Definition of "infinitive" []

  • A verb form that functions as a substantive while retaining certain verbal characteristics, such as modification by adverbs, and that in English may be preceded by to, as in To go willingly is to show strength or We want him to work harder, or may also occur without to, as in She had them read the letter or We may finish today. See Usage Note at split infinitive. (noun)
  • A form of the verb not inflected for grammatical categories such as tense and person and used without an overt subject. In English, the infinitive usually consists of the word to followed by the verb (noun)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved. (c) HarperCollins Publishers Ltd 2016

Use "infinitive" in a sentence
  • "They also note that “when these verbs are used with would or should only the infinitive is used, not the - ing form.” (ibid.)"
  • "In English, the infinitive is two words, easily split, and often to great effect (eg “To boldly go …” sounds superior to “To go boldly …”)"
  • "In so doing, they completely ignore the fact that sometimes the split infinitive is the only right way of doing it."