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Hi, I am having problems understanding infinitives like to see, to run. I have read several entries and pages on the subject, some define it as a verb, others a noun. Some say it is a verb functioning as a noun. Which is it?

Is it my understanding that it is both to a degree, and because of it role in a sentence, it can be hard to say whether it is a verb or noun? If someone could please clear this up it would be great. thanks
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The infinitive and gerund have been called "verbals", but the more recent terminology is "non-finite verbs" or "non-finite verb forms".

Infinitives can function grammatically as a noun in a sentence.

In grammar, we make a distinction between form and function of a word or phrase.
So let me see if i understand it. An Infinitive and gerund are verbals, or non-finite verbs. That is what they are called, that is the part of speech they are.

But as for function, they are sometimes used as nouns?

So in a sentence such as "I like to play".......to play is an infinitive which is a verbal and its function in the sentence is as a noun. So to play is not a noun, it just acts as one in the sentence. IS my thinking correct?
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That is a good way to think about it.

However, a non-finite verb can function as a noun, but at the same time have the properties of a verb.

I like to play tennis. -> tennis is a noun, and is the direct object of "to play".
The phrase "to play cards" is the direct object of the verb "like".

I like to play the violin softly. -> now, we have an adverb, softly, which modifies "to play"
AnonymousIs it my understanding that it is both to a degree, and because of its role in a sentence, it can be hard to say whether it is a verb or noun?
Yes. That's right. The grammar of a sentence is hierarchical. Some structures are embedded within others. The infinitive is a verb form, but when it is embedded in another structure, it can act like a noun.

CJ
I often refer to them as 'wanna be' verbs. They seem to be functioning as a verb but in reality they are not. For instance, My goal is to graduate one day. In this case the verb in this sentence is 'is" (linking verb). To find the infinitive you now ask "is what". Your answer is 'to graduate.' That makes it a subject complement and not a verb.
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AnonymousI often refer to them as 'wanna be' verbs. They seem to be functioning as a verb but in reality they are not. For instance, My goal is to graduate one day. In this case the verb in this sentence is 'is" (linking verb). To find the infinitive you now ask "is what". Your answer is 'to graduate.' That makes it a subject complement and not a verb.
I'm sorry to tell you that is incorrect.

My goal is to graduate one day.

The underlined expression is complement of specifying "be", as you say. But "to graduate" is not a noun.

"To" is a clause subordinator introducing the underlined infinitival clause in which "graduate" is a verb, not a noun. Subordinators introduce clauses, not nouns, and in any case, adjuncts (adverbials) like "one day" modify verbs and verb phrases, not nouns.

Asking the question "is what?" does not determine whether the complement is a noun, as in My goal is success, or a verb as in the above example.

BillJ