• Oksana Vasylenko
  • Myroslava Yaroshenko
Keywords: infinitive, syntactic function, subject, predicative, object, attribute, adverbial modifier, parenthesis


The article is concerned with the need to observe changes in the functioning of the infinitive in English language at the present stage of its development. While teaching students, we should take into account all the processes that occur in it and correct the students' speech, depending on the relevance of those or other constructions. The infinitive and infinitive clauses are widely used to report desires, intentions, efforts, perceptual states and various other general actions.

The functions of the infinitive were studied by I. Gerasymenko, E. Khomenko, I. Korunets, V. Kaushanska, but they give examples from fiction and they didn’t study the frequency of occurrence and predominance of these functions. The authors of this article studied the functions of the infinitive in the articles of the newspaper “The Guardian” where 178 sentences contained infinitives or infinitive constructions. In Modern English the infinitive retains a double nature, nominal and verbal. Thus there is a wide range of functions of the infinitive, such as a subject, a predicative, a part of a compound verbal predicate, an object, an attribute, an adverbial modifier and parenthesis. However, the research suggests that the use of the infinitive in functions of adverbial modifier of manner, adverbial modifier of attendant circumstances and parenthesis has not been found. With the highest frequency the infinitive is used in its predicative function (with verbs denoting the beginning, duration, or end of an action; with modal verbs, modal expressions, and verbs expressing modality), with a lower – in function of an object, adverbial modifier of purpose and adverbial modifier of result. The lowest frequency of the use of the infinitive is observed in functions of a subject and an attribute. So, the predicative function of the infinitive prevails over others. The functions of a subject and an attribute are minimized in use.


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2. A letter to … my brother, the bully: next time you need me, I won’t be there. – The Guardian. – 2017. – Access:
3. A letter to … My brother, who was dead for 13 years without me realising. – The Guardian. – 2017. – Access:
4. A letter to … my extra-clingy, overprotective mother. – The Guardian. – 2017 – Access:
5. A letter to ... My fake, devious sister, who twists my words. – The Guardian. – 2017. – Access:
6. A letter to … My mother, who is terminally ill. – The Guardian. – 2017. – Access:
7. A letter to … my older brother, who tormented me throughout our childhood. – The Guardian. – 2017. – Access:
8. A letter to … my partner – here we are again, arguing about the housework. – The Guardian. – 2017. – Access:
9. A letter to … my stepfather, who finally showed me what it meant to have a dad. – The Guardian. – 2017 – Access:
10. A letter to ... my teacher, with whom I had an affair. – The Guardian. – 2017. – Access:
11. A letter to … the kind stranger who shared her grief with me. – The Guardian. – 2017. – Access:
12. A letter to ... the man who caused my sister’s death . – The Guardian. – 2017. – Access:
13. A letter to … the woman who found my daughter. – The Guardian. – 2017. – Access:
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