Infinitivals are a kind of verbal noun phrase used with a range of different constructions in Gaelic.

What makes an infinitival different from other verbal noun phrases is that that a direct object precedes the verbal noun and is in the nominative case, rather than following it in the genitive, e.g. the infinitival an litir a leughadh ‘reading the letter’ versus the usual verbal noun phrase leughadh na litreach.

The infinitival of an intransitive verb is formed from the unlenited verbal noun followed by its complements and modifiers –

The infinitival of a transitive verb consists of the object in the nominative, the inverting particle a, followed by the lenited verbal noun and other complements and modifiers –

The particle a is usually omitted in both speech and writing if the lenited verbal noun begins with a vowel sound –

The particle a is also sometimes omitted if the direct object phrase ends with a vowel sound –

The intransitive verbs bi and rach form infinitivals as if they were transitive –

Infinitivals are used in the following very commonly used constructions –