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    #1

    A challenge to ESL instructors

    Circle or underline the correct verb choice. In 1. the answer is 'think', and can only be 'think'. Yet, in Q 2 & 3, the answer is 'to + infinitive': to plan, to think. I challenge any instructor to explain WHY the q1 answer is different from q 2& 3. Note, the structure of each sentence is exactly the same: 'the' + noun + past tense verb + subject.....
    the + sunshine + made + me ....
    the + company + needed + me ....
    the + government + asked + citizens ....

    Circle the right verb choice

    1. The sunshine made me think / thinking / to think of our trip to Mexico.
    2. The company needed me plan / planning / to plan our annual budget.

    3. The government asked citizens think / thinking / to think about global warming.


    WHY, in usage, do we use only 'think' in q1, but use 'to plan', or 'to think' in q2, 3?
    Can anyone answer this? All Celta instructors who have been asked, have failed to give an explanation. Is it just one of those exceptions?

  1. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: A challenge to ESL instructors

    The simple answer is that it's "to make someone do something", not "to make someone to do something". Does that make it an exception? Not really. An exception to what, anyway? Some verbs are followed by the full infinitive (including "to") and some are followed by the bare infinitive (no "to").
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  2. Skrej's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: A challenge to ESL instructors

    Some verbs require an infinitive, some don't. Some of those which do have an optional noun/pronoun object after them, as in #2 and #3.

    You can find more lists of these verbs on the Internet, but here's one such list. You'll see that 'need' and 'ask' are on it, while 'make' isn't.

    So while the structure is the same, what's important is the verb.


    Edit:
    You can find similar lists for verbs which require a gerund. I use this page extensively for practice exercises with my students.

    Now, as to why some verbs require it and some don't - well, that's just the irregularities of language in general.
    Wear short sleeves! Support your right to bare arms!

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    #4

    Re: A challenge to ESL instructors

    Some questions of language usage don't have an answer to the question of why, unless the fact that everybody does something satisfies as an answer. We do some things because everybody else does- it is part of joining a speech community. Some verbs take infinitives with to, others without and others gerunds, with or without prepositions. We follow what we hear when we're growing up, and pass that on to the next generation. Changes take place over time, but the fact that something has a similar structure does not mean it will necessarily take the same form. Language is shaped by many factors, and logic is only one of them.

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