Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Four Types of Infinitives

Infinitives can be classified into four types. They are simple, perfect, continuous and perfect continuous infinitives. Each type has an active and a passive form.

The verb "make" has the following active forms:

simple (to) make
perfect (to) have made
continuous (to) be making
perfect continous (to) have been making

These are the corresponding passive forms:

simple (to) be made
perfect (to) have been made
continuous (to) be being made
perfect continuous (to)have been being made

The continuous and perfect continuous forms in passive are rarely used. The infinitive marker to is not used with modals. For example, the simple infinitive is "make" in the sentence "I can make it for you."

Here are two sentences with passive forms of the continuous and perfect continuous infinitive:

The toys are being made in this factory.
The toys have been being made in this factory for years.

In conversation these forms are not common. It is more common to say "They are making the toys in this factory" and "They have been making the toys in this factory for years."

In addition to the simple infinitive, the infinitive has three other forms. They are the perfect, continuous and perfect continuous. All of the infinitive types have not only an active form but also a passive. However, this only applies to transitive verbs because intransitive verbs do not have a passive form.

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