Does anone have anything to add.
Student or Learner
I was hard to put up with.
This seems to me an interesting sentence in terms of its syntax.
Firstly, the sentence is active in form and passive in meaning.
'I was hard to be put up with' we do not say. However, logic dictates that we should.
Secondly, to my personal knowledge, all preps have an object.
Somehow I feel in this sentence we have one, dangling idly.
Should there not be an object of with in the predicate?
It was hard to put up with me.
Is this sentence a case of when incorrect becomes correct, or my grammar needs more polishing?
Does anone have anything to add.
Take a simpler, but similar sentence:
The text was easy to understand.
"Easy to understand" is in fact an adjectival phrase. It acts just like a normal adjective, but it is composed of several words instead of just one. It contains a head word ("easy"), and then an infinitive construction which acts as a kind of a modifier to the head word.
The same with your sentence: it has the same kind of structure. The phrase "hard to put up with" is an adjectival phrase. You can replace with a single adjective:
I was tired
I was hungry
I was angry
The implied object is "me", but it's simply not mentioned. If you want to be very pedantic, you could rewrite the sentence as follows:
I was hard with which to put up.
That introduces a relative pronoun which refers to "I" and acts as an object for "with". However, this construction sounds very unnatural indeed.
The original sentence ends with a preposition, which many students are told is "incorrect" grammar. This is a common misconception; in fact, prepositions have been ending English sentences since at least the Renaissance. Still, sentences ending in prepositions are viewed by some as "bad", and if you want to avoid the controversy, your proposed rewrite is an excellent way around the problem: it sounds natural and it won't annoy pedants.
thanks for the answer.
"The implied object is "me", but it's simply not mentioned. If you want to be very pedantic, you could rewrite the sentence as follows:
I was hard with (which) to put up."
It should be:
I was hard with whom to put up.
What is the object of the prep in my original sentence?
"To put up with" is a phrasal verb in the infinitive form. It is inseparable and it has an idiomatic meaning (to tolerate). I agree with you that it is normally a transitive phrasal verb (meaning that the terminal preposition requires an object) and "tolerate" is normally transitive as well.
So how do we analyze the construction?
I = pronoun, subject
am = linking verb
Because of that construction, what follows can only be a noun that stands in for "I" (predicate nominative) or an adjective (predicate adjective) describing "I".
There isn't any way I can turn the ending into a noun. It is descriptive in nature.
So, what is "hard to put up with"?
IMO, "hard" is an adjective, and "to put up with" is an infinitive modifying the adjective, which makes it adverbial.
But, what happened to the object of the transitive verb? Let's look at similar constructions:
The agreement is difficult to accept.
I was hard to tolerate.
Denmark is easy to miss.
She is impossible to satisfy.
John is too sick to incarcerate.
Fred is too ugly to date. (meaning dating Fred)
In all cases, the infinitive is a normally transitive verb that is used intransitively to modify a predicate adjective. There are too many examples to call them idioms. It suggests that this is a feature of adverbial infinitives whose logical object is the subject of a sentence.
"In all cases, the infinitive is a normally transitive verb that is used intransitively to modify a predicate adjective. There are too many examples to call them idioms. It suggests that this is a feature of adverbial infinitives whose logical object is the subject of a sentence"
Yes, there is no other reasonable explanation for it.
Churchill (according to one story) is supposed to have remarked that the tortuous sentences sometimes produced to avoid putting a preposition at the end of a sentence were examples of "the kind of English up with which I will not put". Clearly, few (if any) native speakers would naturally produce that kind of construction, but Churchill overdid it somewhat: someone following the traditional rule would have said, "the kind of English with which I will not put up" (and would similarly find nothing objectionable about "Come in!"). That is still a little unnatural for most speakers, but doesn't sound quite as ridiculous.
"Deferred prepositions are one thing up with which I will not put!" :)
to put up with = 3 part PV.
up = adverbial particle
with = dependent prep
to put up is another PV