Definition of infinitive noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



BrE BrE//ɪnˈfɪnətɪv//
; NAmE NAmE//ɪnˈfɪnətɪv//
(grammar) Grammar
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  • the basic form of a verb such as be or run. In English, an infinitive is used by itself, for example swim in She can swim (this use is sometimes called the bare infinitive), or with to (the to-infinitive) as in She likes to swim. See related entries: Grammar
  • Word Originlate Middle English (as an adjective): from Latin infinitivus, from infinitus, from in- ‘not’ + finitus ‘finished, finite’, past participle of finire, from finis ‘end’. The noun dates from the mid 16th cent.Extra examples Modal verbs generally take the bare infinitive. The use of the split infinitive is now generally acceptable. You use ‘have’ to form the perfect infinitive of a verb.Idioms to place an adverb between ‘to’ and the infinitive of a verb, for example to say ‘to strongly deny a rumour’. Some people consider this to be bad English style.
    See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: infinitive

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