How do I know when to start a sentence with a verb without "to"? Example:

"Go tomorrow in the morning and ask Mrs. Baker".

But if I say:

"To speak to Mrs. Baker go tomorrow morning"

  • It depends on what kind of sentence you're making. Your first example is an imperative; have you looked up how imperatives are made? – stangdon May 15 '18 at 23:34

The sentences have different structures.

In the second one two imperative sentences are joined by the coordinating conjunction and: the hearer is instructed to do both things, to go and to ask. (Pragmatically, they are to be done in that order, but there is nothing in the grammar which specifies this).

The second is a single imperative (go), with a non-finite subordinate clause giving the purpose. The to is not just marking the infinitive, but also functioning as a subordinating conjunction with the same meaning as in order to. The hearer is instructed to go, but speak, is given as a reason for going, not an instruction.


Are you telling someone to do something? Then don't use to at the beginning.

Go away.

Is the verb really a subject of a sentence? Then use to.

To go away is not what I wanted to do.

Also, it's possible, but not frequent, that to X as a preposition (where X is a noun) can begin a sentence.

To the park is where I wanted to take the dog.

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