Hi guys! Dan here for BBC Learning English with this week's Learner Question. Find out
what it is after this.
OK! This week's learner question comes from Ayoub in Iraq. "My question is when should
we add 'to' after verbs and when should we not?" Well, Ayoub, this is a huge area of English
and extremely tricky grammar, but we're going to give a very basic explanation. What you're
talking about is called a verb pattern. Verb patterns occur in English when one verb is
followed by another verb. For example: I want to play. There are three basic types of verb
pattern: the full infinitive – to play, that's with the 'to'. The bare infinitive, that's
without the 'to' – play. And the –ing form – playing. Because you asked about infinitives
and bare infinitives, we're only going to focus on those two.
Unfortunately, Ayoub, there are some verbs in English which are just followed by the
full infinitive. There's no particular reason why – because, because. Examples of these
are agree, want, hope, expect, and refuse. For example: I hope to eat or I want to eat.
Likewise, there are some other verbs which are just followed by the bare infinitive.
These include modal verbs, so: can, can't, will, won't, must. I must go, I can go, I
will go. You have to learn them. There's nothing else to say about that. I'm sorry.
However, all is not lost because there are other full infinitive patterns. Generally,
after an adjective, especially one of feeling, we use a full infinitive. So, for example:
It's good to see you. I'm so happy to be here. Or, it's important to remember your keys.
And of course, we use a full infinitive at the end of a clause to explain why we're doing
something. This is called 'the infinitive of purpose'. For example: I want to go home
I hope that answers your question Ayoub. Thank you very much for writing to us. If anybody
else out there has a question for Learners' Questions, please email us on: [email protected]
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our website: bbclearningenglish.com. Alright, that's it for this week's Learners' Questions.
I'll see you next time.