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How to Teach Infinitive Verbs (With Examples)

Teaching infinitive verbs is key to getting better at English. These verbs, which start with “to” and are followed by a simple verb, help us make sentences more interesting. Teachers face the challenge of making these verbs easy and fun to learn. They need to find ways to show how these verbs can be used in everyday talking and writing. By using clear examples and fun activities, teachers can help students understand and use infinitive verbs well. So, learning how to teach infinitive verbs is really about helping students talk and write better.

In this article, we will present efficient methods on how to teach infinitive verbs and complement them with authentic examples to help with understanding.

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What are Infinitive Verbs?

Infinitive verbs, characterized by their versatile role in sentences, can function as nouns, adjectives, or adverbs. The formula for identifying an infinitive is straightforward: it consists of “to” followed by the base form of a verb.

This unique structure allows infinitives to seamlessly blend into various parts of speech, enriching the sentence with additional layers of meaning and function. Here are some examples:

how to teach infinitive verbs

Who can benefit in learning Infinitive Verbs?

Learning infinitive verbs is greatly advantageous for English learners, given their frequent use throughout the language. This knowledge is beneficial for:

ESL Students

Possessing a solid understanding of infinitive verbs enables ESL (English as a Second Language) students to achieve advanced proficiency in English. This foundational grasp not only enhances their grammatical accuracy but also broadens their ability to express complex ideas and nuances in conversation and writing. By mastering infinitive verbs, learners can construct more sophisticated sentences, understand a wider range of English expressions, and engage more deeply with English texts.

Furthermore, this knowledge facilitates a smoother transition to exploring other intricate aspects of the English language, such as modal verbs, passive voice, and conditionals, thereby enriching their communication skills and overall fluency.

ESL Teachers

By teaching infinitive verbs, teachers give their students important skills they need for clear talking and writing. This helps students say and write things correctly, making it easier for them to share their thoughts and ideas.

Professionals in International Business

Understanding and using infinitive verbs correctly can greatly enhance a professional’s ability to communicate their thoughts and ideas in a clear and precise manner. This proficiency is especially useful in various business contexts, such as composing emails, drafting reports, or delivering presentations.

When professionals are skilled in the application of infinitive verbs, they can convey complex concepts, instructions, and proposals more effectively, ensuring their messages are understood as intended. This not only improves the quality of written and verbal communication but also contributes to more efficient and successful professional interactions.

Job Seekers

Job seekers who know how to use infinitive verbs can write better resumes and cover letters. This shows they’re good at communicating, which can help them stand out and have a better chance of getting a job.

Teaching Infinitive Verbs

Infinitive verbs, recognizable by their “to + base form” structure (e.g., to run, to eat, to be), serve multiple critical functions within English sentences. These roles greatly enhance the flexibility and depth of expression in the language. Here’s a closer look at the main functions of infinitive verbs:

Infinitive Verbs as Subjects

Infinitives can act as the subject of a sentence, essentially performing the role of a noun. This usage often focuses on an action as a concept. Here are examples:

How to Teach Infinitive Verbs

Infinitive Verbs as Subject Complements

When following a linking verb (such as “is”), an infinitive can serve as a subject complement. This provides additional information about the subject, often in terms of identity or classification. Here are examples:

How to Teach Infinitive Verbs

Infinitive Verbs as Objects

Infinitives are frequently used as direct or indirect objects within sentences, answering the “what” that the subject does. This is a common practice that enriches the sentence’s meaning by specifying the action. Here are examples:

How to Teach Infinitive Verbs

Infinitive Verbs as Adjectives

Infinitives can modify nouns, functioning as adjectives or adjective phrases. This use allows infinitives to specify or clarify the noun they are modifying, adding depth to the noun’s meaning. Here are examples:

Infinitive Verbs as Adverbs

When modifying verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs, infinitives take on the role of adverbs. In this capacity, they often express the purpose or reason for the action described by the main verb. Here are some examples:

How to Teach Infinitive Verbs

Note: Gaining a solid grasp of the different roles infinitive verbs play can greatly improve learners’ comprehension and application of English. Infinitives offer a nuanced method to convey actions or states, playing a key role in both clear communication and creative writing.

Activities for Teaching Infinitive Verbs

To better understand how infinitive verbs function, here are activities for teaching them:

Exercise 1: Fill in the Blanks

Instructions: Fill in the blanks with the appropriate infinitive form of the verbs provided in parentheses.
1. I like __________ (read) mystery books in my free time.
2. It’s essential  __________ (communicate) effectively in a team.
3. She promised __________ (complete) the project by the end of the week.
4. We decided __________ (visit) the museum on Saturday.
5. Can you teach me how  __________ (ski)?
6. The company expects all employees __________ (attend) the training session.
7. I would like __________ (learn) a new language this year.
8. The children are excited __________ (go) to the amusement park.
9. He needs __________ (improve) his presentation skills.
10. It’s always a good idea __________ (double-check) your work.
Answer key: (for teachers)
1. I like to read mystery books in my free time.
2. It’s essential to communicate effectively in a team.
3. She promised to complete the project by the end of the week.
4. We decided to visit the museum on Saturday.
5. Can you teach me how to ski?
6. The company expects all employees to attend the training session.
7. I would like to learn a new language this year.
8. The children are excited to go to the amusement park.
9. He needs to improve his presentation skills.
10. It’s always a good idea to double-check your work.

Exercise 2: Identifying the Infinitive Verb

Instructions: Underline the infinitive verb in each sentence.
1. Sarah hopes to travel to Europe next summer.
2. I need to finish my homework before dinner.
3. The goal is to learn a new language this year.
4. He decided to start a new business.
5. Can you teach me how to swim?
6. The team plans to compete in the championship.
7. It’s important to eat a balanced diet for good health.
8. She wants to become a professional musician.
9. The best way to solve the problem is to work together.
10. I would like to visit the Grand Canyon someday.
Answer key: (for teachers)
1. Sarah hopes to travel to Europe next summer.
2. I need to finish my homework before dinner.
3. The goal is to learn a new language this year.
4. He decided to start a new business.
5. Can you teach me how to swim?
6. The team plans to compete in the championship.
7. It’s important to eat a balanced diet for good health.
8. She wants to become a professional musician.
9. The best way to solve the problem is to work together.
10. I would like to visit the Grand Canyon someday.

Final Thoughts on How to Teach Infinitive Verbs to Your Students

Thank you for making it to the last part of our blog post which focuses on teaching strategies for infinitive verbs for proficiency. These verbs feature various actions, states and emotions. Once students get used to infinitive verbs they can improve their vocabulary by coming across new verbs in different contexts. One should not forget that, although they can be somewhat challenging to learn and teach, infinitive verbs are paramount in achieving perfect and smooth communication.

Embracing platforms like EnglishLearningByPro, which offer readily available and adaptable materials, allows teachers to personalize their teaching strategies according to each student’s unique needs. The ultimate goal is to empower students to easily master the use of verbs such as do and does, enhancing their communication skills in the English language.

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John Bart
Author: John Bart

I am the co-owner of englishlearningbypro.com, a community built specifically for English teachers around the world trying to make a living teaching English. I have lived in Brazil for four years and had previously taught private English classes for three years. I am passionate about helping others, and making English teaching and learning easier.

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