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  1. #1
    hela is offline Senior Member
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    Default part of speech of "to"

    Dear teachers,

    Could you please tell me if the parts of speech of the word "to" differ in the following example?

    He will have to (1) get up early to (2) go to (3) school.

    to (1) = preposition, infinitive particle or something else ?
    to (2) = surbordinating conjunction like "in order to" ?
    to (3) = preposition

    Thank you in advance.
    Hela
    Last edited by hela; 25-Nov-2012 at 14:56.

  2. #2
    TheParser is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: part of speech of "to"


    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****Hello, Hela:



    Don't worry: I am not to give you any of my opinions! Since I found you to be such a courteous thread starter, however, I am

    delighted to help out in any way that I can.

    So I thought that you would like this passage from one of the greatest grammarians of all time.

    ["To"] was at first the ordinary preposition indicating direction or purpose, as it still does in some combinations, e.g. "he goes to fetch his hat" and "he was led to believe it." While a trace of this meaning may be said to exist in "ready to go, I wish to go," it is totally obliterated in "I refuse to go" and "To see her is to love her," etc. ... Before an infinitive to may now be considered a grammatical implement with no meaning of its own." [NOTE: I underscored those words.]

    Those words come from Professor Otto Jespersen (the great Danish-born grammarian of the English language) in Essentials of English Grammar (written in 1933; reprinted by the University of Alabama in 1964), page 330.


    James

  3. #3
    hela is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: part of speech of "to"

    Good afternoon, James. Happy to read you again.

    So if I understood the Prof's statement well :

    to(1) should be an infinitive particle;
    to(2), a preposition indicating purpose; and
    to(3), a preposition indicating direction.

    Right ?

    If you wouldn't mind, could you please have a look at my other thread on auxiliary verbs?

    Thank you for being so kind and thoughtful.
    Hela

  4. #4
    TheParser is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: part of speech of "to"

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****Hello, Hela:


    Thank you so much for your kind note. I am happy to know that the grammarian's words were helpful.


    Regarding your questions, I should not touch them with a ten-foot pole (or "barge pole," as our British friends say).
    I have no desire to give you wrong answers.

    As you know, the teachers here are fantastic in their knowledge, and some have even taught at the university level.

    I saw your other threads, and a little voice told me: "James, don't you even think of answering those questions. Leave them

    to people who actually know what they are talking about!!!"



    James

  5. #5
    hela is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: part of speech of "to"

    Ok, James. Do as you please. Let's wait for a professional answer then.

  6. #6
    5jj's Avatar
    5jj is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: part of speech of "to"

    Quote Originally Posted by TheParser View Post
    a little voice told me: "James, don't you even think of answering those questions. Leave them to people who actually know what they are talking about!!!"

  7. #7
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: part of speech of "to"

    Quote Originally Posted by hela View Post
    So if I understood the Prof's statement well
    You did. However, as some people talk of infinitives of purpose, some may say that 1 & 2 are infinitive particles.

  8. #8
    hela is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: part of speech of "to"

    So to(1) is called an infinitive particle,
    and to(2) called an inifinitive particle (of purpose ?) or a preposition indicating purpose ?

    When parsing should "to" be analysed alone or should it be linked to the verb next to it ? i.e.
    have = auxiliary verb, to = infinitive particle , get up = main / lexical verb
    OR
    have to = modal verb, get up = main verb
    OR
    have = auxiliary verb, to get up = infinitive verb ?

    Thank you for your patience.

  9. #9
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: part of speech of "to"

    There are differences of opinion- there's no such thing as the perfect description. You might get different answers for #2.

  10. #10
    hela is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: part of speech of "to"

    Thank you, Tdol.

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