The Use of the Infinitive

A verbal noun used in place of the verb to express more forcefully the action. The use of a definite article with the infinitive has no major effect upon its variations in use; rather, it restores the noun aspect of the word over its verbal characteristics. It also carries some grammatical significance in the natural use of the article with the cases and prepositions. As a result of its dual nature, the infinitive is one of the most widely used parts of speech in the Koine because it can perform a large number and variations of functions.

Verbal Use of the Infinitive

This aspect of the infinitive looks at its use within context by its verbal characteristics – its function in the sentence as a finite verb. Like a verb it uses voice and tense, takes an object, and is qualified by an adverb.


The infinitive is used to express action that is denoted by a finite verb.

The purpose is expressed by:

The simple infinitive

The infinitive with τοῦ, εἰς, πρός, ὣστε, ὡς


The infinitive is clearly used to signify results.

The result may be expressed by:

The simple infinitive

The infinitive with τοῦ, εἰς, ὣστε


The infinitive is used as the equivalent of a temporal clause.

The infinitive with πρίν or πρίν ἥ is used to expresses antecedent time

The infinitive with ἐν τῶ is used to express contemporaneous time.

The infinitive with μετά τό is used to express subsequent time.


The accusative infinitive with διά is a very natural construction for the expression of cause.


The imperatival use of the infinitive

Noun Use of the Infinitive

It has a relation to cases, can be accompanied by a preposition, used as a subject or object, modify other words, accept an article, and be qualified by an adjective.


The infinitive may function in the exact same way that a noun would as the subject of a finite verb.


The noun character of the infinitive enables it quite readily to serve as the object of a finite verb.

Indirect Object

An infinitive may function as the secondary object of a verb. This use of the infinitive conveys a mild telic force, being used to express that for which or with reference to which the action or state of the governing verb is performed or exists.


Defines more clearly the content of the action denoted by a previous verb or noun.


The infinitive is found in apposition to the noun.


Just as nouns may modify one another in various case relations, so an infinitive may modify a noun.

The infinitive may modify a noun in a typical noun relation.

The infinitive may modify an adjective with a regular noun relation.