016 Understanding Verb + Object + Infinitive with or without to
Hello and welcome back to The Art of Business English. Today’s episode is the second part in a two-part series which looks at specific forms after verbs. In the first episode we looked at infinitive and gerund forms after certain verbs. In today’s episode we are going to be looking at objects and infinitive with or without “to” after specific verbs.
Mastering these verbs will make you sound much more fluent when using your English on a daily basis.
So, today we have the episode divided into two parts. First, we will look at verbs which are followed by an object and infinitive. In the later part, we will look at verbs that are followed by an object and a bare infinitive. For those of you who don’t know what a bare infinitive is, it is a verb in its infinitive form without “to” in front of it. It’s important to note that this is not the same as the imperative, even though the form looks the same.
Therefore, in today’s episode you will learn the following:
- Verbs which are typically followed by an object and infinitive
- Verbs which are typically followed by an object and a bare infinitive
- Some common expressions used in everyday business English that follow these structures
Verb + object + To-infinitive
Firstly, let’s be sure to clarify what I mean by an object. When we refer to an object when using this type of structure, we are referring to object pronouns. Object pronouns are different from subject pronouns. Subject pronouns are the subjects that start sentences, whereas object pronouns occur after verbs and prepositions. In English it is a little easier than in Spanish, as in Spanish we have direct and indirect object pronouns.
Let’s compare the two.
|Subject Pronouns||Object Pronouns|
Now that we have clear what the objects are let’s take a look at some verbs that use them with an infinitive verb form.
|Verbs followed by object & To-Infinitive|
Now here is the interesting part and the major lesson for Spanish speakers. This is the most common error seen with these verb patterns.
The most common mistakes occur with verbs such as need and want. Why? Well, in Spanish you would use the subjunctive form structure. It is important to note that subjunctive forms don’t exist in English. Let me demonstrate. The following structure are often translated incorrectly.
|Examples||Incorrect Translation||Correct Structure|
|Quiero que me hagas un favor||I want that you do me a favour||I want you to do me a favour|
|Necesito que me arregles este problema en seguida||I need that you fix me this problem straight away||I need you to fix this problem for me straight away|
Let’s take a look at some other example sentences of the verbs we just reviewed.
I would like you to prepare a report on this.
I urge them to come to a quick decision.
He allowed them to work from home.
She asked him to arrange a meeting.
The boss forced us to work late on a Friday afternoon.
Can you tell him to come to my office right away?
One last point, these structures are also commonly used in the passive voice form. Let’s review these examples.
The board of directors were warned by the financial team that the company was in economic difficulty.
We were encouraged to accept the company’s proposal.
OK, let’s turn now to the second part of the episode, were we look at verbs followed by objects and bare infinitives.
Verb + object + bare infinitive
Firstly, many verbs that are followed by an object and a bare infinitive are typically related to perception. For example, see, hear or notice. However, this is not a fixed rule and as such, some common verbs follow this structure, such as make.
Let’s review the list.
|Verbs followed by object & bare infinitive|
Make and let are always followed by an object + a bare infinitive.
They made us talk to the clients while they prepared the meeting room.
Our boss lets us leave work early on a Friday afternoon.
Note: When make is used in the passive we use the to-infinitive.
I was made to handle all customer complaints within 2 hours.
Finally, help can be followed by an infinitive with or without to.
The course helped the new employees learn how to use the computer system.
The course helped the new employees to learn how to use the computer system.
Now that we have that clear, let’s finish up today by looking at a list of example sentences with these structures in use.
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Some verb pattern examples for business
|Require||The company requires all staff to change their password once a month.|
|Hire||We hired him to develop a new e-learning platform.|
|Need||I need you to prepare a staff memo.|
|Beg||Charles begged his boss to reconsider his promotion.|
|Want||I want you to consider the problems that could arise from this decision.|
|Hear||I heard him call in on the conference call.|
|Make||I’ll make you stay back until we find a solution.|
|Watch||I watched him leave the building.|
The most important take away from this episode is the need to form the correct structure with verbs such as want, need and make. We use these verbs frequently and they are often formed using incorrect structure.
Be sure to review the list on the AOBE website and take some study notes. Remember, practice makes perfect and the best way to start to internalise these structures is by using them in your written communication.
As a study suggestion, I encourage you to print the sample sentences or create some of your own, have them with you at your PC when you are writing your next email and start to use them in your writing.
That is all we have time for today, but we hope you have found this episode useful and informative. Please share or like this post as that is the best way we can reach and help more people. As always, if you have any comments or questions then don’t hesitate to contact us at theartofbusinessenglish.com or at our Facebook page.
Until next week, have a great day and I look forward to hosting you again soon. Take care now.