Infinitive Phrase Recognition Practice

Review: A phrase is a group of related words (no subject and verb).

Infinitive Phrase: An infinitive phrase has an infinitive and all the words that accompany it, such as adverbs, prepositional phrases, direct object, and adjectives.  The whole phrase can be a noun, adjective or adverb in the sentence.  The phrase will generally start with the infinitive, but not always.  Sometimes it will have a preposition (which is NOT part of the phrase) or an adverb, which is part of the phrase before the infinitive.


We had an opportunity to watch the fireworks.

  •  Infinitive phrase: to watch the fireworks (infinitive plus direct object of infinitive).  The whole phrase is acting like an adjective, answering the question, "which opportunity?" and thus, modifies the word, opportunity.

He is eager to please everyone.

  •  Infinitive phrase: to please everyone.  The whole phrase is acting like an adverb, answering the question "to what extent or degree eager?" (the predicate adjective) and thus the phrase is an adverb phrase.

To sit here is very pleasant.

  •  Infinitive phrase: to sit here.  It is used as the subject in the sentence and thus is a noun phrase.

Exercise Directions: Write down the infinitive phrase in each sentence and tell how it is used (as either a noun, adjective, or adverb).

1. You have two choices, to stay or to go.
2. Bill tried to warn them of the problem.
3. Jim had no choice except to resign from the position.
4. The child was afraid to tell the truth.
5. The teachers came to offer their service.
6. Joan had a scheme to make money.
7. I sat down to rest.
8. Ginger and her sister's plan was to see a lawyer.
9. The scouts stopped to buy some supplies.
10. The boss asked me to send the message to her brother.

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