Prepositional Phrase or Infinitive? Exercise (259)

The word to can be used as a preposition introducing a prepositional phrase and as a particle introducing an infinitive phrase. Choose the answer that indicates the function of the to in each of the following sentences.

  • The children want to go for a ride on the merry-go-round.

  • Everyone on the committee belongs to the local teachers’ union.

  • Before you close up the cabin, you will want to give away any extra food.

  • When Bambi came to the meadow the first time, he was rather frightened.

  • Three contestants on Jeopardy could not identify the Shakespeare play from which the quotation "To be or not to be" came from.

Answers and Explanations

1. The children want to go for a ride on the merry-go-round.

Correct: part of an infinitive
"To go" is an infinitive phrase used as the direct object of the verb want.

2. Everyone on the committee belongs to the local teachers’ union.

Correct: preposition
"To the local teacher’s union" is a prepositional phrase used adverbially to modify the verb belongs.

3. Before you close up the cabin, you will want to give away any extra food.

Correct: part of an infinitive
To introduces infinitive phrase in the pattern "be + adjective + infinitive.

4. When Bambi came to the meadow the first time, he was rather frightened.

Correct: preposition
"To the meadow" is an adverb phrase modifying the verb came.

5. Three contestants on Jeopardy could not identify the Shakespeare play from which the quotation "To be or not to be" came from.

Correct: part of an infinitive
In this example, "To be or not to be" is a noun phrase made up of two infinitives joined by or.

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