Student or Learner
What is the grammatical role of infinitive phrases in these sentences:
1-For some, the attempt to understand his writing is a challenge.
2-They find it hard to understand the sixteenth-century expressions.
3-However, most people like to see the plays performed.
2- "hard to understand the sixteenth-century expressions" is adjective
3- direct object : to see the plays performed.
Am I right?!
Last edited by nininaz; 27-Sep-2014 at 14:01.
***** NOT A TEACHER *****
From my beloved books:
1. "Darius Green's attempt to fly proved a failure."
a. The book cites this as an example of an infinitive that modifies a noun.
i. My note: Darius Green's attempt proved a failure.
ii. What attempt? Answer: to fly.
b. That sentence seems similar to your first sentence. (What kind of attempt is a challenge? Answer: to understand his writing.)
2. "I find it impossible to like him."
a. "To like him" is the TRUE direct object.
b. MY NOTE: native speakers feel that "I find TO LIKE HIM impossible" is not acceptable.
So native speakers use a so-called "expletive" IT, which is a substitute for the TRUE direct object.
c. "Impossible" is an objective complement.
d. If you were diagramming this sentence, it would be:
I + find + it (to like him) + impossible.
e. I think that your second sentence is similar:
Mona: I find IT hard to understand.
James: WHAT do you find hard to understand?
Mona: Oh, excuse me for not defining "it." I meant to say that I find it hard to understand the sixteenth-century expressions.
James: Now, I understand. To understand the sixteenth-century expressions is hard for you.
Mona: Exactly, dude!
Sources: Pence and Emery, A Grammar of Present-Day English (1963).
House and Harman, Descriptive English Grammar (1950).
Last edited by TheParser; 27-Sep-2014 at 15:38. Reason: quotation marks