An infinitive clause is part of a sentence with a verb in the infinitive form (to + verb). The infinitive form (in some situations) is sometimes without ‘to,’ and we form negative infinitives with ‘not to’ + verb.
Structure of Infinitive Clauses
verb + infinitive or verb + object
(Do you) want + to send + this message by email? (¿Quieres enviar este mensaje por email?)
I prefer to go to the beach. (Prefiero ir a la playa)
My mother likes to rest in her bed. (A mi madre le gusta descansar en la cama)
She likes to hear gossip. (A ella le gusta oír el cotilleo)
I asked him not to leave my house. (Le pedí que no saliera de mi casa)
Infinitive Clauses Used As Subjects
Here are some infinitive clauses used as subjects.
Like all nouns, an infinitive phrase can function as a subject, an object, or a complement within a sentence.
In some expressions, or in more formal English, we said/say sentences like this:
To see is to believe (Ver es creer)
To make errors is normal (Cometer errores es normal)
More common ways of saying this now:
Seeing is believing
Making errors is normal
Here are some examples of more modern and common infinitive clauses working as subjects:
It is my dream to go to New York. (Es mi sueño ir a NY)
I’m sorry, it was not my intention to offend anyone. (Lo siento, no fue mi intención ofender a nadie)
It is good to help people when they need it. (Es bueno ayudar a gente cuando lo necesitan)
Infinitive clauses that explain ‘why’ we do something
We can use to + infinitive to say why we do something. It tells the other person the reason. We need to have a normal verb as well.
I went on holiday (this is what I did) to relax (this is why I did it). (Fui de vacaciones para relajarme)
She studies hard to get good marks. (Ella estudia mucho para conseguir buenas notas)
He gave up cakes to lose weight. (Dejó (de comer) las tartas para perder peso)
I’m calling you to ask for your help. (Estoy llamando para pedir tu ayuda)
Verb + object + infinitive without ‘to’
He let us eat ice cream in bed (Nos dejó comer helado en la cama)
I saw you walk to the pool last summer. (Te vi andando a la piscina el verano pasado)
Could you help him study? (¿Podrías ayudarle a estudiar?)
She made Peggy and Samantha clean the room. (A Peggy y Samantha les hizo ordenar el salón)