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05 / 03 / 2012

VERB PRONOUN INFINITIVE: meaning and examples

Good morning,

I hope you had a pleasant weekend. Some time ago we received this comment from one of our readers (Ricardo):

I am finding many expressions like this: "I want him to clean his bedroom."
I understand: "I want that he clean his bedroom." Is it right? When must you use the first or the second way?

Thanks for your question, Ricardo. In fact, the only correct sentence above is "I want him to clean his bedroom." This particular order of words is called a VERB PATTERN. It means that we must use a specific word order after a verb; in this case, the verb is WANT. Let's look at this verb pattern in more detail.

Today's verb pattern is: VERB someone (person / object pronoun) INFINITIVE

Here are some common verbs that follow this pattern (this list is not definitive):

WANT --> to want someone to do something
WOULD LIKE --> would like someone to do something
ASK --> to ask someone to do something
TELL --> to tell someone to do something
ADVISE --> to advise someone to do something
EXPECT --> to expect someone to do something
ALLOW --> to allow someone to do something
ORDER --> to order someone to do something

If we want to indicate the action in negative, we put the word NOT before the infinitive verb:

TELL --> to tell someone NOT to do something

Example Sentences:
-I want you to make your bed.
-We'd like them to come to our party next week.
-Did you ask Jimmy to take the dog for a walk?
-Mrs. Aimes told the postman not to fold the magazines when putting them in the post-box.
-I advise you not to interrupt Malcolm during the next meeting. He gets very upset when people do that.
-They didn't expect John to arrive so early.
-We don't allow our children to eat sweets befor mealtimes.
-The police officer ordered me to move my car immediately.

Thanks again for your comment, Ricard. I hope this explanation helps you! If anybody else has suggestions for future Daily Vitamins, please let us know.

Have a great day!

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