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":

  1. present (continuing)
  2. aorist (point)
  3. 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.

  1. the subject or object of a verb
  2. the completion of an idea started by a verb
  3. consequence of the action specified by the main verb
  4. purpose of the action specified by the main verb
  5. articular infinitive (without English parallel).