1. To help others is important.

In this sentence, 'To help' is the infinitive (being used as noun subject) and 'is' is the verb. What is the object ? 'Others' ? And is 'To help others' an infinitive phrase ? Since 'others' is explaining 'To help who ?'.

  1. I really need to eat something.

In this sentence, 'I' is the noun subject, 'really'is an adverb describing the verb 'need' and 'to eat'is the adverb describing the verb ? Or is it the noun object ? I am confused here.

  1. Joel wants a book to read.

'Joel' is the subject. 'Wants'is the verb. 'A book'is the object and 'to read' is the adjective describing 'book' ?

https://englishsentences.com/infinitive/ states 'book'as the subject. Am I missing something here ?

Joel wants a book to read.

  • In this sentence, the verb is “wants” and the subject is the noun “book.”
  • We also see the infinitive “to read.” What is the purpose of “to read” in this sentence?
  • It describes the book; Joel isn’t looking for just any book, he’s looking for a book to read.
  • In this sentence, the infinitive functions as an adjective

I would like to know if got all the parts of the sentences correct.

Thanks in advance.

2 Answers 2


To help others is important.

Yes, an infinitive phrase is an infinitive along with any arguments and adjuncts it may have.  In the infinitive phrase "to help others", we have the full infinitive "to help" along with its direct object "others".  That complete infinitive phrase is the subject of the sentence "To help others is important". 


I need to eat something.
I work to eat something.

The verb "need" is transitive.  In sentences like "I need food" and "I need water", food and water are obvious direct objects.  The infinitive phrase "to eat something", like the infinitive phrase "to help others" in the first example, represents an action.  Here, the action "to eat something" represents the thing that I need, just like "food" and "water" can represent things that I need

The verb "work" is usually intransitive.  There is no direct object in sentences like "I work in retail" or "I work for food".  This time, the phrase "to eat something" doesn't represent an action so much as it represents a purpose.  We cannot say that "to eat something" is the thing that I work, but we can say it is the reason that I work

In "I need to eat something", the infinitive phrase is a direct object.  In "I work to eat something", the infinitive phrase is a modifier, doing the kind of job that an adverb or a prepositional phrase typically does. 


Joel wants a book to read.

On the cited page, "book" is called a subject.  That's just a mistake.  It's an object. 

The infinitive "to read" once again represents a purpose. It's the reason for the book, or the reason for wanting the book.  It's a modifier.  Here, it modifies "book", doing the same kind of job that an adjective or prepositional phrase could do. 


To help others is important

"To help others" is an infinitival clause functioning as subject. "Others" is the object of "help".

I really need to eat something.

"To eat something" functions as a catenative complement of the catenative verb "need". The object of "eat" is "something".

Joel wants a book to read

"A book to read" is the direct object of "want". "To read" is an infinitival relative clause modifying "book".

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .