Uses of The Infinitive and The Participle



Uses of The Infinitive and The Participle :



Uses of The Infinitive and The Participle

The Split Infinitive

As a general rule care should be taken not to split the Infinitive, that is, to separate TO and the Infinitive by inserting an Adverb or Phrase between them.

Guiding rule :

Do not split an infinitive unless to refrain would make your sentence awkward or ambiguous. Never split an infinitive with a long phrase.

Avoid saying…

1. I hoped to immediately reply to your letter. (Incorrect)

2. I hoped to reply to your letter immediately. (Correct)


1. We determined to at once inform the police. (Incorrect)

2. We determined to inform the police at once. (Correct)

But the following construction is admissible in order to avoid ambiguity or awkwardness.

It is difficult to always tell the truth.

The Unrelated Participle

A Participle must not be unrelated or falsely related. Since it is an Adjective, it must qualify a Noun or Pronoun. In the following sentence, the Participle refers to a Noun (the clock) that it was not intended to.

Walking down the road, the clock struck ten.

This would mean that the clock was walking down the road when it struck ten.

Rewrite it thus…

Walking down the road, I heard the clock strike ten.

Or even more clearly…

As I was walking down the road, I heard the clock strike ten.

Other examples are…

1. Being a fine day, we went for a picnic. (Incorrect)

2. As it was a fine day, we went for a picnic. (Correct)


1. Lying under a tree, a snake bit her. (Incorrect)

2. Lying under a tree, she was bitten by a snake. (Correct)

3. While she was lying under a tree, a snake bit her. (Correct)


1. Entering the room, the light was quite dim. (Incorrect)

2. Entering the room, I found the light quite dim. (Correct)

3. When I entered the room, the light was quite dim. (Correct)


1. Having failed once, no further attempt was made. (Incorrect)

2. Having failed once, he made no further attempt. (Correct)


1. Hoping to hear from you soon, Yours sincerely. (Incorrect)

2. Hoping to hear from you soon, I am yours sincerely. (Correct)


1. Standing on the bridge, the aeroplane flew over us. (Incorrect)

2. While we were standing on the bridge, the aeroplane flew over us. (Correct)


3. Standing under the trees, the apples fell on us. (Incorrect)

4. While we were standing under the trees, the apples fell on us. (Correct)



Uses of The Infinitive and The Participle :



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