Infinitives without to

Posted by Manjusha You are here: Home > English Grammar > Infinitives without to

Infinitives are generally used with the marker to. But we use the infinitive without to in some cases.

After modal auxiliary verbs

After the modal auxiliary verbs will, shall, would, should, can, could, may, might and must, we use the infinitive without to.

The infinitive without to can also be used after need and dare in some cases.

After do

After do, we use the infinitive without to.

After certain principal verbs like let, make, see etc.

After certain verbs like bid, watch, see, let, make and hear, infinitives are used without to.

Help can also be used in this way.

In passive versions of these structures the infinitive is used with to.

After rather, better and had better

After rather, better and had better, we use the infinitive without to.

After and, or, except, but, than, as and like

When two infinitive structures are joined by and, or, except, but, than, as or like, the second is often without to.

After why (not)

We can introduce questions and suggestions with why (not) + infinitive without to.

Note that no noun or pronoun should come after why (not).

Sections in this article

Infinitives
Infinitives: forms
Infinitives without to
To-infinitives
Infinitive with its own subject
For-structures after adjectives
For-structures after verbs
For-structures: other uses
Infinitive clauses of purpose
Verbs that can be followed by infinitives
Adjectives that can be followed by infinitives
Nouns that can be followed by infinitives