Definitionspronunciation note: Pronounced (tə
) before a consonant and (tu
) before a vowel.
1. [to inf]
You use to before the base form of a verb to form the to-infinitive. You use the to-infinitive after certain verbs, nouns, and adjectives, and after words such as 'how', 'which', and 'where'. ⇒ The management wanted to know what I was doing there. ⇒ She told ministers of her decision to resign. ⇒ Trish was the first to see him. ⇒ Nuclear plants are expensive to build, though cheap to operate. ⇒ Darling! It's lovely to see you. ⇒ She did not take the judge's advice about how to do her job. ⇒ The Foreign Minister is to visit China. ⇒ The youngest child, John, was to die at the age of fourteen.
2. [to inf] You use to before the base form of a verb to indicate the purpose or intention of an action. ⇒ ...using the experience of big companies to help small businesses. ⇒ He was doing this to make me more relaxed. ⇒ He is leaving tomorrow to play his first match. ⇒ ...programs set up to save animals. ⇒ To help provide essential nourishment, we've put together these nutritious drinks. 4. [to inf] You use to before the base form of a verb when you are commenting on a statement that you are making, for example when saying that you are being honest or brief, or that you are summing up or giving an example. ⇒ I'm disappointed, to be honest. ⇒ Well, to sum up, what is the message that you are trying to get across? 6. [to inf] You use to before the base form of a verb when indicating what situation follows a particular action. ⇒ He made his way to the kitchen to find Francis cooking. ⇒ From the garden you walk down to discover a large and beautiful lake. ⇒ He awoke to find Charlie standing near the bed.
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