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    #1

    Adjectival/ adverbial infinitive

    Some people are debating whether the infinitive phrase in this sentence is being used in an adjectival or adverbial manner: I was a fool TO TRUST HER.

    May I have your expert opinions, please?

    Thank you.

  1. MASM's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Adjectival/ adverbial infinitive

    Quote Originally Posted by TheParser View Post
    Some people are debating whether the infinitive phrase in this sentence is being used in an adjectival or adverbial manner: I was a fool TO TRUST HER.

    May I have your expert opinions, please?

    Thank you.
    What an interesting question! as usual.
    I'd say it is an adjective complement.
    Adjectives are often followed by to-infinitive: "I was happy to see him".
    Although it can also be considered an adjunct expressing reason, since youc can say " I was I fool because I trusted her".
    Does anything that I've written make sense to you?.

    What is your opinion?
    xxx


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    #3

    Re: Adjectival/ adverbial infinitive

    Quote Originally Posted by MASM View Post
    What an interesting question! as usual.
    I'd say it is an adjective complement.
    Adjectives are often followed by to-infinitive: "I was happy to see him".
    Although it can also be considered an adjunct expressing reason, since youc can say " I was I fool because I trusted her".
    Does anything that I've written make sense to you?.

    What is your opinion?
    xxx

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****

    Thank you for your kind note. I am too confused at this point to have an opinion. I am trying to get all the input possible. Thanks so much for yours. (P.S. One person who considers himself an expert agrees with your idea about "I was a fool because I trusted her.")

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    #4

    Re: Adjectival/ adverbial infinitive

    Quote Originally Posted by TheParser View Post
    Some people are debating whether the infinitive phrase in this sentence is being used in an adjectival or adverbial manner: I was a fool TO TRUST HER.

    May I have your expert opinions, please?

    Thank you.
    It is [a fool to trust her] that I was. That is what I was.
    I was a fool who trusted her.
    A fool to trust her is what I was.
    It is a contraption to open bottles that this is.
    What I was is [a fool to trust her].
    What it is is [a contraption to open bottles]. -- postmodified noun;adj.

    or

    I was a fool (so as) to trust her. -- adv.; unfeasible

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    #5

    Re: Adjectival/ adverbial infinitive

    Quote Originally Posted by corum View Post
    It is [a fool to trust her] that I was. That is what I was.
    I was a fool who trusted her.
    A fool to trust her is what I was.
    It is a contraption to open bottles that this is.
    What I was is [a fool to trust her].
    What it is is [a contraption to open bottles]. -- postmodified noun;adj.

    or

    I was a fool (so as) to trust her. -- adv.; unfeasible
    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****

    Thank you so much for your reply. That is a very intriguing analysis. Thank you again for your input.

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    #6

    Re: Adjectival/ adverbial infinitive

    Insertion test: What happens if I insert a mobile adverbial between the bracketed strings?
    I was a [fool] maybe [to trust her]. -- It works! --> the string of words 'fool to trust her' can be interpreted as not being a constituent, as not being an NP; the second bracket can be read as "because I trusted her"

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    #7

    Re: Adjectival/ adverbial infinitive

    Quote Originally Posted by corum View Post
    Insertion test: What happens if I insert a mobile adverbial between the bracketed strings?
    I was a [fool] maybe [to trust her]. -- It works! --> the string of words 'fool to trust her' can be interpreted as not being a constituent, as not being an NP; the second bracket can be read as "because I trusted her"
    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****

    Thanks so much for the update. Your grammar explanations are always great -- even if they are way over my head. (I'm strictly at the high school level.) Thanks again.

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    #8

    Re: Adjectival/ adverbial infinitive

    I've been thinking about this. It might be a prepositional complement modifying a noun, because "fool" is acting as a sustantive. Can that work?

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    #9

    Re: Adjectival/ adverbial infinitive

    Quote Originally Posted by MASM View Post
    I've been thinking about this. It might be a prepositional complement modifying a noun, because "fool" is acting as a sustantive. Can that work?
    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****

    (1) Thank you for continued interest.

    (2) What a coincidence. I was just reading a presumably authoritative book on the Web. He says that in "I was a fool to go," the infinitive is an adverbial objective. Usually, that term means a noun that is being used as an adverb. He then gives this paraphrase: I was a fool IN RESPECT OF GOING. According to what little I know, "in respect of" is, as you suggest, a preposition. In other words, if we were to analyze the paraphrase, it seems that "to go" is the object of the preposition and the whole prepositional phrase modifies "fool." But if we stick with "I was a fool to go," I see only two choices: "to go" modifies verb or it modifies the whole sentence. I guess I have to come to the conclusion that it does not modify "fool." I guess I have to surrender and accept what most people say (including you and Corum) that "I was a fool to go" = I was a fool because I went."

    (3) One authority did call this construction "peculiar." And, of course, hardly anyone cares about such a minor construction.

    (4) Thanks again to you and Corum for your help. I really learned a lot.

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    #10

    Re: Adjectival/ adverbial infinitive

    Quote Originally Posted by TheParser View Post
    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****

    (1) Thank you for continued interest.

    (2) What a coincidence. I was just reading a presumably authoritative book on the Web. He says that in "I was a fool to go," the infinitive is an adverbial objective. Usually, that term means a noun that is being used as an adverb. He then gives this paraphrase: I was a fool IN RESPECT OF GOING. According to what little I know, "in respect of" is, as you suggest, a preposition. In other words, if we were to analyze the paraphrase, it seems that "to go" is the object of the preposition and the whole prepositional phrase modifies "fool." But if we stick with "I was a fool to go," I see only two choices: "to go" modifies verb or it modifies the whole sentence. I guess I have to come to the conclusion that it does not modify "fool." I guess I have to surrender and accept what most people say (including you and Corum) that "I was a fool to go" = I was a fool because I went."

    (3) One authority did call this construction "peculiar." And, of course, hardly anyone cares about such a minor construction.

    (4) Thanks again to you and Corum for your help. I really learned a lot.
    I agree that "I was a fool to go" = "I was a fool because I went", but I don't agree at all that it is a "peculiar" construction", if by that your authority means "a strange or unusual construction".

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