Language Guide
Verbs
More on Spanish Infinitives

More on Spanish Infinitives

Quick Answer

The infinitive is the most basic form of a verb. Verbs in the infinitive form indicate what an action is, but do not indicate anything about who is doing the action or at what point in time the action is taking place.

Infinitives as Nouns

In Spanish, when a verb functions as a noun, the infinitive is used, and it is always singular and masculine. It can be used as the subject of a sentence or the object of another verb or preposition.

When the infinitive is used as a noun, you don't usually use an article (such as el  or un ) with it, though it's acceptable to use the article el in front of an infinitive that is the subject of a sentence.

Bailar tango es difícil.
Dancing the tango is hard.
 
Está prohibido sacar fotos aquí.
Taking pictures is prohibited here.
 
Pienso salir con él.
I am thinking about going out with him.
 
Lo hice sin pensar.
I did it without thinking.
 
El nadar es buen ejercicio.
Swimming is good exercise.
 

English Translations of Spanish Infinitives

Spanish infinitives can often be translated into English as infinitives (like to do) or gerunds (like doing).

Me gusta nadar.
I like to swim. / I like swimming.
 
Hablar español es divertido.
Speaking Spanish is fun. / It is fun to speak Spanish.
 

Infinitive Commands

To form an infinitive command, simply use the word no followed by an infinitive. You don't need to conjugate anything!

No fumar.
No smoking.
 
Batir los huevos.
Beat the eggs.
 

Verbs Used with Infinitives

Here are some verbs and verb phrases commonly used before another verb in the infinitive.

aceptar
 
to accept
acordar
 
to agree
afirmar
 
to say, to state
amenazar
 
to threaten
anhelar
 
to long for
asegurar
 
to assure
buscar
 
to look for
creer
 
to believe
deber
 
to have to, should
decidir
 
to decide
demostrar
 
to show
desear
 
to desire, to want
enseñar a
 
to teach
esperar
 
to hope for
fingir
 
to pretend
gustar
 
to like
intentar
 
to try
ir a
 
to go
lamentar
 
to regret
lograr
 
to succeed in
negar
 
to deny
pensar en
 
to think about, to think of
poder
 
to be able to
preferir
 
to prefer
prometer
 
to promise
querer
 
to want
reconocer
 
to acknowledge
recordar
 
to remember
seguir
 
to follow, to continue
sentir
 
to feel
soler
 
to be used to
temer
 
to fear
tener que
 
to have
tratar de
 
to try
Vamos a bailar.
We are going to dance.
 
Tienes que sacar la basura.
You have to take out the trash.
 
Quiero salir para la fiesta.
I want to leave for the party.
 
Me gusta dibujar.
I like to draw.
 

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