How is the infinitive functioning in this sentence?

donnach

Member
Joined
Feb 2, 2008
Member Type
Other
Native Language
English
Home Country
United States
Current Location
United States
Insights into the brains of paralyzed patients are helping to drive the technology as well as leading to new discoveries.

I think
"to drive the technology" is an infinitive + object functioning as an adverb.

I think this is so because the infinitive phrase answers the question, "In what way are insights helping?"

OR

Is
"to drive the technology" functioning as an object?



Am I wrong? Am I right?

Let me know.

Thanks!

P.S. I have no idea why the formatting is so wacky. Sorry for the minuscule print!

 
Last edited:

probus

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jan 7, 2011
Member Type
Retired English Teacher
Native Language
English
Home Country
Canada
Current Location
Canada
I think that "to drive the technology" is a noun phrase. Ditto for "leading to new discoveries." I don't know enough about modern Universal Grammar to specify the function of the infinitives.

BTW for me your type is huge rather than miniscule.
 

Charlie Bernstein

VIP Member
Joined
Jan 28, 2009
Member Type
Other
Native Language
English
Home Country
United States
Current Location
United States
I don't see how "the technology" can be an adverb. An adverb doesn't answer the question Drive what? An adverb would describe how the technology is driven: slowly, dependably, erratically, fast, whatever. There is no adverb in that phrase.

So Probus's suggestion that there are two noun phrases makes more sense to me.
 

ronao

Junior Member
Joined
Jul 3, 2015
Member Type
Interested in Language
Native Language
Spanish
Home Country
Argentina
Current Location
Argentina
-I'm not a teacher-

I think to drive the technology is an infinitive phrase/adverbial adjunct of purpose, being the technology the direct object of 'drive' and a noun phrase.
May this be correct?
 
Last edited:

TheParser

VIP Member
Joined
Dec 8, 2009
Member Type
Other
Native Language
English
Home Country
United States
Current Location
United States
***** NOT A TEACHER *****


My teachers told me to simplify a sentence in order to analyze it (that is, delete all unnecessary words).

Let's work on "Insights are helping to drive the technology."

It seems to me:

Insights = subject.
are helping = verbal phrase.
to drive the technology = infinitive phrase that is the direct object.


Question: What are insights helping to do?

Answer: To drive the technology.

*****

Here is a sentence from one of my favorite books: "He helped (to) pay my expenses." [After "help," the "to" is optional.]

The book says that "(to) pay my expenses" is the direct object of the verb "helped."

Source: House and Harman, Descriptive English Grammar (copyright 1931 and 1950).
 

tkacka15

Member
Joined
Aug 22, 2015
Member Type
Interested in Language
Native Language
Polish
Home Country
Poland
Current Location
Poland
I've found an alternative analysis of catenative constructions such as "helping to drive".

In "English Grammar for Today - A New Introduction" by Geoffrey Leech, Margaret Deuchar and Robert Hoogenraad the authors suggest relaxing "the 'one-clause-one predicator rule', and to allow a single clause to contain more than one predicator, of which only the first can be finite" (p.124). Further, they give examples of that analysis with such sentences:

"Mary wants to go" [S, P, Pi]

"Mary wants me to go" [S, P, O, Pi]" where S stand for subject, P for a finite predicator, O for an object and Pi for the infinitive predicator.
 

MikeNewYork

VIP Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2002
Member Type
Academic
Native Language
American English
Home Country
United States
Current Location
United States
I prefer the traditional view.

Mary wants to go. [subject, verb, (infinitive) direct object.
Mary wants me to go. [subject, verb, indirect object, (infinitive) direct object.
 

ronao

Junior Member
Joined
Jul 3, 2015
Member Type
Interested in Language
Native Language
Spanish
Home Country
Argentina
Current Location
Argentina
***** NOT A TEACHER *****


My teachers told me to simplify a sentence in order to analyze it (that is, delete all unnecessary words).

Let's work on "Insights are helping to drive the technology."

It seems to me:

Insights = subject.
are helping = verbal phrase.
to drive the technology = infinitive phrase that is the direct object.


Question: What are insights helping to do?

Answer: To drive the technology.

*****

Here is a sentence from one of my favorite books: "He helped (to) pay my expenses." [After "help," the "to" is optional.]

The book says that "(to) pay my expenses" is the direct object of the verb "helped."

Source: House and Harman, Descriptive English Grammar (copyright 1931 and 1950).

****** NOT A TEACHER *******

I agree with you, TheParser. 'To drive the technology is de direct object of helping and within 'to drive the technology' 'the technology' is the direct object of 'drive'.
 
Top