Verbs followed by infinitives
Many different verbs are followed, or can be followed, by a second verb in the infinitive. All of the verbs listed on on this page are followed by a to-infinitive when the infinitive is used. Verbs marked with an asterix can also be followed by a that-clause, as shown in the examples. Verbs marked with two asterix can only be followed by a that-clause when the subject of the primary verb is "it".
Verbs followed by the infinitive
|fail||guarantee*||happen*||hasten||have (= be obliged)||hesitate||hope*|
|promise*||propose||prove (= turn out)||refuse||resolve*||seek||seem**|
- I hope to see you next week.
- I hope that I'll see you next week.
- He claimed to be an expert.
- He claimed that she was an expert.
- I managed to reach the top of the hill.
- Would you care to swim?
- It appeared that no-one had locked the door.
- He appeared to be lost.
- It seems that she is running late.
- She seems to be running late.
Verbs followed by a noun + the infinitive
|inspire||instruct*||invite||lead||leave (= make someone responsible)||oblige||order*|
- The professor challenged his students to argue with his theory.
- This law empowers the government to charge higher taxes.
- You can't force me to do something I don't agree with.
- I invited the new student to have dinner with me.
- What inspired you to write this poem?
Verbs without a noun before a that-clause
When certain verbs are followed by a that-clause, there is no noun before the that clause even though there is a noun before the infinitive. This is the case for the verbs command, direct, entreat, implore, order, require, & trust.
- I trust you to tell the truth.
- I trust that you are telling the truth.
- The general commanded his men to surrender.
- The general commanded that his men surrender.
Verbs with a noun before a that-clause
Other verbs, when followed by a that-clause require a noun before the that-clause, just as before the infinitive. This is the case for the verbs persuade & remind.
- You can't persuade people to buy small cars.
- You can't persuade people that small cars are better.
- He reminded me to take my notebook to school.
- He reminded me that I would need my notebook.
Verbs with an optional noun before a that-clause
A final group of verbs when followed by a that-clause take an optional noun before the that clause. This is the case for the verbs instruct, teach, & warn.
- She taught her students to appreciate poetry.
- She taught her students that poetry was valuable.
- She taught that poetry was valuable.
Verbs followed by the infinitive or a noun + the infinitive
- I asked him to show me the book.
- I asked to see the book.
- She helped me to put away the dishes.
- She helped to put away the dishes.
- We expect you to do your best in the exam.
- We expect to do well on our exams.
- Do you want to go to the beach?
- Do you want me to go with you to the beach?
Using to dare
In negative and interrogative sentences the infinitive with or without 'to' is possible as long as the subject of both verbs is the same, though it is more common to omit the 'to'. If the subject of the two verbs is different, you must include to.
- I never dared tell him what happened.
- Do you dare tell him?
- Would you dare (to) jump out of a plane?
- I dare you to tell him the truth.
- She dared me to jump off the wall.