THE ACCUSATIVE AND INFINITIVE CONSTRUCTION
This brings us to infinitives. Latin has six of them. There are active and a passive versions in the past, present, and future tenses. You will meet four of these mainly in reported speech. Let’s look at the other two first.
The present infinitives, active and passive, are used independently: amo laudare: “I love to praise.” amo audiri: “I love to be heard.” If you understand active and passive verbs, these should present no problems.
The past and future infinitives come into their own in indirect statements. They are vital for establishing when this reported thought, word, or deed took place in relation the statement. It’s the difference between “I think you have made a mistake,” “I think you’re making a mistake,” and “I think you’re about to make a mistake.”
This is exactly how it works in Latin:
puto te erravisse – “I think that you’ve made a mistake”
puto te errare – “I think that you’re making a mistake”
puto te erraturum esse – “I think that you’re going to make a mistake”