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Infinitive Phrase

An infinitive phrase consists of a infinitive—the root verb preceded by to— along with modifiers or complements. Infinitive phrases can act as adjectives, adverbs, or nouns. Consider the following examples:

  • His plan to eliminate smoking was widely popular. (To eliminate smoking serves as an adjective that modifies plan.)

  • To watch him eat ribs is something you have to see. (To watch him eat ribs serves as the noun-subject of the sentence.)

  • Eric went to college to study to be an engineer. (To study to be an engineer tells us why he went, so it's an adverb.)


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