infinitive without to

We usually put to before the infinitive (for example I want to go; It’s nice to see you). But we use the infinitive without to in the following cases:

  • Modal auxiliary verbs
    After the modal auxiliary verbs will, shall, would, should, can, could, may, might and must, and after had better, we use the infinitive without to.
      I must go now.
      Will you help me?
      It might rain.
      You had better stop.
  • let, make, hear etc
    After some verbs, we use an object and the infinitive without to. The most common of these verbs are let, make, see, hear, feel, watch, and notice.
      [ verb + object + infinitive without to ]
      She lets her children do what they want to.
      I made them give me the money back.
      I didn’t see you come in.
      I heard her say that she was tired.
      In an informal style, we often use help with this structure.
      Could you help me push the car?
  • why (not)
    We can use an infinitive without to after why. This usually means that it is unnecessary or stupid to do something.
      Why pay more at other shops? Our prices are the lowest.
      Why not . . . ?is used to make suggestions.
      Why not ask Susan to help you?
  • and, or, except, but, than
    We can join two infinitives with and, or, except, but, or than. The second infinitive is usually without to.
      I’d like to lie down and go to sleep.
      Do you want to eat now or wait till later?
      We had nothing to do except look at the garden.
      I’ll do anything but work on a farm.
      It’s easier to do it yourself than explain to somebody else how to do it.