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German and English languages have a common root but an innumerable amount of differences. One of them is how infinitive is formed. In English we have to+verb: "to stand" in German we have a verb ending with "en": "stehen".

I would like to know which of these two forms appeared first, and if there was any time when they co-existed in the same language at the same time.

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    In Old English, the infinitive ended in -an. German is much more conservative about retaining Germanic endings than English.
    – jlawler
    Oct 15 '14 at 2:13
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    There seem to be certain circumstances under which German verbs in the infinitive appear with zu, which has the same meaning as English to. However it's not considered part of the infinitive form as in English. Oct 15 '14 at 3:09
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    @hippietrail, oh I have not thought about this. You are right. It actually makes the whole question less meaningful. It's not difficult to imagine that the only reason to include 'to' to indicate infinitive in English is exactly because it lost the infinitive endings German relies on. Oct 15 '14 at 3:50
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    @hippietrail Yeah you're right. It happens in one of the sentences I memorized when learning German: Es ist schwierig auf Deutsch zu sprechen = It's difficult to speak in German.
    – Alenanno
    Oct 15 '14 at 9:52
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    The to is not an obligatory part of the infinitive in English. What exactly it is is controversial, but the 'bare' plain form is called an infinitive, too - for instance, when it is the complement of a modal. Oct 15 '14 at 13:58

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