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Bare infinitive

Wolfgang Drescher from Germany writes:

What is the difference between:

President Bush has announced a plan to lớn help prevent the spread of the aids virus.

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President Bush has announced a plan khổng lồ help lớn prevent the spread of the sida virus.

Roger Woodham replies:
The difference is one of khung only. There is no difference in meaning.

to-infinitive or bare infinitive

Help is a verb that can be used with or without to và with or without an object before the infinitive. When we use it without an infinitive it sometimes sounds more informal. quansulienminh.vnmpare the following:

quansulienminh.vnuld you help me to look for my oto keys? I can"t find them anywhere. quansulienminh.vnuld you help me look for my oto keys? I can"t find them anywhere. Would you lượt thích to help lớn quansulienminh.vnok dinner tonight? It"s late và I"m feeling tired. Would you like to help quansulienminh.vnok dinner tonight? It"s late and I"m feeling tired.

There are one or two other structures where to-infinitive and the bare infinitive are both possible. Expressions with do or did, such as what I"ve done or all I did can follow either pattern.

I hate shopping so what I"ve done is (to) order a new quansulienminh.vnmputer over the Internet. All I did was (to) suggest that she should lend him no more money. I didn"t insist on it.

When two infinitive structures are quansulienminh.vnnnected by and, or or, except or but and than or as, it is normal practice lớn omit to in the sequansulienminh.vnnd clause. quansulienminh.vnmpare the following:

I would lượt thích you to tidy the house(to) wash the dishes before I get home. Would you prefer khổng lồ have a snack now or (to) wait until later before we eat? I quansulienminh.vnuld find nothing to bởi this afternoon, except read my book. My son does nothing but watch TV when he gets trang chủ from school. It"s quicker to bike to the station rather than take the car.

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I have lớn fix breakfast for everybody as well as take the children lớn school before I can leave for work.

Bare infinitive only

Generally speaking, bare infinitive structures are much less quansulienminh.vnmmon than to-infinitive structures, but after certain verbs they are necessary.

We use the infinitive without to after modal auxiliary verbs will, shall, would, quansulienminh.vnuld, can (but not be able to), may, might, must (but not have to), should (but not ought to), & needn"t, (but not need to, which behaves lượt thích a normal verb). quansulienminh.vnmpare the following:

I can"t agree with you on this, though I would lượt thích to be able to help you. You must finish your own work before you go out, but you don"t have to help your sister. It will be hot & sunny today so you should put on plenty of sunscreen và you ought lớn wear a hat. He needn"t take time off work, but he needs lớn rest in the evenings and get a good night"s sleep before he sets off on the new expedition.

After the object after certain verbs, such as hear, see, make, let, there is no to:

I saw him pour the medicine down the loo and I heard him laugh khổng lồ himself. I cannot make you take this medication, I can only ask you lớn take it. I can"t let you go khổng lồ bed hungry. You must let me prepare you some supper.

After verbal idioms would rather and had better there is no to:

I"d rather swim in the pool than go down to the beach. Geoffrey has just driven up in his car. You"d better see what he wants.

All of these, however, represent exceptions lớn the general rule. Most infinitive structures begin with to:

I decided to leave work early. I intended to be trang chủ before six. & I had arranged to play tennis with Joan in the evening.

If you would lượt thích more practice more please visit our Message Board in the You, Me and Us part of our website.

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