I want to look at you.

Which "parts of speech" does "want to " belong to?


2 Answers 2


"Want" is a verb. "To" here is part of the infinitive verb, "to look".

The most basic parts of your sentence are the subject, "I", and the verb, "want". "I want". The rest tells us what you want. "To look". So "I want" something. What do I want? I want to look. Then we have the preposition "at", which begins the prepositional phrase "at you". This modifies the verb "to look". What sort of looking do you want to do? You want to look "at you" (whoever you are speaking to).

  • Thanks for your clear and crisp answer! As a further clarification, since "at you" modifies the verb "to look", can "at you" be considered an adverb?
    – Shvetaketu
    May 17, 2018 at 16:05
  • It's an "adverbial prepositional phrase". That is, it is a prepositional phrase that is acting as an adverb. See, e.g. cws.illinois.edu/workshop/writers/prepphrases Prepositional phrases can also act as adjectives, modifying a noun.
    – Jay
    May 17, 2018 at 18:36

"Want to" does not belong to any part of speech or category because it does not form a constituent.

The subject here is "I", and "want to look at you" is the predicate. "To look at you" is a subordinate infinitival clause that functions as a catenative complement of "look".

"At you" is not an adverbial phrase; it's a complement because it's licensed by the verb "look".

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