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  1. #21
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    Default Re: Grammar problem with "to"

    Quote Originally Posted by udara sankalpa View Post
    Hi Cas :
    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
    You'll have to take that up with our member Nousa (See post #4, provided here below) who defined listened to as a phrasal verb.
    Quote Originally Posted by Noussa View Post
    Hi
    your sentence is correct don't change anything "listened to " is a unit that is one word it's a phrasal verb and the second to is a preposition
    you're right
    Quote Originally Posted by udara sankalpa
    So, would you mind letting me know if it really is phrasal verb, and what exactly a phrasal verb means?
    From Phrasal Verb practice quiz:
    Phrasal verbs in English are verbs followed by an adverb or a preposition. Often these phrasal verbs change the meaning of the verb in idiomatic ways.
    • blow up => explode
    • work out => be successful
    With some phrasal verbs the verb and preposition can be divided:
    • set a meeting up
    • get your point of view across
    Other phrasal verbs cannot be separated:
    • get on with
      drop out of
    The verb listen to does not change the meaning of the verb listen; however, given that it is a two-part verb, that it has more than one part, that it acts as a complete syntactic and semantic unit, some will hold that it belongs to the category phrasal verb; e.g., question No.4 in this quiz on the phrasal verb listen, here.

    Note that,
    A phrasal verb is also called verb-particle construction, verb phrase, multi-word verb, or compound verb. American English expressions are a type of two-part verb or, in some cases, a three-part verb.

    Read more here on idiomatic and literal verb-particle constructions.
    Does that help so far?

    If you would like to continue this topic, please start a new thread.

  2. #22
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    Default Re: Grammar problem with "to"

    Welcome, Ikia.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ikia View Post
    You seem to be taking an infinitive phrase and making it active or passive.

    The eggs were broken 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.
    Try looking at it from a different perspective:

    To make an omelet, the eggs were broken.

  3. #23
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    Default Re: Grammar problem with "to"

    Quote Originally Posted by cabledetached View Post
    1. By your example:

    The eggs must be broken <passive>
    to make an omelet <active>

    What makes the adverbial phrase active? I see no agent. Is it simply that the verb precedes the object?
    Active in that the underlying subject, which is covert, is the doer. Here's an alternative example that shows the doer of the verb:

    The eggs must be broken so that we can make an omelet.

    Quote Originally Posted by cabledetached
    2. Speaking of the agentless passive, are there any instances in which the use of non-parallel constructions is preferred or even required?

    For example:

    Native Americans were systematically displaced <passive>
    to make room for white settlers. <active>

    This sentence seems perfectly fine to me, even though the constructions are not parallel.
    Agreed. In other words, the semantic subjects are different:

    Native Americans were systematically displaced (by the US government) in order that room/space could be made available] for white settlers.

    Consider now,

    The CD had to be listened to (by us) to make sure it worked (by us). <awkward>


    How does that sit with you so far?

  4. #24
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    Default Re: Grammar problem with "to"

    Hi Cas:
    You're an amazing teacher!
    Thank you very much indeed.

    Cheers
    Udara

  5. #25
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    Default Re: Grammar problem with "to"

    Quote Originally Posted by udara sankalpa View Post
    Hi Cas:
    You're an amazing teacher!
    Thank you very much indeed.

    Cheers
    Udara
    You're most welcome for the help on defining phrasal verbs.

  6. #26
    cabledetached is offline Newbie
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    Red face Re: Grammar problem with "to"

    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea View Post
    In other words, the semantic subjects are different:

    Native Americans were systematically displaced (by the US government) in order that room/space could be made available] for white settlers.

    Consider now,

    The CD had to be listened to (by us) to make sure it worked (by us). <awkward>


    How does that sit with you so far?
    Sorry...it's still not getting through

    I'm not sure what you mean by "semantic subject". Can you please define it? I see it mentioned on several Google hits, but I haven't come across a satisfactory definition. Is there a place you can point me to? The reason I'm confused is that, in the treatment of my sentence, you assign the "semantic subject" role in a way that seems arbitrary. In the main clause, the semantic subject is the unstated agent (doer) the US government. In the second part (which used to be an infinitive phrase but has been rewritten into an embedded noun clause) the "semantic subject" is apparently the receiver, room. What's wrong with assigning the semantic subject as follows:

    Native Americans were systematically displaced (by the US government) in order that room/space could be made available (by the US government) for white settlers.

    Then we have both clauses in passive voice, with the agent of each being the "semantic subject". If you accept this analysis, and you agree that it's not awkward, then it follows that

    The CD had to be listened to (by us) to make sure it worked (by us).

    is also not awkward.

    There is a grammar way of looking at this and a semantics way, and I feel like the lines may be getting crossed. What am I missing?

    Thanks

  7. #27
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    Default Re: Grammar problem with "to"

    OK. Let's clear this up.

    First, about the difference between structural and semantic subjects in passive constructs. The structural subject is the verb's semantic object; the semantic subject is the doer of the verb:

    Active: The car hit the dog.
    Passive: The dog was hit by the car.

    Second, in your example sentence the noun phrase the US government occurs twice:

    Native Americans were systematically displaced by (the US government) (in order for the US government) to make room for ...
    The phrase US government (i) is the semantic subject of a passive verb, whereas the phrase US government (ii) is the semantic subject of the infinitive to make room for. Now, even though both noun phrases are labelled semantic subjects--thanks to terminology--they do indeed differ semantically. US government (ii) sits in a enviornment that's active in structure, not active in voice, which makes it different from the passive voice semantic subject US government. That is what I meant and still mean by "the semantic subjects are different"... structurally. (Note, my apologies for placing the example in passive voice; i.e., in order that room could be made.)

    Third, the infinitive phrase to make room for is a verb underlyingly. It may function as an adverb, but its semantic form is a verb, a transitive verb. At the semantic level it takes a object and a subject. Its object is the phrase room for, its subject is elided. That is, to make room isn't short for in order to make room for, it short for in order for someone to make room for.

    Fourth, below the semantic subjects under discussion are structurally the object of the preposition for:

    1. The CD had to be listened to (by us) (in order for us) to make sure that it worked.
    2. Native Americans were systematically displaced (by the US government) (in order for the US government) to make room for ...
    I trust that helps clear up my statement for you. If not, please let me know.

    Now, back to the topic. Short and easy: not every verb can undergo passive voice:

    Max: (active voice) Who had to listened to the CD?
    Sam: (passive voice) But...the CD had to be listened to. <awkward>

    The problem with the poster's sentence is passive voice, no matter how you look at it. The sentence is awkward (double to to has nothing to do with it; e.g., homophonous we had listened too to see if it worked.

  8. #28
    Ikia is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Grammar problem with "to"

    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea View Post
    Welcome, Ikia.

    Try looking at it from a different perspective:

    To make an omelet, the eggs were broken.
    Hi, Casiopea!

    I'm trying to see another perspective, but I can't. The main clause of the sentence is passive, but the infinitive phrase is neither active nor passive. We call this a verbal phrase: To make an omelet. The phrase could be used in either an active or a passive voice sentence.

    Earlier, you tried to show the phrase as active vs. passive in an effort to make the phrase parallel with the clause. That's what I was questioning.

    Ikia

  9. #29
    JJM Ballantyne is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Grammar problem with "to"

    There's absolutely nothing wrong with this sentence.

    It seems "weird" simply because you are thinking about it too much and because it is written out rather than spoken. However, it's a grammatically sound English statement.

    Such apparent repetition* occurs fairly routinely in English:

    The boys had had enough of all the noise.

    You could see he was concerned that that old house might go up in flames at any moment.


    * Apparent repetition because it represents the back-to-back occurrence of two homographs.

  10. #30
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    Default Re: Grammar problem with "to"

    Quote Originally Posted by JJM Ballantyne View Post
    There's absolutely nothing wrong with this sentence.
    I agree. That sentence--the one you just wrote--is fine.

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