Infinitives
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Infinitives. Hidden & Split Infinitives. After verbs of perception, the infinitive is used without to . This is a hidden infinitive . Verbs of perception are verbs such as hear , see , and feel . We heard the astronomer talk about the comet.

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Infinitives

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Infinitives

Hidden & Split Infinitives


After verbs of perception, the infinitive is used without to. This is a hidden infinitive.

  • Verbs of perception are verbs such ashear, see, andfeel.

  • We heard the astronomer talk about the comet.

  • The crowd saw the moon appear red that night.


Hidden infinitives also appear after the verbs let, make, dare, need, & help.

  • We would not dare use Marshall’s telescope without his permission.

  • I will help feed the dogs.

  • Mary let us bathe them after feeding time.


The tois also left out after the prepositions but and except and the conjunction than.

  • Marshall does little but talk about the comet these days.

  • I’d rather conduct an experiment than read about science.


An adverb placed between to and the verb makes a split infinitive.

  • We were told to carefully view each star.

  • A split infinitive does not result in good writing. To avoid it, put the verb where it sounds right:

  • We were told to view each star carefully.


An adverb placed between to and the verb makes a split infinitive.

  • (Split Infinitive):

    Marshall told us to not damage his telescope.

  • (Corrected version):

    Marshall told us not to damage his telescope.


How would you correct this sentence?

  • Barry was asked to politely chew his food.

  • Barry was asked to chew his food politely.

    The adverb placement can change the meaning of the sentence. Be careful:

  • Barry was asked politelyto chew is food.


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