The infinitive in Spanish in one of the most popular verbal forms among our students on It’s the only way we have for finding a verb in the dictionary. We have two different types: the simple infinitive (hablar) and the perfect one (haber hablado).

This non-personal form always refers to the subject of the main verb (Nosotros queremos comer = we want and we eat). So, it’s a kind of linguistic economy so that we don’t need to conjugate the verbs twice (Nosotros queremos que tú comas = we want you to eat). However, there are more usages of the infinitive in Spanish and today we’re going to learn them.

The infinitive in Spanish as a noun

Yes, you didn’t read wrong. This verbal form can work as a noun. Actually, it can be modified by adjectives and articles, and even can be used in plural! Unfortunately, not all infinitives sound natural when we use them in this way.

For example: Según mi parecer, los poderes del Estado, deben ser independientes.

You might say that el poder is not a noun, but it actually comes from the verb poder, as it happens with el deber.

How to express time with the infinitives

Another option we have is using the inifinitive as a temporal clause. It is formed with the preposition a and the masculine article el (al) In this case, the non-personal form means similar to cuando or después de.

For example: Al conocer los resultados del examen DELE, decidieron celebrarlo juntos = Cuando conocieron los resultados…

The infinitive in Spanish in conditional clauses

Again, the conditional clauses; one of the nightmare of students. Well, another variant of those is to use the preposition de before the infinitive. Depending on the type of infinitive, the condition takes place in the past or the future.

For example: De ser rico, me compraría una casa nueva = Si fuera rico… / De haber nacido en España, no tendría que estudiar español = Si hubiera nacido en España…

Infinitives as a variant of ‘aunque’

Concessive clauses are another difficult topic for intermediate students. These clauses introduce an obstacle. The most common linker in our language is aunque. Well, the infinitive in Spanish can be used to express that obstacle, preceded by the preposition con.

For example: Con estudiar gramática no es suficiente para aprender español. También necesitas conversación = Aunque estudies gramática, no es suficiente…

The infinitive in Spanish to express commands

The last usage we are going to see today is a strong command using the infinitive after the preposition a. It’s only recommended to use this form if you want to express anger or hurry, otherwise you might sound disrespectful.

For example: ¡La comida ya está en la mesa! ¡A comer! = Venid a comer, daos prisa.

In conclusion, we’ve seen some usages of the infinitive in Spanish that you might not know before. Try to introduce them in your daily conversation. But if you want to master them, reserve lessons on We’ll teach you more about this.

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