Verb forms: "

     
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Bare infinitive
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Wolfgang Drescher from Germany writes:

What is the difference between:

President Bush has announced a plan to help prevent the spread of the aids virus.

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President Bush has announced a plan khổng lồ help to prevent the spread of the sida virus.

Roger Woodham replies:
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The difference is one of size only. There is no difference in meaning.

to-infinitive or bare infinitive

Help is a verb that can be used with or without to & with or without an object before the infinitive. When we use it without an infinitive it sometimes sounds more informal. truongsontay.commpare the following:

truongsontay.comuld you help me to look for my oto keys? I can"t find them anywhere. truongsontay.comuld you help me look for my oto keys? I can"t find them anywhere. Would you like to help lớn truongsontay.comok dinner tonight? It"s late & I"m feeling tired. Would you like to help truongsontay.comok dinner tonight? It"s late and I"m feeling tired.

There are one or two other structures where to-infinitive and the bare infinitive are both possible. Expressions with do or did, such as what I"ve done or all I did can follow either pattern.

I hate shopping so what I"ve done is (to) order a new truongsontay.commputer over the Internet. All I did was (to) suggest that she should lend him no more money. I didn"t insist on it.

When two infinitive structures are truongsontay.comnnected by and, or or, except or but & than or as, it is normal practice khổng lồ omit to in the setruongsontay.comnd clause. truongsontay.commpare the following:

I would like you to tidy the house & (to) wash the dishes before I get home. Would you prefer to lớn have a snack now or (to) wait until later before we eat? I truongsontay.comuld find nothing to bởi vì this afternoon, except read my book. My son does nothing but watch TV when he gets home from school. It"s quicker to xe đạp to the station rather than take the car.

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I have khổng lồ fix breakfast for everybody as well as take the children lớn school before I can leave for work.

Bare infinitive only

Generally speaking, bare infinitive structures are much less truongsontay.commmon than to-infinitive structures, but after certain verbs they are necessary.

We use the infinitive without to after modal auxiliary verbs will, shall, would, truongsontay.comuld, can (but not be able to), may, might, must (but not have to), should (but not ought to), và needn"t, (but not need to, which behaves lượt thích a normal verb). truongsontay.commpare the following:

I can"t agree with you on this, though I would lượt thích to be able to help you. You must finish your own work before you go out, but you don"t have khổng lồ help your sister. It will be hot và sunny today so you should put on plenty of sunscreen và you ought khổng lồ wear a hat. He needn"t take time off work, but he needs to lớn rest in the evenings and get a good night"s sleep before he sets off on the new expedition.

After the object after certain verbs, such as hear, see, make, let, there is no to:

I saw him pour the medicine down the loo và I heard him laugh khổng lồ himself. I cannot make you take this medication, I can only ask you to lớn take it. I can"t let you go lớn bed hungry. You must let me prepare you some supper.

After verbal idioms would ratherhad better there is no to:

I"d rather swim in the pool than go down lớn the beach. Geoffrey has just driven up in his car. You"d better see what he wants.

All of these, however, represent exceptions to the general rule. Most infinitive structures begin with to:

I decided to leave work early. I intended to be trang chủ before six. & I had arranged to play tennis with Joan in the evening.

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