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acAdvanced Composition 
Using Infinitives as Nouns and Adjectives

January 20, 2005

Infinitives follow verbs. For example, “I want to study English.” But, infinitives are useful in other ways as well, acting as adjectives or nouns in the sentence. 

Examples of infinitives as nouns and adjectives:

1) To study English is very difficult for me. (infinitive noun is sentence subject)

2) To learn is a good thing at any age. (infinitive noun as sentence subject)

3) I have too much work to do. (infinitive adjective modifies noun "work")

4) We have five questions to answer. (infinitive adjective modifies noun "questions")

 Paragraph Practice (in-class)

 Write a short paragraph about study. Use infinitives as a noun in two sentences and an adjective in two other sentences. Follow the examples, but please write your own sentences! Write a topic sentence, indent five spaces, and double space your writing. End with a concluding sentence.


     Take your rough draft home with you today.

     Make at least five corrections to the draft and recopy the paragraph.

     Bring both your original and your new copy to class next week.


To Study, Again
(Demonstrating infinitives acting as adjectives and nouns)

      I’ve been thinking about study for some time, but haven’t yet decided on my path. I returned to university in 1990, completing a degree in multicultural and second language education in 1996. Since then, I have not studied. To return to school would require a few changes to my life. I worry about the many assignments to complete, and how I will find the time. To be a student again is not an easy decision to make. Recently, the University of British Columbia made available a Master’s Program in Educational Technology, a good program to investigate.  If I do my Masters, my employer will increase my pay substantially. As a part-time teacher, my pension will be based on my earnings; perhaps this will motivate me to study again. (128 words; original draft from 2000; revised in 2005 by Brad Hyde)

Another Teacher Writing Sample: My Students' Choice to Study


Please also visit your Advanced Composition Class Page where you can access current and past lessons.

More Lessons (index of past lesson worksheets)