It’s time to share a little grammar for the nudists among us.
A full (or to-) infinitive is a verb that follows “to.” A bare infinitive is the base form of a verb. It is ‘to’ bare. As opposed to too bare. It is infinitely naked, so inherently sexy. You know, because it never ages, never sags, never bloats. Because it is words. Get it? Can I move on now? Wait, let me put on an over-sized sweater and stretchy pants.
In many cases, bare infinitives work like a charm, eliminating the unnecessary ‘to’ and streamlining your text. Naked writing is the best writing, yes?
To-infinitive: Help me to open the wine
Bare infinitive: Help me open the wine
To-infinitive: Help me to reach orgasm
Bare infinitive: Help me reach orgasm
To-infinitive: To boldly go (a split full infinitive with a naughty ly adverb)
Bare infinitive: Boldly go (not split because there is no “to” from which to split the infinitive with an adverb).
While that is all well and good, there are instances where the bare infinitive is simply inappropriate. We need to dress that baby with a little to-to. Or just one to.
Bare infinitive: Be or not be
To-Infinitive: To be or not to be
Bare infinitive: Know me is love me
To-infinitive: To know me is to love me
I call inappropriate bare infinitives “Yoda infinitives.” You can make any sentence Yoda-worthy by baring all infinitives, and doing a little clause swapping. Again, words people. No weird swinging going on here with Santa and the Jedi Master.
As with all of my grammar lessons, there is much more to this topic than I choose to share here. Like the fact that bare infinitives should be used with causative verbs (have, make, let) and modal verbs (except, ought). I have dropped its pants, stripped it down, and shared only the bare essentials.
Aren’t you glad I didn’t post pictures?
You are welcome.