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    #1

    I insisted to open the door.

    An interesting (to me) discussion started in another thread. The thread was closed, because we were going off-topic. I have copied and pasted some of this discussion to this new thread in case any of the participants feel the need to continue it.

    Piscean:

    I insisted on opening the door. - I insisted that I open the door.

    I insisted on him opening the door. - I insisted that he open the door.


    Phaedrus:

    This thread has had me thinking about whether the following variants are possible:

    ?I insisted to open the door. (I insisted that I open the door.)
    ? I insisted for him to open the door. (I insisted that he open the door.)

    Do those work for you, Piscean? I find them borderline acceptable. The pattern doesn't seem recognized in grammar books, though examples can be found.

    The infinitival complementation pattern clearly works better with "demand" than it does with "insist." These are unquestionably good:

    I demanded to open the door. (I demanded that I open the door.)
    I demanded for him to open the door. (I demanded that he open the door.)

    And of course the "on"-pattern doesn't work at all with "demand." What a curious state of grammatical affairs.

    *I demanded on opening the door.
    *I demanded on him opening the door.


    Piscean: Not at all.


    Phaedrus:

    Among the examples I found is the following one, from John Milton's Defense of the People of England:

    "But if you insist to knowby what Right, by what Law; by that Law, I tell you, which God and Nature have enacted, viz. that whatever things are for the Universal Good of the Whole State, are for that reason lawful and just."

    Unfortunately, I just discovered this is one of Milton's Latin works, the actual title being (or including the words) Defensio pro Populo Anglicano.

    It does appear to be an early translation, though. Also, there is this other example, from Milton's Samson Agonistes:

    "Afford me place to show what recompense
    Towards thee I intend for what I have misdone,
    Misguided. Only what remains past cure
    Bear not too sensibly, nor still insist
    To afflict thyself in vain."

    emsr2d2: I don't find the "demanded" ones natural either.


    Phaedrus: They are natural, though, to grammarians (see Quirk et al., 1985, A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language, section 16.32, p. 1182).


    emsr2d2: Maybe so, but what on earth is the point of "I demanded that I open the door"? When have you ever demanded that you do something yourself?

    Phaedrus:

    That was a paraphrase of "I demanded to open the door." I was using the same type of paraphrase as Piscean was using, for the sake of consistency. My point was that sentences with the infinitival verbal complementation pattern found in "I demanded to open the door" and "I demanded for him to open the door" is indisputably correct. Please let me know if you'd like other citations from other grammar works.

    The complementation pattern with simply "demanded to VP" (as opposed to "demanded for NP to VP") is perhaps most often found with passive infinitives, as in "I demand to be treated with respect." Here is what I consider to be a more natural paraphrase of "I demanded to open the door": "I demanded that I be the one to open the door." But one could say that is a paraphrase of "I demanded to be the one to open the door."

    The potential quirkiness of isolated examples being set aside, the infinitival complementation pattern is correct and natural with "demand."
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    #2

    Re: I insisted to open the door.

    Quote Originally Posted by Phaedrus
    The infinitival complementation pattern clearly works better with "demand" than it does with "insist." These are unquestionably good:

    I demanded to open the door. (I demanded that I open the door.)
    I demanded for him to open the door. (I demanded that he open the door.)
    I don't find the sentences I have underlined 'unquestionably good'. Indeed, I find them unnatural.

    Quirk et al offer People are demanding that she leave as an example sentence, but offer no example with I demand that I ... . People are demanding that I leave works, but I am demanding that I leave doesn't work,
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    #3

    Re: I insisted to open the door.

    The Milton examples are interesting, but 17th century English is no guide to what is acceptable today.

    I search the internet for examples of 'insisted to do'. I found quite a few examples in reviews, blogs, Facebook posts, etc, but only one* in a source that I'd take as using acceptable standard English:
    Finally, I said to the telephonist that my psychiatrist had mentioned to me that I could always contact her deputies and I insisted to talk to them.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6483572/


    *Apart from one from Benjamin Franklin here, but that was written in 1779, so is useless as a guide to what is acceptable today.
    Last edited by Piscean; 29-Aug-2020 at 20:19. Reason: typo
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    #4

    Re: I insisted to open the door.

    Quote Originally Posted by Piscean View Post
    The Milton examples are interesting, but 17th century English is no guide to what is acceptable today.
    I think that when there is overlap between present-day usage and seventeenth-century usage the seventeenth-century overlap may be interpreted as evidence that a pattern which is deviant for some present-day speakers is but a continuation of an earlier pattern of usage which may gradually be dying out.

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    #5

    Re: I insisted to open the door.

    It doesn't sound natural to me, but NGrams suggest insisted to is making a comeback. though not a huge one.

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    #6

    Re: I insisted to open the door.

    Thank you, Piscean, for starting this thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by Piscean View Post
    I don't find the sentences I have underlined 'unquestionably good'. Indeed, I find them unnatural.

    Quirk et al offer People are demanding that she leave as an example sentence, but offer no example with I demand that I ... . People are demanding that I leave works, but I am demanding that I leave doesn't work,
    I agree that "I demand that I open the door" is strange. Again, I was just sticking to Tufguy's example and using your style of paraphrase but varying the verb.

    Sentences beginning "I demand that I . . ." are clearly more natural with present subjunctive "that"-clauses which are passive or which have passive meaning:

    I demand that I be shown the document. (grammatically passive "that"-clause)
    I demand that I get a decent bed. (passive meaning in the "that"-clause)

    For what it's worth, I did find an example like "God, I demand that I win the lottery" on Google Books, a sentence addressed to the Almighty Himself.

    I'm glad we're in agreement that it's possible to say "I demand to open the door," with the sentence meeting the naturalness requirement in modern English.

    As for the complementation pattern found in "I demand for him to open the door," it seems to me to work, but I can't say that I've said things like it.

    For what it's worth, whether or not the pattern is available after the verb, it definitely seems available with "demand" as a noun complementation pattern:

    "When he repeated his demand for them to leave, the group turned away, filled with obvious plans for retribution" (source).
    ". . . the women said that the man initially ignored their demands for him to stop touching them . . . ." (source).
    "Unconsciously my tone of voice became louder, and my demand for her to return more emphatic" (source).

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    #7

    Re: I insisted to open the door.

    For the record, Phaedrus and Piscean, here's my take on this:

    ? I insisted to open the door. (I insisted that I open the door.)
    ? I insisted for him to open the door. (I insisted that he open the door.)

    Those don't work for me.

    I demanded to open the door. (I demanded that I open the door.)
    I demanded for him to open the door. (I demanded that he open the door.)

    Yes, I quite agree that the infinitival complementation is fine with demand. I think the problem some members are having is with the meaning/use of those particular examples. I don't think anyone would have a problem with, say:

    I demanded to be let in.

    Whether the following is acceptable is another matter, I think:

    ? I demanded for him to let me in.

    For me, it's okay.



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    #8

    Re: I insisted to open the door.

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    Whether the following is acceptable is another matter, I think:

    ? I demanded for him to let me in.

    For me, it's okay.
    Not for me.
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