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Special Infinitives

What is an infinitive?  It is verb, not mentioned as a tense. For example:

  • Ek is hier ................ OM jou TE HELP.
  • Ek sal hier wees ...... OM jou TE HELP.
  • Ek was hier (gewees) OM jou TE HELP.

You notice the INFINITIVE PHRASE (OM jou TE HELP) remains the same.

A Regular Infinitive gets the OM TE before the verb.

A special infinitive means that you either:
(1) have no OM or TE, or
(2) you just have TE.

GROUP 1: With no OM TE.

a) Any modal (kan, wil, mag, moet) in the future (in English) gets the regular infinitive. So, you might be tempted to do the same in Afrikaans. Avoid the temptation.


able to sing -- will be able to singkan sing -- sal kan sing
want to sing -- will want to singwil sing -- sal wil sing
allowed to sing -- will be allowed to singmag sing -- sal mag sing
have to sing -- will have to singmoet sing -- sal moet sing

b) Link helping verbs like HELP, KOM, GAAN, PROBEER, BEGIN, LEER:


I help him to walk.Ek help hom loop.
I teach him how to count.Ek leer hom tel.
I am beginning to work.Ek begin werk.
I am going to work.Ek gaan werk.
I am trying to work.Ek probeer werk.
I am coming to work.Ek kom werk.

GROUP 2: With only TE.

The examples below are fixed phrases. Learn each one of them and make new sentences with the same constructs.


behoort ..te   (ought to)Jy behoort die werk te doen.
hoef nie ... te nie.  (don't have to)Jy hoef nie die werk te doen nie. [always negative]
deur te ... verb, ...  (by  verb+ing)Jy kan suksesvol wees deur hard te werk.
in stede van te ... (in stead of...)In stede van te werk, speel hy.
in plaas van te ... (in stead of...)In plaas van te werk, speel hy.