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    #1

    active infinitive vs passive infinitive

    Hello everybody.

    The sentence in question is as follows:

    The owner is to supply a new hot water/high pressure washer to be used for cleaning inside process area.

    In my opinion, I do not think the passive infinitive should be used in the discussed sentence.

    I would like to show why based on other sentences containing the active infinitive.

    There are at least three reasons for this:

    1. A kind man gave me a bag of coffee beans to take home = A kind man gave me a bag of coffee beans (in order) for me to take home = A kind man gave me a bag of coffee beans in order that I could/should/would take it home.
    The sentence is unlikely to be expressed as: A kind man gave me a bag of coffee beans to be taken home.

    2. Father sent his little son to go to school = Father sent his little son in order for him (the son) to go to school = Father sent his little son in order that he (the son) should/would go to school.

    3. The active sentences here have an unexpressed subject for the verb phrases to answer and to translate - at least semantically. They mean something along the lines of:

    • That is an interesting question (for someone) to answer.
    • That's an easy sentence (for someone) to translate.

    In some theories of grammar, they would actually stipulate that there is an actual non-overt pronoun in the space where the brackets are in the examples above. It has the flavour of a non-definite third person pronoun. Note that if we actually stipulate specific subjects for these verbs we are obliged to use the subordinator for:

    Do you agree with me about the three reasons.

    On the other hand, we could say:

    A basket of dirty laundry was sent to wash or A basket of dirty laundry was sent to be washed.

    My final conclusion is that the sentence in question should read as follows:

    The owner is to supply a new hot water/high pressure washer to use for cleaning inside process area.

    Unlike in the sentence containing the passive infinitive, all the sentence containing the active infinitives mention the doer of the action.

    What do you think?

    I may be wrong.

    PLEASE
    Last edited by JACEK1; 05-Nov-2014 at 16:48. Reason: Standardising font and font size

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