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  1. #1
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    Question Using a noun before the infinitive (moved from Ask a Teacher)

    Quote Originally Posted by GoesStation View Post
    While it's possible to construct a case where sentence one from the original post is possible, doing so doesn't help the poster. Murat_turkey asked a specific question: whether it's "… acceptable to use a noun/pronoun before the infinitive to tell who is doing the action …." The proposed sentence is incorrect, so in that context, the answer is simply no.
    On parsing (3), the noun before the infinitive tells who is doing the action, so I'm afraid a simple "no" conceals possibilities worth knowing about.

    To be entitled to a "simple 'no,'" murat_turkey should have asked whether "suggest" can be complemented by an infinitival clause with an overt subject.

    As it happens, however, the noun before the infinitival clause can tell who is doing the action if the infinitival clause is parsed as modifying that noun.
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    Re: Using a noun before the infinitive.

    Interestingly, Quirk et al. (1985), contra Swan, accept the structure wherein suggest "occurs with a following noun phrase followed by a to-infinitive" (p. 1181). That is what the superscripted "2" denotes in their list of "suasive verbs" on page 1182, a superscript which decorates suggest, among other verbs on that list.

    I was inspired to look after reflecting on a possible meaning for murat_turkey's sentence that hadn't occurred to me before: "She suggested that it should be people who drive on Sundays." Perhaps they have robots or self-driving vehicles on all the other days of the week. She thinks it should be people who drive on Sundays.

    Notice that we can have sentences in which a subjectless infinitive complements suggest: "She suggested to drive on Sundays." There is a strong deontic sense with that use of suggest, for which sense a paraphrase with "should" naturally recommends itself: "She suggested that we should drive on Sundays."

    Thus, not only is "She suggested people to drive on Sundays" not incorrect. It is correct on three possible readings!
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  3. #3
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    Re: Using a noun before the infinitive.

    It will help if murat_turkey tells us what his sentence means, which I think is not at all clear at the moment.

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    Re: Using a noun before the infinitive.

    Quote Originally Posted by Piscean View Post
    When I responded originally, I had simply not thought of the possibilities Phaedrus came up with. One of those is perhaps a little obscure, but two are not at all so.
    Thanks, Piscean. I can't tell you how relieved I was to read your reply.

    I agree with you about the slight obscurity of the third reading I gave, the one that hadn't occurred to me at first, either. Normally, the "suggest NP to VP" structure is a pet grammar peeve of mine. I never like it when people say things like *I suggest you to do that as soon as possible or *What do you suggest me to do?, which I find grammatically incorrect, at least in Present-Day English (there appears to be a splash of such usage in Shakespeare).

    That said (ha ha), I am able to perceive the structure as correct when the NP between suggest and the infinitival clause is emphasized as the subject of the infinitival clause, and the intended meaning is, roughly, "suggest that that person or thing, as opposed to some other person or thing, should do thus-and-such." The following quotation, which admittedly is rather old, appears to have that kind of meaning, and I do hear the NP in question (him) with slight emphasis.

    "I had never met my compatriot and I knew him only as the rich American who had so ably organized the repatriation of American refugees in London on the outbreak of the war that Mr. Page had at once suggested him to organize the revitaillement, and I had of his personality only such impressions as might be derived from the two laconic dispatches he had sent me."

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    Everybody's Magazine, 1918, emphasis added
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  5. #5
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    Re: Using a noun before the infinitive.

    Quote Originally Posted by Piscean View Post
    I think that's a point for the original thread.
    Oh, sorry, yes. I didn't actually realise we'd changed threads.

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