American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. A verb form that functions as a substantive while retaining certain verbal characteristics, such as modification by adverbs, and that in English may be preceded by to, as in To go willingly is to show strength or We want him to work harder, or may also occur without to, as in She had them read the letter or We may finish today. See Usage Note at split infinitive.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- In grammar, unlimited; indefinite: noting a certain verb-form sometimes called the infinitive mode. See II.
- n. In grammar, a certain verb-form expressing the general sense of the verb without restriction in regard to person or number, as English give, German geben, French donner, Latin dare, Greek
διδόναι. In the grammar of Latin and of the most familiar modern languages, it is used as the representative form of the whole verb-system. It is by origin simply a verbal noun in an oblique case (oftenest dative); and hence its tendency to use with a stereo-typed prefixed preposition, as to in English, zu(= English to) in German, at (= English at) in Scandinavian, de (‘of’) or à (‘to’) in French, and so on; but the preposition is no part of the infinitive. In the old grammars, and in many recent ones, it is called a mode; but the term is objectionable, and is going out of use. Abbreviated infinitive
- n. An endless quantity or number; an infinity.
- n. a name conveniently used to designate briefly the infinitive phrase consisting of the infinitive proper (for example, ‘designate,’ below) and the so-called ‘sign,’ the preposition ‘to,’ when separated by a qualifying adverb or phrase, as in ‘to briefly designate,’ ‘to readily understand,’ ‘to suddenly and completely change one's attitude.’ This use is in high disfavor with literary critics and purists who write upon the subject, but it occurs abundantly in English literature from the seventeenth century down. Nearly every ‘standard author’ is ‘guilty’ of it, as Fitzedward Hall and others have shown, and it is thoroughly established in popular speech. It is often dictated by a sense of rhythm, the placing of the adverb after the verb and before the week adjunct or object which follows the verb resulting often in disharmony of rhythm and stress. The idiom is a perfectly natural development of the conditions given—a verb to be qualified, a stress qualifier, and an unstressed syllable (to) of no definite meaning. This syllable to is instinctively treated as a or the is treated in a similarly stressed sequence of adjective and noun (‘a brief designation,’ ‘the proper order,’ etc.)
- n. grammar The uninflected form of verb. In English, this is usually formed with the verb stem preceded by 'to'. e.g. 'to sit'
- n. grammar A verbal noun formed from the infinitive of a verb
- adj. grammar Formed with the infinitive
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. Unlimited; not bounded or restricted; undefined.
- n. (Gram.) An infinitive form of verb; a verb in the infinitive mood; the infinitive mood.
- adv. (Gram.) In the manner of an infinitive mood.
- From Late Latin infinitivus, from infinitus (Wiktionary)
- From Middle English infinitif, of an infinitive, from Old French, from Late Latin īnfīnītīvus, unlimited, indefinite, infinitive, from Latin īnfīnītus, infinite; see infinite. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“They also note that “when these verbs are used with would or should only the infinitive is used, not the - ing form.” (ibid.)”
“In English, the infinitive is two words, easily split, and often to great effect (eg “To boldly go …” sounds superior to “To go boldly …”)”
“In so doing, they completely ignore the fact that sometimes the split infinitive is the only right way of doing it.”
“I know the split infinitive is no longer considered strictly verboten; but “to — unlike Barry — cite” is in every way inferior to “to cite — unlike Barry — ...” andrew Says:”
“And (3d), (3e), and (3f) are just plain awkward, so if someone thinks a split infinitive is poor style, surely they’d think these ones still worse.”
“To be, the infinitive, is ‘l’hayoth’ as is known to anyone familiar with classical Hebrew grammar. niqnaq says:”
“According to Heidegger the infinitive is the last form in the linguistic development of the verb.”
“As happens frequently when I speak Spanish, the genders of articles bear little resemblance to what they properly should be, and in German I have only a few basic verb tenses -- both the compound past and the future are formed similarly, using the infinitive, which is convenient.”
“+Infinitive+ (the), and assumed subject after _for_ definition of double nature of old dative of use of present perfect after past indicative why called infinitive”
“This mood is called the infinitive, because its verb is not confined or limited to a nominative.”
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