Infinitive Activities & Games

Instructor: Yolanda Reinoso Barzallo

Yolanda holds a CELTA Cambridge, a Juris Doctorate, and a Master of Public Administration. She is a published author of fiction in Spanish.

Your students may get confused when a grammar lesson is about infinitives. With a very easy explanation and some fun activities and games, students can learn to use infinitives with no trouble.

Bare and Full Infinitives

When you tell your students that they are going to learn about infinitives, they may feel intimidated. However, you can ease things for them by using practical examples. The best examples are the ones that show verbs in the infinitive, whether this is in the bare or full form.

In other words, basic knowledge is first. Your students should first understand that the bare infinitive follows an auxiliary verb (such as 'should', 'can', etc.). To illustrate this concept, you could say or write on the board:

  • Mary should learn grammar.

Next, your students can tell you which verb in the sentence is the auxiliary and which one follows in the infinitive form. Their answer is based in the basic knowledge you provided before saying or writing the example sentence.

Next your students should see an example that has the full infinitive form, which has the preposition 'to' in front, such as:

  • Mary wants to learn more.

To finish your introduction to infinitives, you could also show a list of verbs with the preposition 'to' in front of them, or simply a list of verbs in their base form. You can tell students that all verbs in the list are in the infinitive because they are not in any tense in particular. To wrap up this knowledge, it is always a good idea to ask students to give you their own examples of verbs in the infinitive form.

Now we can have students do some fun activities and games to practice their new knowledge.

Infinitive Verbs Activities

These activities can be adapted for oral or writing exercises.

Verbs for Fun Places

In this activity, your students will work in pairs. You'll give them a list of fun places and instruct them to use the prompt:

  • When I am at...

Students complete the prompt with each place in the list and add several activities they do while in those places. The list could include places like the movie theater, the beach, the mall, etc. These models show what students are expected to do:

  • When I am at the movie theater, I can eat pop corn.
  • When I am at the movie theater, I do enjoy myself.

In order to make sure they're using the infinitive form of the verbs for their activities, they should also use auxiliary verbs like 'can', 'will', etc.

Verbs and Times of the Week

For this activity, your students will become familiar with expressions like these:

  • I want to...
  • I like to...
  • I intend to...
  • I prefer to...

Students have a list of time indicators that allow them to say what they want, like, intend, etc. to do at those times. For example, a student with the indicator twice a week might say or write: Twice a week, I like to play soccer with my friends.

Infinitive Verbs Games

Games can get your students excited to get a bit competitive in giving answers. Let's take a look at some options for using games to learn infinitive verbs.

Board Brainstorming

To play this game, students work in pairs. Each student in a pair represents a team. The only rule for this game is that all students must go to the board at least once to represent their team. When students are ready with a marker by the board, you read them a prompt that includes a problem, instructing students to use either bare or full infinitives. The students write as many sentences as possible in 1 minute suggesting solutions for the problem.

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