Bare Infinitive Or Infinitive Without To

Bare infinitive or zero infinitive is the form of a verb without to. In the sentence “Let my people go”, the bare infinitive is the word “go”.

Exam in Mind Level B1 / B2

The Use of the Bare Infinitive

  • After auxiliary verbs: I don’t understand the meaning of this word. We will go there at once. He didn’t play tennis yesterday.
  • After modal verbs can, could, may, might, will, shall, must, would, except the verb ought: I can speak English. He could ride a bike when he was five. May I come in? We must prepare for the test. That will be Helen at the front door. Shall I read? He ought to eat more fruit and vegetables. She ought to forgive him.
  • After causative verb let: Let’s organize a surprise party. Let him do it. Let there be light. Don’t let her to interrupt you. Let us make a cake together.
  • After make + noun/pronoun in the meaning “force”, “cause”: My teacher made me apologize for what I had said. Did she make you wear that ugly hat? The teacher made them work hard. My friend always makes me laugh.
  • Note: in the passive make is followed by to: They were made to work hard. She was made to work shifts. He was made to leave the club.
  • After causative verb have: I won’t have him shout at me. I wouldn’t have you think that I’m selfish.
  • After the expressions had better, would rather, would sooner, cannot but, nothing but: You’d better go to bed. I cannot but think so. He would rather stay here. You’d better consult the dictionary. I would sooner stay here. There was nothing left for him to do but watch and wait. She does nothing but paint pictures from morning till night. I’d sooner be a miner than a bank clerk. I’d rather not go by car.
  • After Why / Why not? to make suggestions: Why not come? I don’t like this wallpaper. Why not change it? Why not wait till the winter sales to buy a new coat?
  • In Objective-with-the-Infinitive Construction after the the verbs of perception to see, to hear, to feel, to watch, to notice, to smell: We saw him play the piano. We have never heard this girl sing. The crowd watched the fireman climb the ladder.
  • After the verb ‘help’ the infinitive is used with and without ‘to’: Help me to solve this problem. Help me understand it.

Have practice doing exercises

Task 1. Use the Infinitive with or without to.

  1. They made the child ___________ the milk. (drink / to drink)
  2. They made her ___________ the whole story (repeat / to repeat)
  3. Although I tried hard, I couldn’t ___________ the car. (start / to start)
  4. Did you manage ___________ her? (meet / to meet)
  5. She is anxious for her child ___________ the best treatment. (get / to get)
  6. I have arranged for her ___________ music lessons every Sunday. (have / to have)
  7. Don’t go now. We are about ___________ lunch. (have / to have)
  8. His crappy jokes didn’t make me ___________ (laugh / to laugh)
  9. She persuaded them ___________ with her. (go / to go)
  10. I want you ___________ the work today itself. (finish / to finish)
  11. She makes him ___________ everything she wants. (do / to do)
  12. Every driver must ___________ an examintation. (take / to take)
  13. It is better ___________ away than to stay. (go / to go)
  14. We stood waiting for him ___________. (recover / to recover)
  15. I felt the floor ___________. (tremble / to tremble)
  16. I was decided ___________ his reply. (await / to await)
  17. I watched him ___________ down the path. (go / to go)
  18. I will let him ___________ you are here. (know / to know)
  19. I don’t see what he can ___________ by it. (gain / to gain)
  20. The margistrate warned him not ___________ it again. (do / to do)
  21. I hope you will soon ___________ better. (be / to be)
  22. I still don’t know where ___________ for my next holiday. (go / to go)
  23. We’d better ___________ going back. (be / to be)

Task 2. Use the words to make sentences.

Example: may / take / you / it – You may take it.

  1. wash up / today / needn’t / you
  2. yesterday / in the sea / we / swim / see / you
  3. someone / last night / hear / I / cry
  4. birds / to / we / fly / watch / the south / every year
  5. for you / me / do / it / let
  6. so often / laugh / they / make / me
  7. have / I’d / a milkshake / rather
  8. start / better / immediately / we’d
  9. the house / her / decorate / I / help / last month
  10. your / must / parents / listen / you / to

Task 3. Supply suitable infinitive forms (with to or bare infinitive) for the verbs given in brackets.

  1. I would like _______ home now. (go)
  2. Let him _______ a few minutes more. (stay)
  3. You can’t _______ with your eyes closed. (read)
  4. We are allowed _______ in class. (stay)
  5. You ought not _______ my car without my permission. (take)
  6. Aren’t you glad _______ us here. (see)
  7. Let me _______ that letter for you. (post)
  8. They didn’t let her _______ jeans. (wear)
  9. He made me _______ the mess. (clear)
  10. I was made _______ the floor. (to scrub)
  11. I’d rather _______ for a walk in the rain than _______ nothing at all. (go, do)
  12. You’d better _______ what you think. (not say)
  13. He made us _______ for hours. (wait)
  14. She expects her husband _______ all her expenses although she has a good job. (pay)
  15. I saw the plane _______ into the hill. (crash)
  16. He tried to make me _______ that he was my stepbrother. (believe)
  17. I asked Peter _______ the window. (open)
  18. I’d like him _______ to a University. (go)