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Non-personal forms of a verb. Infinitive - Part III



Mouse-over Spanish text fragments in red to see English translation

Idiomatic Uses of the Infinitve:

A. A+INFINITIVE: this idiom has an imperative value hence it's used to command.

Ya hemos hecho todos los deberes...ahora, ¡a jugar! We have already done our homework...now, ¡let's play!

¡A callar! No puedo concentrarme con tanto ruido.
Shut up! I can't focus with all this noise.

B. AL+INFINITIVE: time expression that it is used to express that the action introduced by the infinitive takes place at the same time than the action introduced by the main verb. It's equivalent to "cuando+indicative verb".

Al entrar por la puerta, se cayó el espejo que había colgado en la pared. (Cuando entré por la puerta...)
When I entered through the door, the mirror hung on the wall fell.

Se derrumbó al conocer la noticia de la muerte de su abuela. (...cuando conoció la noticia...)
He collapsed when he heard the news of his grandmother's death.

C. CON+INFINITIVE: this idiom has a concessive/conditional value and it's equivalent to "aunque" (although) or "si" (if).

Con ponerle una pizca de sal basta para que el cocido sepa bien. (Si le pones...)
Just by adding a pinch of salt it's enough for the stew to taste good.

Piensa que con hablar más alto mi amigo alemán le va a entender mejor. (Piensa que si le habla...)
He thinks that just by speaking louder my German friend will understand him better.

D. DE+INFINITIVE: this idiom has a conditional value and it's equivalent to "Si+indicative or subjunctive verb".

De tener vacaciones la semana que viene, me iría a Cuba. (Si tuviera vacaciones...)
If I were on vacation next week, I'd go to Cuba.

De sacar una matrícula de honor en el examen, sus padres le comprarán el coche. (Si saca una matrícula de honor...)
If he gets an A on the exam, his parents would buy him a car.

E. POR+INFINITIVE: this idiom has a causal value and it's equivalent to "porque/puesto que/como + indicative verb).

El hombre fue detenido por llevar un arma encima cuando caminaba por la calle. (...porque llevaba un arma...)
The man was arrested for carrying a weapon when he was walking on the street.

Por no tener los permisos oportunos, le cerraron la discoteca. (Como no tenía los permisos...)
They closed his nightclub for not having the proper permits.

The Infinitve in instructions and questions:

The infinitive is often used as equivalent to the imperative instructions, signs or in questions in advertising.

Abrir envase. Colocar la pizza en el horno. Cocinar durante 35 minutos.
Open package. Put pizza on oven rack. Cook for 35 minutes.

No pasar.
Do not cross.

No fumar.
No smoking.

¿Por qué no comprar dos y pagar sólo uno?
Why not buying two and paying just for one?