DEFINITION: The infinitive
is a word that captures the essence of a verb (action or state), but which
is not limited (or made finite) by elements that generally restrict a verb
to a particular person (such as person, number, and gender). Thus an infinitive
has only tense and voice. Further, it functions most like a noun in a sentence.
Sometimes the infinitive is called simply a verbal noun to capture both aspects
of the infinitive.
TENSE AND THE INFINITIVE:
Outside of the indicative, tense refers more to the
kind of action than the time of action. Greek infinitives can have three "tenses":
- present (continuing)
- aorist (point)
- perfect (action done,
with results continuing)
USES OF THE INFINITIVE:
The Greek infinitive has a wider range of uses than does the English infinitive.
The following explain the uses that occur frequently. Most uses are similar
enough to English uses of the infinitive not to cause much translation problems,
but the articular infinitives are quite unlike anything in English.
- the subject or object
of a verb
- the completion of an
idea started by a verb
- consequence of the
action specified by the main verb
- purpose of the action
specified by the main verb
- articular infinitive
(without English parallel).