An infinitive is to plus a verb form. It can be used as a noun. Examples: to be, to see, to be seen, to be eaten.
The noun infinitive can be a subject (To eat is fun.); a direct object (I like to eat.); a predicate nominative (A fun thing is to eat.); an appositive (My hope, to travel, never happened.); an object of a preposition (I want nothing but to save.)
Noun infinitives can have with them direct objects, predicate nominatives, predicate adjectives or modifiers to form what is called a infinitive phrase. Example: To eat solid foods is hard for babies. “To eat” is the noun infinitive used as the subject of the verb is, and it has its own direct object “foods” with the adjective “solid,” which together make up the infinitive phrase “to eat solid foods” serving as the subject of the sentence.
Noun infinitives may be compound. Example: I want to eat and to sleep. Sometimes the second to is left off. (I want to eat and sleep.)
Instructions: Find the noun infinitive phrases in the following sentences and tell how they are used.
1. Everyone wants to enjoy life.
2. She likes to be admired.
3. Two bad habits are to smoke cigarettes and to drink alcohol.
4. To stop the car suddenly can be dangerous.
5. To cheat is a sign of weakness.
–For answers scroll down.
1. to enjoy life = direct object
2. to be admired = direct object
3. to smoke cigarettes/to drink alcohol = predicate nominatives
4. to stop the car suddenly = subject
5. to cheat = subject
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from Daily Grammar Lessons Blog