Grammar: Active and Passive Infinitives

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Xuất bản 23/08/2015
To click or not to click? That's not even a question if you're an advanced English student who wants to learn even more about infinitives. Check out this grammar lesson if you want to learn how to use infinitives in simple and past forms, as well as active and passive forms. If you find this lesson too challenging or confusing, don't forget to check out my video on the uses of infinitives (, as well as my lesson on common verbs followed by infinitives ( Once you're ready, come back here and increase your knowledge! Take the quiz here: TRANSCRIPT Hey, guys. I'm Alex. Thanks for clicking, and welcome to this advanced grammar lesson on "Active and Passive Infinitives". Now, before this lesson, I really recommend checking out the previous lesson that I did on the functions of infinitives, just so you're already familiar with how they work in a sentence, what verbs they can follow, and everything like that. So, today, we're going to look at active infinitives in which the subject is doing an action plus an infinitive, and we're also going to look at passive infinitives where you are receiving the action. Okay? So, first of all, let's look at the active simple, which is the most basic infinitive use. And again, an infinitive is "to" plus a base verb. So: "She plans to invite them." Here, "to invite". After "plan", we always use an infinitive. There's nothing special going on here. It's just a present, simple sentence. "Mike's afraid to make mistakes." We know that many adjectives, such as "afraid" can be followed by an infinitive. And here we have: "Bermuda is a nice place to spend your vacation." Okay? So, this is basically the simple use of an infinitive. There's certain verbs that are followed by infinitives, there are many adjectives that are followed by infinitives, there are many noun phrases which are also followed by infinitives. And this all plays into the rest of this lesson as well. So, here, we have the active past. So if you'd like to talk about an action that a subject did in the past and you have to use an infinitive, the structure you use is: "to have" plus the past participle. So, "to have" is actually the infinitive in this sentence. For example: "You seem to have forgotten your jacket." So, I'm speaking to you in the present, maybe I'm talking to you on the phone, and you know, you left my party two hours ago, and I say: "Hey. It looks like you left your jacket." You seem to have forgotten, in the past, your jacket. And again, "seem" is always followed by an infinitive, so you have to use an infinitive after it. Past, "to have" plus p.p. Okay, second sentence says: "I was happy to have finished everything early.", "I was happy to have finished", so this, you're almost using a past perfect structure because what you're doing is you're saying the first action is I finished, you know, I finished everything early, whether it was studying, work, whatever it was. And then I was happy after that. Right? So this is the first action, and this is the second action. You can say: "I was happy to finish everything early." That's fine as well. But if you want to focus more on the order of the action and this, you know, having been completed a little bit earlier, you can do: "to have" plus the past participle. All right, let's look at the passive forms. Now, in passive, the subject basically here... Well, the object, sorry, becomes the focus and it receives the action. Okay? So, in the passive simple, all you're doing is "to be" plus the past participle. So, the first sentence says: "They expect to be invited." In general, they expect now to be invited, for example, to a birthday party, or a wedding, or whatever the occasion is, they expect to be invited by someone. Passive. They're receiving the action. Second sentence: "We waited to be given instructions." So here, "to be given" is using a passive simple structure of an infinitive. Now, what this means is, you know, we waited in class to be given instructions from the teacher. The teacher is the one doing the action; we are receiving the action. And as we know, based on the previous lesson on infinitives and common verbs, "wait" is followed by an infinitive. So you wait to do something. Okay? And here: "Prepare to be amazed!" This is an... Well, how can I say this? Yes, it's an imperative. Right? So: "Prepare to be amazed!" whether this is a tagline for a movie or something like that, they are telling you: "Prepare to be amazed" by something. So, you're going to receive the action of amazement in this situation.
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