about 'to + infinitive'
Dear Sir / Ma'am
When I look up English dictionaries to find the meaning of a verb, more than
half of them start to define the word with ' to + infinitive ' form. In case of the
word of peruse, they define it as follow :
to read sth, especially in a careful way
With reference to the above definition, I would appreciate it if you kindly answer
1. I would like to know whether the preposition 'to' is simply an infinitive marker
or a part of 'to infinitive' as a kind of verbals. For the latter, I mean
the word of peruse means to read sth, especially in a
2. In order to clarify my question, I ask the above question in another way as
Do the native speakers of English recognize ' to read ' as a verb or as a 'to infinitive' as a kind of verbals which is used as an object of omitted verb of 'means' ?
I look forward to your answer .
Last edited by sariputra; 19-Jun-2005 at 04:10.
Re: about 'to + infinitive'
English does not have true infinitive forms of verbs. For the number/tense neutral form of a verb we usually use the first-person, present-tense form of the verb plus the word to. Native speakers of English recognize to read as the infinitive form of a verb, a form which cannot itself function as a verb in a sentence. Let's look at a regular English verb talk.
I talk to my wife. (first person singular present)
You talk to my wife. (second person singular present)
My wife talks to me. (third person singular present)
The plurals are:
The past tenses are:
I, We, You, He, She, It, They talked
In English, the infinitive names the action or state of being while functioning as a noun.
One can say: I want to talk (infinitive) or I want ice cream (noun).
Re: about 'to + infinitive'
Noun + Prepositional Phrase
. . . a means to an end
'a means' functions as a noun phrase. 'to' is a preposition. It's short for "towards"; a means towards an end. That preposition takes 'an end' as its object.
It means, to read something.
'means' functions as a verb, notably the 3rd person singular. Its subject is 'It'. The entire portion 'to read something' functions as the object of the verb 'means'. 'to read' is an infinitive verb, and within the phrase 'to read something' it functions as a non-tensed verb; 'something' is its object:
It (subject) means (verb), to read something (verb's object).
. . . , to read (non-tensed verb) something (verb's object)
How to tell the difference? Look for two nouns; i.e.,
a means to an end (preposition)
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