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Short cuts : /library/English/Grammar/parts-of-speech/verbs/bare-infinitives
Last Updated October 25, 2021, 9:39 am
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Bare infinitive (Without 'to')


The auxiliary verb rule:

Use the bare infinitive after 'do' or any modal auxiliary verb.

The bare infinitive (without to) is also used after the expressions

would rather and had better, and after need and dare when they are used as auxiliary verbs
  1. I must go now.
  2. Can you help me?
  3. I'd rather go alone.
  4. You'd better see what she wants.
  5. Need I do the washing up?
  6. How dare you call me a liar?

After ought, used, be and have, the to-infinitive is used

Certain verbs are followed by an object and the infinitive without to

The bare infinitive form: verb + object + bare infinitive. is used by Verbs of perception such as: see, watch, notice, hear, feel, sense, and other verbs such as let, make, help (in an informal style), and (in few constructions) have and know.

When these verbs are used in the passive, they are followed by the to-infinitive.

  1. He was made to pay back the money.
  2. She was heard to say that she disagreed.

Why not

Why + infinitive( without to) can be used to introduce questions. The point of the question is usually to suggest that it is stupid or pointless to do something. Why not + infinitive (without to) introduces suggestions and advice.

  1. Why pay more at other shops? We have the lowest prices in town.
  2. Why stand up if you can sit down? Why sit down if you can lie down?
  3. Why not let me lend you some money?
  4. Why not take a holiday?

Rather than is usually followed by the infinitive without to.

  1. Rather than wait any more, I decided to go home by taxi.


Clauses which explain the exact meaning of do can have the infinitive without to.

  1. All I did was (to) give him a little push.
  2. What a fire-door does is (to) delay the spread of a fire long enough for people to get out.

Verbs as dictionary entries

In English, all the verbs as dictionary entries are shown in the form of the infinitive without to.

In contrast, Hungarian dictionaries use the third form singular, present tense, Arabic -- the third form singular, past tense of the verb as an entry.


Make sentences with these verbs.
use the form, verb + object + bare infinitive

  1. I saw him leave (Not to leave)
  2. I heard them speak
  3. I watched her play
  1. She lets her children stay up very late.
  2. I made them give me the money back.
  3. I didn't see you come in.
  4. I heard her say that she was fed up.
  5. Did you feel the earth move?
  6. Could you help me unload the car?
  7. Have Mrs Hansen come in, please. (Mainly American).
  8. I've never known him (to) pay for a drink. (perfect tenses of know only).
More Bare Infinitives
Gerund or Infinitive
Details on summary click. view "comment-thread-details" for this thread library_English_Grammar_parts-of-speech_verbs_bare-infinitives

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