Infinitive Clauses with Subjects

Take action vs. express desire for someone to do an activity

Brummer Man sitting
 

 

Who is doing the work?

1) TAKE ACTION ON SOMEONE TO DO SOMETHING

Persuade expresses that a person takes action to get someone else to do an activity. The verb is transitive (takes an object) and accepts an infinitive or infinitive clause as its complement.   Ed persuades Frida.  Frida is the receiver of his persuasion and the doer of the activity in the infinitive clause.                                                  

SUBJ + PRED COMP (OBJ) COMPLEMENT
NP + V NP / PRN INFINITIVE CLAUSE

Ed  will persuade

 

Frida / her

Frida is the receiver of the persuasion.

 

to paint the portraits.

Frida will be the painter. (understood)

Ed  will persuade 

Frida

Frida is the receiver of the persuasion.

 

to paint the portraits.

Ed will be the painter. (another possible interpretation)

2) EXPRESS A DESIRE FOR SOMEONE TO DO SOMETHING

Intend expresses a desire to have someone else do something. The verb is intransitive (does not take an object) and accepts an infinitive or infinitive clause as its complement. Ed intends an activity to occur. Ed is understood as the doer of the activity unless a subject for the clause is included with [for.+ noun/accusative pronoun].

SUBJ + PRED COMPLEMENT COMPLEMENT
NP + V SUBORD + NP INFINITIVE CLAUSE

Ed    intends

future time 

—  

to paint the portraits. 

Ed will be the painter.

Ed    intends 

(for) Frida / her

subj. of infinitive clause

to paint the portraits. 

Frida will be the painter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Verbs + Object + Infinitive

Similar but Different

 

 

 

Persuade vs. Intend

1. [PERSUADE + OBJ] + INFINITVE

Persuade is transitive (takes an object) and accepts an infinitive or infinitive clause as its complement.  The person mentioned as the object of the main clause is also understood as the subject "doer" in the infinitive clause. Below, Frida is both an ordinary object of the verb persuade and the understood subject of the infinitive clause.

TAKES AN OBJECT

Ed persuades Frida.     

 

TAKES AN OBJECT   + AN INFINITIVE

Ed persuades Frida [to do the portraits].

 

DOES NOT ACCEPT "FOR" BEFORE THE NOUN

*Ed persuades (for) Frida to do the portraits.

PASSIVE CAN BE APPLIED TO MAIN CLAUSE

Frida Is persuaded by Ed  [to do the portraits].

(Frida is the recipient of the persuasion, the direct object)

OBJECT IS MERGED WITH SUBJ OF SUBORD CLAUSE

Ed persuades Frida      (for Frida) to do the portraits. 

Ed persuades Frida     (for Frida) to do the portraits.  

→ Ed persuades Frida  to do the portraits.  

The object of the main verb is also the understood subject of the infinitive clause.

2. INTEND + [OBJ + INFINITIVE]

Intend is intransitive (does not take an object and cannot be passive) and accepts an infinitive or infinitive clause as its complement.  The "doer" of the infinitive clause can be included with [for + noun / accusative pronoun]. Below, Frida is actually the subject of the infinitive clause, which is raised to become the object of the main clause.

DOES NOT TAKE AN OBJECT

*Ed intends Frida.   

 

TAKES AN INFINITIVE

Ed intends  [to do the portraits].

ACCEPTS "FOR" BEFORE THE NOUN

Ed intends (for) Frida to do the portraits. 

 

PASSIVE CANNOT BE APPLIED TO MAIN CLAUSE

*Frida Is intended by Ed  [to do the portraits].   (Frida is the not recipient of the persuasion, not the direct object but rather the subject of the infinitive clause)

Ed intends the portraits to be done by Frida. (Frida belongs to the infinitive clause, which can be passivized.)

OBJECT IS "RAISED" FROM SUBJ OF SUBORD CLAUSE

Ed intends      (for) Frida to do the portraits. 

Ed intends      (for) Frida to do the portraits. 

Ed intends Frida to do the portraits.

 The subject of the infinitive clause is "raised" to become the object of the verb in the main clause.

 

The subject of the infinitive clause is expressed as [for + noun] (accusative pronoun)

for  – subordinator  (not a preposition)

persuade is said to have an ordinary object / intend is said to have a raised object. 

transitive verb – a verb that takes a direct object and forms a passive  See Transitive Verbs.

See Infinitive with Subject. (Huddleston 1178)

(Azar 14-6) (Biber 9.4)  (Huddleston 1201-39) (Swan 258)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Verbs like "Persuade"

Take action to get someone else to do an activity

 

 

 

1. Verbs Like "persuade" —  He persuaded us [to take his place].

VERBS LIKE "PERSUADE"

advise We advised him to take a break.

*ask She asked us to come along.

assist We assisted him to finish.

authorize We authorized them to withdraw.

blackmail They blackmailed him to lie.

bribe We bribed him to advance.

challenge We challenged him to compete.

choose We chose him to help.

commission We commissioned him to paint.

compel  He compelled us to leave.

direct They directed us to walk back.

discipline He disciplined them to sit and wait.

enable They enabled him to act.

encourage They encouraged me to speak.

force They forced him to go alone.

*help – (optional to) They helped us to win.

instruct He instructed me to leave at once.

invite They invited us to eat..

nag She nagged him to stop smoking.

nominate We nominated him to be president.

persuade He persuaded us to drive.

prefer He urged us to work hard.

prompt He prompted us to respond.

provoke  They provoked us to strike back.

select We selected him to lead.

sentence The judge sentenced him to a week in jail.

tell He told me to rest.

tempt She tempted him to eat the apple.

warned We warned them to slow down.

will She willed herself not to cry.

MORE VERBS LIKE "PERSUADE"

aid We aided him to take a stay.

appoint We appointed him to lead.

back We backed him to be President.

*beg She begged us to stay up late.

bring up We brought him up to be honest.

caution We cautioned him to slow down.

coax We coaxed him to be nicer..

command He commanded us to stop.

condemn  The king condemned him to death.

dare He dared us to jump.

drive He drove them to act selfishly.

elect They elected her to serve two years.

equip They equipped him to climb the mountain.

forbid They forbid him to go alone.

hire He hired me to drive.

inspire He inspired us to try.

lead He lead us to strike.

move He moved us to try harder.    "inspired"

oblige They obliged us to carry a passport.

order They ordered us to carry a passport.

prepare She prepared us to go home.

pressure He pressured us to help.

push They pushed us to excel.

remind He reminded us to be there.

summon The judge summoned him to come.

teach He taught me to read.

trust They trusted us to be honest.

urged He urged us to work hard.

 

 

 

*verb can be used in both sentences

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Verbs like "Intend"

Express desire (dislike) for someone else to do an activity

 

 

 

2. Verbs Like "Intend"  He intends [for us to take his place] .

VERBS LIKE "INTEND"

allow He will allow us to try it out.

can't bear He can't bear (for) us to be away from him.  (negative 'desire')

desire He desires (for) us to win.

expect We expected him to be President.

leave¹ He left us to finish the work.

like She likes (for) us to be creative.

permit He permits us to eat lunch early.

plan He plans for us to go to college.

wish He wishes (for) us to succeed.

 

MORE VERBS LIKE "INTEND"

can't stand He can't stand (for) us to smoke around him..

cause They caused us to lose the race.

hate We hates (for) them to win. (negative 'desire')

intend He intends (for) us to take his place.

love They love us to be around.

need We need (for) you to think clearly.

require He required us to dress for business.

want She wants us to visit.

 

 

 

Also see Infinitive Commands.

¹ leave with meaning of allowed; let responsibility fall on us ; Verbs such as let, leave and allow do not express a meaning of taking action on someone to do something.   See Huddleson 1234.

 

 

 

 

 

Verbs like "Ask"

Object or an Infinitive Clause w / Subject?

 

 

 

Verbs Like "Ask" — Who is doing the Action?

1. SUBJECT DOES THE ACTION

(1) Ed, the subject of the main clause, is understood as the subject of the infinitive clause.     The verb ask is transitive (takes an object) and dative (takes an indirect object) in this example. Ed asked us (IO) something (DO).

SUBJ: N + V ACCUS PRN INFINITIVE CLAUSE

Edward asked

me
(me)

to go home early. 
 (Ed wants himself to go home early.)

Frida paid

us
(us)

to house-sit. 
 (Frida wants herself to house-sit for us.)

2. SOMEONE ELSE DOES THE ACTION

(2) Ed is the subject of the main clause and  "us" is both the object of the main clause and the understood subject of the infinitive clause. Ed asked us ← (for us) to leave.   The pronoun is called a "raised object"

SUBJ: N + V ACCUS PRN INFINITIVE CLAUSE

Ed asked

me 

← [for me] to go home early.  
 (Ed wants me to go home early.)

Frida paid

us 

← [for us] to house-sit.  
 (Frida paid us to house-sit for her.)

 

†The subject of the infinitive clause is expressed as [for + noun] (accusative pronoun) See Infinitive with Subject.  (Huddleston 1178-82) 

IO – indirect object ; DO – direct object

house-sit – occupy and care for a house while the usual people who live there are away on a trip; sometimes the house-sitter pays a small rental fee; sometimes the homeowner pays the house sitter, and sometimes it is an even trade.

 

 

 

3. Verbs like "ask"

VERBS LIKE "ASK"

ask He asked us to leave.

beg He begged us to stay.

promise We promised them to marry.

pledge We pledged ourselves to do some charity work.

MORE VERBS LIKE "ASK"

pay He paid us to house-sit.

petition We petitioned them to change the law.

request He requested us to do the cooking.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other

Bare Infinitives & Negatives

Cooking dinner
 

 

Bare Infinitives

VERB "TO" OMITTED

make   

They made us wash dishes.  They forced us. We washed the dishes.

have    

They had us clear the table.  They employed us. We cleared the table.

let

They let us leave early.  They permitted us. We left early.

VERB OPTIONAL "TO"

help  

They helped us (to) cook dinner. They helped us. We all cooked.

   
   
 

 

 

 

Negatives

NEGATIVE MAIN VERB

Use a negative verb if the speaker has no particular intention to do something.

He doesn't want me to waste paper.   

* He doesn't want me to waste no paper. (Use any.)

 

NEGATIVE INFINITIVE

Use a negative infinitive if the speak has a clear intention to avoid something.

He wants me not to waste any paper.   

He wants me not to waste any paper.

He wants me to not waste  any paper.
(awkward word order - place
not before to.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Common Mistakes

Errors and Solutions

 

 

 

Error and Solution

ERROR

*I hope you to have a good trip.

*I promise you to be careful.

He asked her to drive the car.

 It is ambiguous (can be understood in more than one way).

SOLUTION

I hope to have a good trip. (Remove the indirect object - you.)

I hope (that) you will have a good trip. (Use a that-clause with an indirect object.)

I promise to be careful. (I promise that I will be careful.)

I promise you (that) I will be careful. (Use a that-clause with an indirect object.)

He asked¹ her to drive the car.   (want, persuade)
He asked for the car to be driven by her.

He asked² her to drive the car.  (seek permission)
He asked for the car to be driven by him.

 

*Yellow highlighted words are examples of incorrect usage.

Related page Command Clauses

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grammar Notes

Traditional and Linguistic Description

Advanced

 

 

TRADITIONAL DESCRIPTION LINGUISTIC DESCRIPTION

Traditional grammar does not focus on this particular functional relationship between the verb and the object pronoun with regard to the "infinitive  phrase".

A noun or pronoun in a verb + pronoun + infinitive construction either belongs syntactically to the main verb (as its object), or to the infinitive clause as its subject [for + noun] (accusative pronoun)..

1) Ed intended to do it. → [Ed intended (for Ed) to do it.] (Ed is the understood subject of both clauses.)
2) Ed intended Frida to do it.  → [Ed intended (for) Frida to do it. (Frida is the subject of infin. clause.) 
3) Ed persuaded Frida to do it.  → [Ed persuaded Frida (for Frida) to do it.] (Frida is both the object of the main clause and the understood subject of the infinitive clause.) (1201)

To-infinitivals with and without a subject (Huddleston 1178); The clause subordinator for (Huddleston 1181); accusative rather than nominative pronoun forms (1182); The infinitival subordinator to (1183); understood subjects (1192)
 

SENTENCE PARSING—REED KELLOGG SYSTEM TREE DIAGRAM

Ed persuaded Frida to do the portrait.   

Edward persuaded Frida to do the portrait 

  This diagram is a guess !

 

 

Ed persuaded Frida to do the portrait.   

Edward persuaded Frida to do the protrait 

  

SENTENCE PARSING—REED-KELLOGG SYSTEM TREE DIAGRAM

 

Edward persuaded Frida to do the portrait.

 

Edward persuaded Frida to do the portrait 

 

 

Edward intended Frida to do the portrait.

Edward intended Frida to do the protrait

Grammatical Functions: Subject – (Subj) the agent of the action; Predicate/Predicator – (Pred) the action or change in state; Complement – Comp  –  an element required to complete the subject and predicate; Adjunct – an element not required by the verb, a modifying word, phrase, clause; Supplement – a comment in the form of a word, phrase or clause that is loosely related to the central idea of the sentence.

Lexical Categories "Parts of Speech": N – noun / pronoun; NP – noun phrase; V – verb; VP – verb phrase; Adj – adjective; AdjP – adjective phrase; Adv – adverb; AdvP – adverb phrase; P – preposition; PP – prepositional phrase; Det – determiners –  noun markers (e.g., articles, quantifiers, demonstratives, possessives); Subord – subordinator; Coord – coordinator; Interj – interjection; INF – infiniitve: GER – gerund; Nonfinite: an infinitive or gerund clause

 

 

Resources

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 1

Getting someone else to do something!

Cleaning up after oil spill
Cleaning up after an oil spill
 

 

 

Complete the sentence with a gerund or infinitive.

  1. Select the response from the list that best completes the sentence. 
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the "Check" or the "Check 1-10" button.

 

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