If I have a construction using an infinitive form such as in:

"I want to go" or "What is to be thought of that?"

What is the formal name for the part of speech that 'to' represents? 'To' is part of the verb, but I don't know how to name this.

  • 1
    I don't think there is an agreed on category for the "to" part of the "for to" complementizer. The combination of "to" and following non-finite verb is often referred to as the "marked infinitive".
    – Greg Lee
    Commented Oct 5, 2015 at 23:24
  • 1
    I often see it called the "infinitive marker", which is at least diplomatic. Commented Oct 6, 2015 at 2:24
  • and without it (as in I can be...), you have a bare infinitive
    – Henry
    Commented Oct 6, 2015 at 19:20

1 Answer 1


It is a particle, and since it precedes infinitives, it is often called infinitival particle.

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