I have this assumption: we can use either passive or active infinitives when there isn't the agent in the sentence and the characteristic belongs to the very thing, for example:

This jalapeno is too spicy to be eaten(the jalapeno itself is spicy)

However, when the characteristic doesn't belong to the thing itself, we can only use active infinitives, e.g:

Coins are pretty easy to find on the ground(not the coins are easy; the finding of them is easy)

But maybe I'm wrong and we can say:

Coins are pretty easy to be found on the ground.

So, please, let me know whether I have failed or not.

  • 1
    To create a paragraph leave a blank line. To insert a quote use the > character. Don't use the bullet character, that doesn't work. Please proofread and spell check.
    – James K
    Commented Jan 2, 2023 at 8:40
  • I'd say that's a pretty good rule.
    – ILEM World
    Commented Jan 3, 2023 at 16:39

1 Answer 1


The function word to plus a verb implies a purpose or end result.

She wore that outfit to be seen by her friends.

Ergo, coins are not "easy to be found"; coins are easily found on the ground.

The jalapeño is too spicy to eat. [a general statement]

These jalapeños are too spicy to be eaten by children.

  • Lambie, What do you mean by the phrase "to plus a verb"? That is an expression I am not familiar with. Commented Jan 3, 2023 at 18:00
  • the function word to + a verb. like to see, going to go, seeming to be. It is not an expression; it is just a way to describe a type of structure.
    – Lambie
    Commented Jan 3, 2023 at 19:21

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