I don't have a background in linguistics, but to me the above seems odd for some reason. Why is a subject "we" necessary? "to make sure it works" is an adverbial phrase headed by the to-infinitive (to+make sure) and modifying the main phrasal verb (listened to). Adverbial phrases function like adverbs, often specifying manner, extent, reason, etc. A simple test in this case is to ask the question "why" after the main clause and see if the following phrase answers it. If it does, it's probably an adverbial phrase. Consider:
I exercise (why?) to lose weight.
The eggs were broken (why?) to make an omelet.
The CD must be listened to (why?) to make sure it works.
Grammatically, your sentence is fine. Stylistically though, it's a bit clumsy to double the "to", which is why you're having the "this sounds weird" gut reaction. Commas and pauses are a good idea, as has been suggested. Sometimes, the doubling is necessary and commas/pauses are the only way to help, as in the following focus-providing pseudocleft:
What it is, is a bad case of the flu.
In your case though, you can avoid the whole mess and follow the moderator's advice.
Welcome, cabledetached. :hi:
Take a look at the parallel and unparallel active and passive structures here:
to lose weight
Repair: no repair needed
The eggs were broken
to make an omelet
Repair: The eggs were broken so that an omelet could be made.
The CD must be listened to
to make sure it works.
Repair: We had to listen to the CD to make sure it worked.
What are your thoughts? :-D
Neither of the following dictionaries classifies "listen to" as a phrasal verb:
-Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary
-Longman Dictionary of Contemparary English
-Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary
-Collins Advanced Learners Dictionary
So, would you mind letting me know if it really is phrasal verb, and what exactly a phrasal verb means?
incidently, have I used the word "neither" correctly here because there are more than two options?
Listen is an intransitive verb. And when we need to use it with an object, we use the prepositional phrase with 'to'.
Whenever he speaks, everyone listens (to him/to his words/to what he's got to say).
:turn-l:Bear in mind I'm not a teacher!:turn-l:
The eggs were broken to make an omelet.
Mom broke the eggs to make an omelet.
I agree that you should avoid unnecessary shifts of voice in the same sentence, but in the above two sentences "to make an omelet" is an infinitive phrase, no? I don't think parallel, or a shift in voice, actually applies here.
Hi Casiopea, :up:
Thanks for the reply. This is a very interesting thread. I now see the advantage to having parallel constructions in some situations. At the same time, I'm still struggling with a few of your points. I'm relatively new to this whole English teaching deal, so please bear with me.
1. By your example:
The eggs must be broken
to make an omelet
What makes the adverbial phrase active? I see no agent. Is it simply that the verb precedes the object?
I can see how it can be changed to passive,
so that an omelet [is/can be] made
because passive voice doesn't require an agent in some circumstances. I always thought active voice needed an agent. Can you please clarify?
2. Speaking of the agentless passive, are there any instances in which the use of non-parallel constructions is preferred or even required?
Native Americans were systematically displaced
to make room for white settlers.
This sentence seems perfectly fine to me, even though the constructions are not parallel. It gives me no pause. If I change the the main clause to active,
The US government systematically displaced Native Americans...
I shift focus away from the patient (Native Americans) and introduce an agent that may be redundant (obvious from context or assumed to be known, for example). Assuming that I like to keep the main clause passive, what are my options if I want to maintain parallel structure? Check out:
so that room could be made for white settlers - passive, but clumsy
so that room for white settlers could be made - same
so that white settlers could have room made for them - ?ugh. I don't even think this one is parallel
so that white settlers could be accommodated - Aha! This one is passive and elegant. It looks like a winner.
But is it really that much better than the original? It rewords the phrase in a way that shifts focus toward "white settlers" and away from the action "to make room", which I'm not sure I want to do.
What do you think?:?: Am I just splitting hairs? :roll:
The thing is, lately my students have been stumping me with questions I'm not able to answer, so I appreciate anyone's input.
You seem to have taken an infinitive phrase (are we still calling infinitives, gerunds, and participles, VERBALS?) and turned it into a dependent clause in passive voice.
You haven't converted the phrase to passive voice; I've never heard of active and passive phrases, only active and passive voice used in sentences or clauses. How can a phrase be active or passive? HELP!!
I THINK you've taken THE IDEA of the phrase and written it into a dependent clause, but I don't know why. Parallel, I think, means avoid shifting voices in compound or complex sentences.
Yes, Ikia, I agree. See point 1 in my previous post. When it boils down to it, I don't understand/agree with the parallel/non-parallel analysis (though I tried to follow its logic in poin 2) because, as you mentioned, we have a main clause and an infinitive phrase functioning as an adverbial. It seems like apples and oranges. To go back to the original sentence,
The CD must be listened to to make sure it works.
I think this sentence is perfectly fine, it just needs a comma.