We have a common pattern 'too lazy to do something'. Apart from this pattern, can we use the word 'lazy' with the to-infinitive. I have looked it up in many dictionaries but have not found any examples. If the phrase '(very) lazy to do something' does not make sense, what could be an alternative to express the idea behind this phrase?

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    Does this answer help? english.stackexchange.com/questions/304274/…
    – Leachoid
    Mar 16, 2022 at 8:22
  • "Too lazy to do something" means you are unable to do something. There are other phrases which mean you are reluctant to do something but you may do it eventually or half-heartedly, e.g. "very lazy about doing something". What meaning do you want, and why don't you want "too lazy to do something". (The above link explains the grammar of "too X to Y".)
    – Stuart F
    Mar 16, 2022 at 9:01
  • @StuartF I understand that the phrase with 'too' has a negative meaning. My question is about grammaticality of the pattern/phrase '(very) lazy to do something'. I think it is incorrect but I am not very sure.
    – Kaptan Singh
    Mar 16, 2022 at 9:17
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    Lazy does not take an infinitive complement, so *He is (very) lazy to do something is ungrammatical. On the other hand, the negative construction He is too lazy to do something is fine; the negative construction too X to VP means so X that not VP. Mar 16, 2022 at 15:39

2 Answers 2


Unmotivated/ unmoved/ in no rush/ under no pressure/ without care/ without regard/ to do something are other ways to express it. Very lazy to do something sounds foreign. In what context is it being used? Too lazy to do what? If there was more context perhaps I could suggest a time I heard before. Is someone too lazy to take the kids out to the park? Is someone too lazy to buy groceries for dinner? In general, "very lazy to do something" makes sense because I know what you mean to say. Then again if a baby said "Wawa" I know he means water, but as he gets older he should stop saying "Wawa" and use the right word. Maybe that's why you ask because it sounds wrong even though the idea is understood.

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    – Community
    Mar 19, 2022 at 21:45

In the phrase, Too lazy to do [something], the word too expresses the crossing of a boundary. The boundary that is crossed is doing something. The reason that boundary is crossed is due to the laziness of the doer. Due to the laziness of the person nothing is done.

Saying Very lazy to do [something], makes no sense in your example. Very lazy is a measurement of laziness, as is too lazy, but very lazy does not indicate a boundary has been crossed.
Saying someone was very lazy to do [something] would be how you would express someone actually doing something but doing it at the bare minimum level. Bob was very lazy to patch the holes in his driveway with empty pop bottles. Notice that even though Bob used plastic bottles instead of tar, he still patched the holes in his driveway. No boundary was crossed. The event occurred.

A word that could be substituted for too in your example would be overly. The word overly expresses the crossing of a boundary.

He was overly lazy to go to the store.

Overly may not be the best word, but it's the first one that comes to mind that will work. I would always choose too lazy to instead of overly lazy to. No one says overly lazy to.

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