In most cases the infinitive in English is used the same or similarly as in the German language.
That's why I only want to point out the cases where infinitives are used differently in English
from the usage in German. Applying such infinitives (mostly in written language) in English can be
idiomatic and thus enhance the style in which you write. The following 5 catogories of infinitives
might help you achieve this aim:
|1. After numerals (Zahlwörtern) like the first, the last and the only or
a. Armstrong was the first man to step on the moon
b. This was the best match to have taken place in our town since 1990.
|2. After 'too + adjective/adverb' or 'adj./adv. + enough'.
a. It was too rainy to have a picnic.
b. We left early enough to return home in time.
|3. 'for + (pro)noun + infinitive' after adjectives and nouns like:
a. it is difficult, advisable, important, natural, possible, understandable or wrong
b. it is a custom, the rule, a shame, a pity, time
c. too + adjective and adjective + enough
d. phrasal verbs like to arrange for (= dafür sorgen, dass), to ask for (darum bitten), to long
for (sich danach sehnen) oder to wait for (darauf warten, dass)
a. It is a shame for you to say such a thing
b. It is natural for them to feel homesick.
c. The book is easy enough for you to read.
d. I am waiting for you to tell me about your holiday.
With above infinitives you can often avoid clumsy 'that-sentences'.
|4. 'Object + infinitives' (Latin ACI-constructions) after verbs of causing, allowing, wishing and their opposites like:
to advise, to allow, to ask, to beg, to cause, to lead (veranlassen, dazu führen), to order, to permit, to require (verlangen), to want, to wish, I should (would) like, to hate.
a. I want you to tidy up your room.
b. He didn't allow him to eat in class.
They expected him to finish the talk in five minutes.
|5. Object + infinitive without 'to' (ACI) after verbs of perception (sinnl. Wahrnehmung) and to make, let, have, leave (alle im Sinne von 'lassen')
to make = lassen im Sinne von 'zwingen'
to let = lassen im Sinne von 'erlauben'
to have = lassen im Sinne von 'beauftragen, machen lassen'
to leave = lassen im Sinne von 'zurücklassen'
a. They saw him break the window.
b. Mother made her clean the dishes.