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  1. wotcha's Avatar
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    #1

    omission of to in to-infinitive.

    I've learned that 'to' can be omitted when it is used as a complement of a be verb in sentences that are initiated by 'what S + V ', 'All S + V' and 'The only thing S + V ' clauses. For example


    1. What I want is back to school
    2. What I want is to go back to school
    3. What I want is going back to school.

    All three sentence are grammatically correct. - Is that right?

    Also,

    4. All you need is study hard.
    5. The only thing you need is be independent.

    Are the sentence 4 and 5 grammatically acceptable?


    Thanks in advance. ^_^;

  2. 5jj's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: omission of to in to-infinitive.

    Quote Originally Posted by wotcha View Post
    1. What I want is back to school.X
    2. What I want is to go back to school.
    2a. What I want to do is (to) go back to school.
    3. What I want is going back to school.X
    4. All you need is study hard.X
    4a. All you need to do is (to) study hard.
    5. The only thing you need is be independent. X;
    5

  3. wotcha's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: omission of to in to-infinitive.

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    5

    What about this sentence?

    'The only thing you have to remember is bring your passport'


    Is it correct?

    ^^;;

  4. BobK's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: omission of to in to-infinitive.

    [addressed to 5jj's post]1 is not unlike a form with 'rid', common in Scotland and many other dialectal forms: 'I want rid of him' [=I want to be rid of him].

    The words 'The only thing you have to remember is [this], or : bring your passport' would be acceptable if the intonation reflected the punctuation I've added.

    b
    Last edited by BobK; 24-Jan-2012 at 12:07. Reason: Added 2nd sentence

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    #5

    Re: omission of to in to-infinitive.

    Quote Originally Posted by wotcha View Post
    I've learned that 'to' can be omitted when it is used as a complement of a be verb in sentences that are initiated by 'what S + V ', 'All S + V' and 'The only thing S + V ' clauses.
    You've either misremembered, or been mis-taught, the rule, which is that omission of 'to' before a complemental infinitive (VP2) in such constructions as [All + S + VP1 + is + VP2] occurs

    (1) (obligatorily) where the finite element of VP1 is either a form of 'do' or a modal auxiliary with 'do' as its dependent, thus

    All he did was wait.

    All he does is wait.


    All he can do is wait.

    (NOT: *...to wait..)

    (2) (optionally) where the finite element of VP1 is a non-modal verb complemented by 'to do', thus

    All he has to do is wait.

    (or ...to wait...)

    In the case of constructions not covered by the above rule, the form of VP2 is simply identical to that of any verbal dependent of VP1, thus e.g.

    All I want is to go back to school.


    (Not: *...go back...)

    All I enjoy is sitting and listening to music.


    (Not: *... (to) sit and (to) listen...)

    and so forth.
    Last edited by philo2009; 26-Jan-2012 at 06:58.

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