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COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUES- I ENGLISH GRAMMAR 5. USE OF VERBALS: INFINITIVES AND PARTICIPLES After having studied Verbs, Auxiliaries, Tag-on questions, Irregular verbs and Tenses, we are now in a position to discuss Infinitives, Participles and Gerunds which are basically different types of Verbals.

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Objectives By the end of this unit you will:

i. ii. iii.

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Identify verbals (infinitive, participles and gerunds) in written and spoken language Distinguish between infinitives and participles Use appropriate infinitives and participles in written and spoken language

Introduction A verb can have several forms. It can function as a noun, adjective or an adverb. We shall learn about these different forms of a verb, also called verbals, and how to use them. Infinitives and Participles will be dealt in this lesson while Gerunds will be covered in the next. When you work with this lesson and others that follow it, you should not only try to understand what is being taught here, but also try to look for the topics/concepts that were covered in the earlier lessons. That way, you will be able to remember the basic rules, which in turn, will make it easier for you to apply them.

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Use of Verbals What is a Verbal? A verbal is the form of a verb, which functions as a noun, adjective and adverb. It can be distinguished from the verb by its function. Let us read the following sentences and identify the verb and the verbal.

1. 2. 3. 4.

An inspiring leader gets appreciation. Painting is his favourite hobby. We eat to live. The actor wants to get fame quickly. Let us understand the use of verbs and verbals in the sentences. 1


1. An inspiring leader gets appreciation. In this sentence, ‘gets’ is the verb and ‘inspiring’ is a verbal (in this case, a participle) that states more about the noun - leader. Think of the base verb in the word ‘inspiring’. It is ‘inspire’. Now the variation of the base verb ‘inspire’ here is inspiring. Look at how it is used in context. What type of a leader? - inspiring. Hence, the verbal (participle) here plays the role of an adjective. 2. Painting is his favourite hobby. In this sentence, ‘is’ is the verb and ‘painting’ is a verbal (in this case, a gerund) that is the subject of the verb ‘is’. Here the verbal (gerund) plays the role of a noun. 3. We eat to live. In this sentence, ‘eat’ is the verb and ‘to live’ is a verbal (in this case, an infinitive) that is the object of the verb. We eat to do what? - to live. Here the verbal (infinitive) plays the role of a noun. 4. The actor wants to get fame quickly. In this sentence, ‘to get’ is a verbal (infinitive) that is the object of the verb ‘wants’. Like a verb, it takes an object and is qualified by an adverb ‘quickly’. Now that you understand this concept, look at the following sentences and try to identify the verb and the verbal by yourself. 1. A rolling stone gathers no moss. 2. Reading is his favourite pastime. 3. We eat to live. Answers: 1. A rolling stone gathers no moss. In this sentence, gathers is the verb and rolling is a verbal that states more about the noun – stone. Think of the base verb in the word rolling. It is roll. Now the variation of the base verb roll here is rolling. Now look at how it is used in context. What type of a stone? - rolling. Hence, the verbal (form of verb) here plays the role of an adjective. 2. Reading is his favourite pastime. In this sentence, is is the verb and reading is a verbal that is the subject of the verb ‘is’. Hence it is a noun 3. We eat to live. In this sentence, eat is the verb and to live is a verbal that is the object of the verb. We eat to do what? - to live. Hence it is a noun.

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Points to remember: A verbal is a verb form.


It performs the function of a noun or an adjective or an adverb.

Types of Verbals There are three types of verbals. They are: 1. Infinitives 2. Participles 3. Gerunds You will learn about Infinitives and Participles in this lesson.

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Infinitives In this lesson we will learn that a simple sentence can have more than one verb but that verb must be in a modified (changed) form, called Infinitive. A verbal, which begins with the word ‘to’ and is followed by the base form of the verb is said to be an infinitive. So, the simple form of the infinitive is: to + base of the verb = infinitive Examples: to talk, to play, to see, to listen, to make etc. Examples of the Use of Infinitives:

1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

It is easy to learn swimming. My cousin taught me to bake a cake. He used to work abroad. She learnt to paint when she was in school. He was the first to help during the crisis and the last to speak about it. Now let us examine the other features of an infinitive. An infinitive can be used as a noun. Infinitives can play a number of roles by placing themselves appropriately in a sentence.

1. When an infinitive acts as a subject of a verb, it plays the role of a noun: For example: a. To err is human. b. To read is a good habit. c. To forgive is divine. d. To know him is to like him. 2. The infinitive acts as a noun when it is the object of the verb in a sentence: For example: a. She likes to swim. b. We love to go to the library. c. Did you go to the library to borrow a book? d. Shashi went to the library to read. 3


3. The infinitive acts as a noun when it is used as a complement of a verb. For example: a. His health goal is to walk daily. b. Her choice is to dance for exercise. c. His desire is to visit Egypt. d. Her ambition is to teach. 4. The infinitive also acts as a noun when it is used as the object of a preposition. For example: a. The cricket match is about to start. (Here ‘about’ is the preposition) b. I had no choice but to shout. The kids are about to sleep. (Here ‘about’ is the preposition) c. We had no alternative except to walk. 5. The infinitive is also used after certain verbs (object + infinitive)like: attempt, case, choose, fail, hesitate, hope, manage, neglect, plan, prepare, proceed, refuse, encourage, example, advice, ask, compel, command, allow, force, order, request, tell. For example: a. He hoped to save enough money for higher studies. b. He prepared to leave. c. He advised his friend to study law. d. I requested him to help me. e. He managed to climb the mountain. f. We plan to buy a house. g. My job allows me to visit many places. h. He compelled me to join him for dinner. Look at the following conversation and observe the use of infinitives Anand:

I have decided to work immediately after graduation.

Sumeet: But I thought you wanted to study further! Anand:

Yes, I do. But I have no alternative except to help my father who is out of a job.

Sumeet: Well, I hope you manage to find a good job. Anand:

Amit promised to speak to his father who owns a company, about this.

Sumeet: That’s nice of him. Amit loves to help people. Anand:

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Yes. By the way, I plan to continue my studies through evening college.


Sumeet: Well, Good Luck.

Self-Check Questions Underline the infinitives in the following sentences: 1. Raj wants to go to the theatre to see a movie and to spend some time with his friends. 2. If you don’t complete your work today I will have to report you. 3. Shanti loves to eat North Indian food. 4. My boss wants me to do things exactly as he says. 5. Suchit and Sushobhit went to the market to get some apples.

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Participles What is a participle? When we add ‘ing’ to any present form of a verb, it is called a participle. You have already had some experience with participles in the continuous forms of verbs under lessons 3 and 4 on tenses. E.g.: verb + ing = participle Sing + ing = singing Jump + ing =jumping Basically, there are two types of participles:

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Present participle Past participle The present participle is active in meaning – an inspiring leader: a leader who is inspiring Present participle ends in ‘ing’ and expresses action or an action in progress. It also does the work of an adjective.

1. 2. 3. 4.

The crying baby had blue eyes. The burning log fell to the ground. He was singing in the bathroom. It was an interesting film. Past participle ends in ‘ed’, ‘en’, ‘t’, ‘d’, or ‘n’ and refers to action already having been completed. It also acts as an adjective.

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Examples: a burnt toast a mistaken identity a shrunken face a stolen bag The past participle is passive in meaning: a stolen bag: (bag that is stolen) Participles can also be used to connect two sentences. Take the following two sentences: 1. Chetan heard the school bus. 2. He ran to the gate. We may combine these two sentences by using a present participle. So we can write the sentence like this. Hearing the school bus, Chetan ran to the gate. Another way of writing this sentence would be; Chetan ran to the gate on hearing the school bus. Let’s look at a few more examples: 1. 2. 3. 4.

Returning to India, I felt happy. I felt happy on returning to India. Standing before the audience, the actor became nervous. The actor became nervous when he was standing before the audience. From the given examples, you will notice that placing the present participle in the beginning or in the middle of a sentence does not alter the meaning of the sentence. One must remember that this method cannot be followed all the time, as there may be some exceptions.

Uses of a Participle 1. Participles are used along with auxiliary verbs ‘be’ and ‘have’ to make perfect passive verb forms. Examples: a. It was raining when I got home b. I had spoken to the principal after he arrived. c. I have eaten my dinner. 2. A participle can be used like an adjective. Examples: a. The carpenter fixed the broken window. b. I love the scene of falling snow. 3. Sometimes a participle can be used as an adverb. Example:

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a. She ran screaming out of the room 4. A participle can introduce an adjective phrase. Examples: a. Having lost all his money, he went home. b. Encouraged by his friends, he decided to join an acting club. . c. Most of the people invited to the party, came on time.

Self-Check Questions Underline the participles in the following sentences: 6. The dying man had one last wish. 7. His breathing was affected by the choking. 8. The shouting madman was observed by the doctor. 9. We have been there and done that. 10. The drunken driver was arrested. 11. He appointed the influential young fellow as his subordinate.

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Summing Up In this lesson, you have

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learnt that a verbal is a form of a noun learnt that there are three kinds of verbals- infinitive, participle, gerund an infinitive can be easily identified by the word to that comes just before the base form of a verb a participle is a modified (changed form) of a basic verb infinitives and participles can be used in many ways

Answers to Self-Check Questions

1. to go, to see, to spend 2. to report 3. to eat 4. to do 5. to get 6. dying 7. breathing, choking 8. shouting 9. have been 10. drunken 11. influential

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References 7


1. I.Jayakaran. Everyone’s Guide to English Grammar. Chennai: 2M Publishing International, 1999. 2. Wren P.C & Martin H. English Grammar & Composition. New Delhi: S.Chand & Company, 2005 3. Werner,Patricia K. and Mary Mitchell Church. Interactions II A Communicative Grammar. New York: Random House, Inc., 1985. 4. Nagaraj, Dr. Geetha. Comprehend & Compose. New Delhi: Foundation Books, 2003. 5. Hashemi, Louise and Thomas, Barbara. Grammar for First Certificate. Chennai: Cambridge University Press, 2004. 6. Gilani, Archana, and Kaul, Mridula. & Suganthan Beena. The Grammar Tree India: Oxford University Press 2004 7. Fowler, W.S. and Coe, Norman. Test and Practice your English. Chennai: Orient Longman Private Ltd, 2003. 8. www.englishpage.com 9. owl.english.purdue.edu 10. esl.about.com 11. www.learnenglish.org 12. www.ego4u.com 13. Azar, Betty Schrampfer and Azar, Donald A. Fundamentals of English Grammar U.S.A : Prentice Hall Regents, 1994. 14. Briggs, Sandra J. Grammar: Strategies and Practice. U.S.A: Scott Foresman and Company. 1994. 15. Fogiel, M. Handbook of English. U.S.A: Research and Education Association. 1994.

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Glossary Verbal: a form of a verb which functions as a noun, adjective and adverb; there are three types of verbals – participle, infinitive and gerund Participle: a word formed from a verb (example: going, gone, been, being) and used as an adjective or noun (as in “burnt toast” or “I have a burn on my finger.”) Infinitive: the base form of the verb preceded by to (e.g. I like to read.); the infinitive is a kind of noun with certain features of the verb i.e. it can take an object followed by an adverb which qualifies it Gerund: a verb form which functions as a noun Adverb: a word that tells us more about a verb, adjective or another adverb.


Lesson-5  

5.2 Use of Verbals 5.1 Introduction When you work with this lesson and others that follow it, you should not only try to understand what is...

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