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    #1

    How is the infinitive functioning in this sentence?

    Insights into the brains of paralyzed patients are helping to drive the technology as well as leading to new discoveries.

    I think
    "to drive the technology" is an infinitive + object functioning as an adverb.

    I think this is so because the infinitive phrase answers the question, "In what way are insights helping?"

    OR

    Is
    "to drive the technology" functioning as an object?



    Am I wrong? Am I right?

    Let me know.

    Thanks!

    P.S. I have no idea why the formatting is so wacky. Sorry for the minuscule print!

    Last edited by donnach; 24-Apr-2015 at 22:41.

  1. probus's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: How is the infinitive functioning in this sentence?

    I think that "to drive the technology" is a noun phrase. Ditto for "leading to new discoveries." I don't know enough about modern Universal Grammar to specify the function of the infinitives.

    BTW for me your type is huge rather than miniscule.

  2. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: How is the infinitive functioning in this sentence?

    I don't see how "the technology" can be an adverb. An adverb doesn't answer the question Drive what? An adverb would describe how the technology is driven: slowly, dependably, erratically, fast, whatever. There is no adverb in that phrase.

    So Probus's suggestion that there are two noun phrases makes more sense to me.
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

  3. Junior Member
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    #4

    Re: How is the infinitive functioning in this sentence?

    -I'm not a teacher-

    I think to drive the technology is an infinitive phrase/adverbial adjunct of purpose, being the technology the direct object of 'drive' and a noun phrase.
    May this be correct?
    Last edited by ronao; 25-Sep-2015 at 02:49.

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    #5

    Re: How is the infinitive functioning in this sentence?

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


    My teachers told me to simplify a sentence in order to analyze it (that is, delete all unnecessary words).

    Let's work on "Insights are helping to drive the technology."

    It seems to me:

    Insights = subject.
    are helping = verbal phrase.
    to drive the technology = infinitive phrase that is the direct object.


    Question: What are insights helping to do?

    Answer: To drive the technology.

    *****

    Here is a sentence from one of my favorite books: "He helped (to) pay my expenses." [After "help," the "to" is optional.]

    The book says that "(to) pay my expenses" is the direct object of the verb "helped."

    Source: House and Harman, Descriptive English Grammar (copyright 1931 and 1950).

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    #6

    Re: How is the infinitive functioning in this sentence?

    I've found an alternative analysis of catenative constructions such as "helping to drive".

    In "English Grammar for Today - A New Introduction" by Geoffrey Leech, Margaret Deuchar and Robert Hoogenraad the authors suggest relaxing "the 'one-clause-one predicator rule', and to allow a single clause to contain more than one predicator, of which only the first can be finite" (p.124). Further, they give examples of that analysis with such sentences:

    "Mary wants to go" [S, P, Pi]

    "Mary wants me to go" [S, P, O, Pi]" where S stand for subject, P for a finite predicator, O for an object and Pi for the infinitive predicator.
    I'm not a teacher and I'm not a native speaker of English.

  5. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: How is the infinitive functioning in this sentence?

    I prefer the traditional view.

    Mary wants to go. [subject, verb, (infinitive) direct object.
    Mary wants me to go. [subject, verb, indirect object, (infinitive) direct object.

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    #8

    Re: How is the infinitive functioning in this sentence?

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


    My teachers told me to simplify a sentence in order to analyze it (that is, delete all unnecessary words).

    Let's work on "Insights are helping to drive the technology."

    It seems to me:

    Insights = subject.
    are helping = verbal phrase.
    to drive the technology = infinitive phrase that is the direct object.


    Question: What are insights helping to do?

    Answer: To drive the technology.

    *****

    Here is a sentence from one of my favorite books: "He helped (to) pay my expenses." [After "help," the "to" is optional.]

    The book says that "(to) pay my expenses" is the direct object of the verb "helped."

    Source: House and Harman, Descriptive English Grammar (copyright 1931 and 1950).
    ****** NOT A TEACHER *******

    I agree with you, TheParser. 'To drive the technology is de direct object of helping and within 'to drive the technology' 'the technology' is the direct object of 'drive'.

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