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(The Bare Infinitive)

In modern English the Infinitive is chiefly used with the particle to – the formal sign of the Infinitive. Still there are cases when the bare infinitive is used.

1. After auxiliary verbs:

I don't know her.

We shallgo there at once.

2. After modal verbs:

You can't do it.

You must consult the doctor.

3. After the verbs of sense perception (to see, to hear, to feel, to watch, to notice, etc.) in the Infinitive Constructions:

I've never seen you look so well.

She heard him enter the room.

I felt my heart jump.

NB! After these verbs in the Passive the to-infinitive is used:

He was heard to mention your name.

The child was made to obey.

She was seen to leave the house early in the morning.

4. After the verb to let:

Let's be friends.

If he calls, let me know.

5. After the verbs to make (= to force – заставлять), need (нужно) and dare, (сметь, осмелиться) (in the modal meaning):

Need I do the washing up?

How dare you call me a liar?

What makes you think so?

6. After the expressions had better (... лучше бы), would rather/sooner (... бы, пожалуй), cannot but (не могу не ...), etc.:

He said he would rather stay at home.

You had better go there at once.

I can't but think about it.

7. In the sentences beginning with why (not) (почему бы вам ...).

Why not come and talk to her yourself?

Why pay more at other shops?

8. After formal words than, rather than, but, except:

I'll do anything but work with children.

Rather than walk for half an hour, I'll take a taxi.



The Infinitive can be used in different syntactic functions. We'll discuss here only the most difficult ones for the Russian speakers.

The Infinitive as a subject. In Russian it can be rendered by an infinitive, a noun, a clause. To walk in the garden was very pleasant. Гулять в саду было очень приятно. Even to think of it gave him torture. Даже мысль об этом причиняла ему страдание. То be recognized gave her great joy. Когда ее узнавали, она испытывала большую радость.
Far more often such sentences open with an introductory subject it(not translated in Russian). It is useless to discuss this question. Бесполезно обсуждать этот вопрос.
The Infinitive as an adverbial modifier of purpose (чтобы...). In this function the Infinitive can be introduced by in order or so as (formal). То understand the rule better I read it several times. Чтобы лучше понять правило, я прочел его несколько раз. I stayed there to see what would happen. Я остался там, чтобы посмотреть, что произойдет. I invited him in order to tell him the news. I'll write down your telephone number so as not to forgetit.



A subject An adverbial modifier of purpose

The Infinitive + Predicate   The Infinitive + Subject + Predicate

To read a lot is to know much. To read the book I went to the library.

Много читать - много знать. Чтобы прочесть эту книгу, я отправился

в библиотеку.

An adverbial modifier of result with too (слишком) and enough (достаточно) The Infinitive as an attribute.     In this function it is far more extensive in English than in Russian: in Russian it modifies only abstract nouns, whereas in English it modifies abstract and class nouns, pronouns, ordinal numbers and the adjective last. It is rendered in Russian by an infinitive (after abstract nouns), by a subordinate clause, by a finite verb (after ordinal numbers and last). The Infinitive used as an attribute often has a modal meaning or implies a future action.   Remember the model: a noun + infinitive     The Infinitive as parenthesis: to cut a long story short; to put it mildly; to say the least; to tell the truth; etc. He was too busy to see anyone. She was clever enough to admit it.   I had no time to visit the museum yet. У меня еще не было времени осмотреть этот музей. She was not a woman to suffer in silence. Она была не такой женщиной, которая стала бы страдать молча. Не was the first/last to come. Он пришел первым (последним) I have nobody to say a kind word to me. У меня нет никого, кто сказал бы мне доброе слово.   I've got a wife and a child to look after. У меня жена и ребенок, о которых я должен заботиться. The question will be discussed at the conference shortly to open in Moscow. Вопрос будет обсужден на конференции, которая вскоре откроется в Москве. Не gave her a knife to cut the bread with. Он дал ей нож, чтобы нарезать хлеб. Give me some water to drink. Дайте мне попить воды. Не brought us a book to read. Он принес нам почитать книгу. Не was rude, to say the least of it. Он был груб, чтобы не сказать больше. То put it mildly, he was not very clever. Мягко выражаясь, он не был очень умен.



1. The passive infinitive is seldom used in the attributive function. That is why we say "it is a book to read" and not "to be read".

Exceptions: There is nothing to be done and nothing to do; there is something to be seen, to be saidand something to see, to say.

2. The attributive infinitive besides naming an action may express a meaning corresponding to the Russian надо, можно, следует:

It's the only thing to do.

Это единственное, что можно и нужно сделать.

Не is not the man to do it.

Он не тот, кто мог бы это сделать.

It's a book to read and remember.

Такую книгу надо прочесть и запомнить.

3. The attributive passive infinitive may have a future meaning:

The houses to be built here will be of the same type.

Дома, которые должны быть/будут построены здесь, будут иметь такую же конструкцию.



Ему трудно угодить. Не is hard to please.

У нее привлекательная внешность. She is pleasant to look at.

Мне надо вам кое-что сказать. I have something to tell you.

Этим ничего не достигнешь. There is nothing to be gained by it.

Ничего не поделаешь. There is nothing to be done.

Надо многое сделать. There is much to be done.

Дом сдается внаем. The house is to let.

Кто виноват? Who is to blame?

Непременно приходите. Be sure to come.

Единственное, что остается - это ждать. There is nothing left to do but wait.



State the form and function of the Infinitive. Translate the sentences into Russian

1. To go on with this discussion is to waste time. 2. Oh, I'm sorry to have taken so much of your time. 3. It all sounds too good to be true. 4. We assembled to discuss and arrange our plans. 5. Now, the first thing to settle is what to take with us. 6. He was the first to raise the question. 7. A celebration such as this was a chance not to be missed. 8. Look back to make sure you haven't left anything behind. 9. She was the last to realize how dangerous it was. 10. You're a bachelor with no family to take care of. 11. I didn't come here to be shouted at. 12. He came here to speak to me, not to you. 13. To meet the demands for goods, new shops have been opened in the town. 14. The plan will be discussed at the meeting to be held on May 25.


Translate the sentences into Russian and state the functions of the Infinitive

1. Surely it is not at all necessary to go into details. 2. I rose to receive my guests. 3. Passing by a radio-shop he suddenly remembered to buy some tape for his recorder. 4. At the sight of the man I felt an impulse to laugh. 5. Her first action was to visit the establishment of a famous dressmaker. 6. He was too astonished to speak. 7. The best thing Lapny could do was to get out of here. 8. He was careful not to allude to the subject. 9. It's an awkward thing to say. 10. The horse was quiet to ride. 11. He must have been very tired to come and fall asleep like that. 12. And suddenly he hated Crum. Who the devil was Crum, to say that?


Translate, giving the Russian equivalents of the Infinitive as an attribute

1. The desire to write was stirring in Martin once more. 2. He had a good deal to say about India. 3. The relief from that long waiting, the feeling of nothing to worry about, was so delicious. 4. The first person to enter was Mrs Evans, her face white, her dark frightened eyes avoiding his. 5. He looked at the shelves of books to be read. 6. He received a note to say that he was expected at the family dinner. 7. Andrew was the third to go in for the interview. 8. You have health and much to live for.


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