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    #1

    Adverbial Infinitive phrase?

    She wants us to eat a good breakfast.

    Two questions:

    1) Is the infinitive phrase "to eat a good breakfast" adverbial modifying "wants"?
    2) Is "us" the direct object of "wants"? Thank you.
    Last edited by emsr2d2; 15-Apr-2020 at 20:50. Reason: Improved layout of post

  2. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Adverbial Infinitive phrase?

    1: I don't know.

    2: Yes.
    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.

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    #3

    Re: Adverbial Infinitive phrase?

    Thank you.

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    #4

    Re: Adverbial Infinitive phrase?

    The gratitude is appreciated, but we prefer that you just click "Thank". It's more efficient.
    I am not a teacher.

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    #5

    Re: Adverbial Infinitive phrase?

    Quote Originally Posted by Luckysquirty View Post
    She wants us to eat a good breakfast.

    NOT A TEACHER

    Hello,

    If I understand my sources correctly, there are at least two ways to analyze your sentence.

    1. "us to eat a good breakfast" is an infinitive phrase/clause that is the object of the verb "wants."

    a. "us" is the subject of the infinitive phrase/clause.
    b. Your sentence is the accepted way to say "She wants that we eat a good breakfast," which -- as one of my sources would say-- sounds "strange" or "unidiomatic."

    2. You can also say that "us" is the direct object of "wants."

    a. Then, the infinitive phrase/clause "to eat a good breakfast" is an objective complement. That is to say, "to eat a good breakfast" complements (completes) the meaning of the object "us."

    *****

    Be very careful though. Look at "We promised her to come."

    Who promised to come? "We" did, not "her." Therefore, "her" is the indirect object, and "to come" is the direct object of "promised."




    Sources: Paul Roberts, Understanding English (1954), pages 360 and 362; Pence and Emery, A Grammar of Present-Day English (1947 and 1963), page 72.

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    #6

    Re: Adverbial Infinitive phrase?

    TheParser: First off, thanks for explanation. May we have a look at your sentence: "We promised her to come." Let's change it to "We promised her money." Here, we have a "true" direct object the noun "money." In yours, the infinitive functions as a noun (object). Is that accepted?

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    #7

    Re: Adverbial Infinitive phrase?

    Quote Originally Posted by Luckysquirty View Post

    In yours, the infinitive functions as a noun (object). Is that accepted?

    NOT A TEACHER



    In Pence and Emery's book (page 65), it states: "[A]n infinitive may have the function of a noun."

    "It began to rain just as I was starting for home." The book explains that (a) "just as I was starting for home" adverbially modifies "to rain" and (b) "to rain" functions as a noun (the direct object of "began").
    Last edited by TheParser; 16-Apr-2020 at 14:06.

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    #8

    Re: Adverbial Infinitive phrase?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheParser View Post
    NOT A TEACHER



    In Pence and Emery's book (page 65), it states: "[A]n infinitive may have the function of a noun."



    "It began to rain just as I was starting for home." The book explains that (a) "just as I was starting for home" adverbially modifies "to rain" and (b) "to rain" functions as a noun (the direct object of "began").
    Just saw something. Maybe proper structure: "The rain began just as I started home." Adverbial clause modifying the verb "began." No confusion. Thanks, again for your help.

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    #9

    Re: Adverbial Infinitive phrase?

    She wants us to eat a good breakfast.

    Q1: No.
    Q2: Yes

    "Want" is a catenative verb so this is a catenative construction, where syntactically "us" is direct object of "wants", and the subordinate infinitival clause is catenative complement of "wants".

    "Us" is also the understood (semantic) subject of the infinitival clause.

    "Us" is here called a 'raised object' because the verb it relates to syntactically is higher in the constituent structure than the one it relates to semantically.

    The word 'catentive' comes from the Latin word for "chain", which is appropriate here since the verbs "want" and "eat" do indeed form a chain, separated by only the noun "us".

    Note that direct objects are always noun phrase, not clauses.

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    #10

    Re: Adverbial Infinitive phrase?

    Quote Originally Posted by GoesStation View Post
    The gratitude is appreciated, but we prefer that you just click "Thank". It's more efficient.
    But nothing is worse than "Thank you in advance."

    (Of course it's in advance!)
    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.

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