An ELL post uses a term "past infinitive"

If the speaker uses the past infinitive here (to have started) they are setting the temporal focus later than the time the lesson should have started.

I am aware of the concept of past simple, present perfect, etc. I am also aware of the concept of infinitive.

I understand that the "past infinitive" refer to "to have started" in the original discussion. I just did't know the term before, and I googled it. top results link to something like French grammar.

Is "past infinitive" a canonical name in English grammar?

  • This isn't even the past to begin with, but the perfect.
    – Angelos
    Mar 22, 2020 at 2:20
  • @AeonAkechi Thx, what does "This" refer to?
    – WXJ96163
    Mar 22, 2020 at 2:45
  • @JavaLatte I was trying to say "related to a rule, principle, or law, especially in the Christian Church". Btw, what does "Re" stands for?
    – WXJ96163
    Mar 22, 2020 at 2:55
  • @JavaLatte How about just focus the first half, "related to a rule, principle, or law".
    – WXJ96163
    Mar 22, 2020 at 2:58
  • @AeonAkechi with JavaLatte's help, I guess I got it. You were saying the correct term is "perfect infinitive", rather than "past infinitive", right?
    – WXJ96163
    Mar 22, 2020 at 3:12

1 Answer 1


The Oxford guide to English grammar, in section 112.2.b, uses the term perfect to-infinitive. If you google past infinitive, you will find some references, but the majority of sources use the term perfect infinitive.

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