Unit 5.2

The Infinitive of Purpose


We can use the to-infinitive structure to express someone’s purpose (the reason or the aim of an action).

The structure of to-infinitive (to work) is almost the same as the that of the zero infinitive (work).

To obtain the negative form, we add not before the infinitive (not to work).

  • I went outside to help my mom, not to help you.
  • He called me to invite us to the beach, not to invite us to the picnic.
  • We travelled to see my classmates, not to get married.

We use the to-infinitive after some verbs to express a purpose, but never after modal verbs. Moreover, it is not used (with or without to-) after prepositions.

The to-infinitive structure is used to express someone’s purpose. To make the negative form, we add not before to-infinitive.

For example:
— “I have to find an excuse to go to the cinema with them.” = The subject expresses his/her aim to go to cinema.
— “I have to find an excuse not to go to the cinema with them.” = The subject expresses his aim not to go to the cinema.

NOTE: It is not used after modal verbs, and after prepositions (with or without to-).

Let’s revise this content within the {Form} section. Take a look at the {Example} section that shows its use within a context.


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