 15. When are you to go?

183. All the Infinitives we have had so far are preceded by to. But some Verbs are followed by the Infinitive without to. The most common of these Verbs are the following : bid, dare, help, let, make, need, please, see, watch, feel, hear.

EXAMPLES

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Exercise 129. — Pick out the Infinitives.

1. Let me bring it. 2. The boys let the dog swim. 3. All the men saw him die. 4. Tom let his cousin see the nest. 5. Jack made his dog bark. 6. The people felt the house shake. 7. I heard the thunder roar. 8. The sick man bade them send for a doctor. 9. No one need fear this dog. 10. The king watched the knight attack his enemy. 11. The horse helped us stand against the current.

12. Will you let the baby try to walk ?

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