Daily Grammar

Lesson 220

Parts of the Sentence - Verbals - Noun Infinitives

An infinitive is a verbalA verbal is a verb form used as some other part of speech.  Source: Lesson 206 that is to plus a verb form.  It can be used as a nounA noun is a word that names a person, place, thing, or idea. Examples: man, city, book, and courage.  Source: Lesson 16.

to be, to see, to be seen, to be eaten

Noun infinitives may be compound.  Sometimes the second to is left off.

I want to eat and to sleep.
I want to eat and sleep.


The noun infinitive can be a subjectThe subject tells who or what about the verb.  Source: Lesson 91, a direct objectA direct object receives the action performed by the subject. The verb used with a direct object is always an action verb. Another way of saying it is that the subject does the verb to the direct object.
Source: Lesson 109
, a predicate nominativeA predicate nominative or predicate noun completes a linking verb and renames the subject. It is a complement or completer because it completes the verb. Predicate nominatives complete only linking verbs. The verb in a sentence having a predicate nominative can always be replaced by the word equals.  Source: Lesson 102, an appositiveAn appositive is a word or group of words that identifies or renames the noun or pronoun that it follows. It is set off by commas unless closely tied to the word that it identifies or renames. ("Closely tied" means that it is needed to identify the word.) An appositive can follow any noun or pronoun.  Source: Lesson 128, or an object of a prepositionA preposition is a word that begins a prepositional phrase and shows the relationship between its object and another word in the sentence. A preposition must always have an object.  Source: Lesson 180.

To eat is fun. (subject)
I like to eat. (direct object)
A fun thing is to eat. (predicate nominative)
My hope, to travel, never happened. (appositive)
I want nothing but to save. (object of preposition)


Noun infinitives can have with them direct objects, predicate nominatives, predicate adjectivesAn adjective that comes after a linking verb and modifies the subject.
Source: Lesson 155
, or modifiers to form what is called an infinitive phrase.

To eatS solidAdj foodsDO is hard for babies.

To eat solid foodsS is hard for babies. (the phrase is the subject)

To eat is the noun infinitive used as the subject of the verb is. It has its own direct object foods with the adjective solid, which together make up the infinitive phrase.


Instructions: Find the noun infinitives and the noun infinitive phrases in the following sentences and tell if they are used as a subject, a direct object, a predicate nominative, an appositive, or an object of a preposition.

1. Everyone wants to enjoy life.

Everyone wants to enjoy lifeDO.

2. She likes to be admired.

She likes to be admiredDO.

3. Two bad habits are to smoke cigarettes and to drink alcohol.

Two bad habits are to smoke cigarettesPN  
and to drink alcoholPN.

4. To stop the car suddenly can be dangerous.

To stop the car suddenlyS can be  

5. To cheat is a sign of weakness.

To cheatS is a sign of weakness.

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