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  1. #1
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    Unhappy What is a PRO-Infinitive construction?

    Hello, I would like to know what a PRO-infinitive construction is. I searched Google for an explanation and I didn't find any example or anything clear. My Longman grammar book says nothing about it either.

    I have the following question to answer:
    Specify the type of the infinitival construction in the following complex sentence:
    She wants to be rewarded.
    a. PRO-infinitive
    b. For to-infinitive
    c. Nominative plus Infinitive Construction
    d. Accusative plus Infinitive Construction

    My initial answer was Nominative plus Infinitive Construction because "want" is a verb of liking and disliking but, I'm not sure if it applies in this context.

    By excluding the other options I'm left with PRO-infinitive and unfortunately I can't find any info on this type of construction. :(

    Thanx

  2. #2
    Anglika is offline No Longer With Us
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    Default Re: What is a PRO-Infinitive construction?


  3. #3
    allience is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: What is a PRO-Infinitive construction?

    I checked the link but the author analyzes some structures from Icelandic language. It does mention PRO infinitive in Icelandic but there's no explanation.

    From what I can make of it, it looks like it's about an element functioning both as subject and object but is that a PRO infinitive?

  4. #4
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    Default Re: What is a PRO-Infinitive construction?

    PRO (also called big PRO, and different from 'little pro') stands for the word pronoun, and it's a term used in linguistics, specifically in syntax-semantics, to refer to an empty category:
    Ex: I persuaded John [PRO] to read Al Gore's latest book.
    The noun John has two functions, one semantic and one syntactic. John is the semantic subject of infinitive to read, and the syntactic object of the main verb persuaded. In G&B (Government & Binding Theory, Chomsky) any given constituent cannot have more than one syntactic role; therefore, PRO is added to support the syntax-semantics interface. PRO (pronoun) refers back to John.

    See also here PRO (linguistics - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) and here http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&n...ro+linguistics.

  5. #5
    naomimalan is offline Member
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    Default Re: What is a PRO-Infinitive construction?

    Quote Originally Posted by allience View Post
    I checked the link but the author analyzes some structures from Icelandic language. It does mention PRO infinitive in Icelandic but there's no explanation.

    From what I can make of it, it looks like it's about an element functioning both as subject and object but is that a PRO infinitive?
    A PRO infinitive is a structure where PRO is the empty subject of the infinitive. So in your sentence: She wants [ ] to be rewarded, the subject is omitted because it refers to the same person as the overt subject "she" (ie it's co-referential with "she"). If it were not co-referential, you would no longer have an empty subject: She wants her husband to be rewarded.

    Andrew Radford compares two sentences:
    The President isn't sure
    a) whether he should approve the project.
    b) whether to approve the project.

    He points out that in (b), the infinitive has an empty subject and that " 'This empty pronoun subject' we might designate as PRO."

    RADFORD, A., Transformational Grammar, Cambridge, CUP, 1988, p. 313
    Last edited by naomimalan; 13-Jun-2008 at 14:03. Reason: typo

  6. #6
    allience is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: What is a PRO-Infinitive construction?

    Thank you for replying, I'm starting to finally understand this.
    So basically, to see if I have a PRO-Infinitive construction, I should simply try to replace the missing subject?

    For example: She wants to become the Mayor. -PRO-infinitive because I could say: She wants [Jane] to become the Mayor. Did I get this right?

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