He saw her there alone yesterday.

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He saw her there alone yesterday.

He wanted to see her therealone yesterday.

He told me about seeing her there aloneyesterday.

If a verb requires a prepositional object, the preposition is re-
tained by the verbal when the object happens to be separated from it.

e.g. We've got a lot to talk about.

I'm not accustomed to being spoken to in that way.

Yet there is a difference between the two verbals and the finite
forms. With finite forms, the secondary parts of the sentence usu-
ally follow the predicate, but they may also have front position.

e.g. That year winter set in early.

To relieve my feeling, I wrote a letter to Robert.

With the infinitive and the ing-form, the secondary parts are
always found in post-position. The verbals may be preceded only by
certain adverbs. Yet even instances of this are infrequent,
e.g. Critically to examine newcomers was one of the amusements

at the boarding house.

My father was the coach of our swimming team, though his
poor health prevented him from ever going into the water.
With finite forms, the negatives not and never normally ei-
ther follow them or are placed within analytical forms of various
kinds of compound predicates.

e.g. He was not there.
He has not done it.
He should not do it.
He did not seem tired.

With verbals, the negatives not and never always precede
them, even if they are analytical forms.
e.g. I had learned a long time ago not to show what I felt.

He went on drinking his coffee, not saying anything more.
She knew that he had gone never to return.
I have kept him out of your life: keep him now out of mine
by never mentioning him again.

§ 171. In addition to the above described features which the
infinitive and the ing-form have in common, each of the two ver-
bals possesses peculiarities of its own.

The infinitive is generally preceded by the particle to, but. in
certain functions it is used without it, and in still other functions
the use of the particle is optional. The use or the absence of the


particle will be considered in connection with each of the func-
tions of the infinitive.

Note. The infinitive and the particle to may be separated from each other by
the insertion of an adverb between them, such as never, ever, fully, really, even.
This is called a split infinitive.

e.g. She was the first person to ever understand me, Frank.

I'm sorry, I made a mistake. It was a mistake to even try to help you.

However, split infinitives are very rarely found in English.

If there are two or more infinitives in the same function fol-
lowing each other, the particle to is usually used before the first
one and need not be repeated before the others.

e.g. Amy admired Lilian because she could do a lot of things —
she was said, for instance, to dance and skate very well.

Sometimes, however, the particle to is repeated for emphasis,
to make the action of each infinitive more prominent.

e.g. The hero, when the heroine hurts his feelings, is said to feel
for a moment a wild desire of the caveman, the longing to
seize her, to drag her with him, to give her a good beating.

The infinitive may sometimes be represented by the particle to
alone. This happens when the infinitive is easily supplied from the
previous context.

e.g. Joe said, "I don't think we are going to catch any fish."

"I never expect to," said Lizzy.

She would have listened if I had called her attention to it but
I had already decided not to.

Another peculiarity of the infinitive is that it may be used as
part of a phrase introduced by the conjunctive pronouns or ad-
verbs what, who, whom, which, when, where, whether, how and
how long. As most of them begin with wh-, this kind of infinitive
group may be called the wh-phrase ['dablju eic freiz].

e.g- I didn't know what to say.

I couldn't decide whether to speak or not.

§ 172. The ing-form, in its turn, has peculiarities of its own.
unliке the infinitive, it may, in certain functions, be preceded by
a preposition.

e.g. For anybody as clever as you are, you're not really good at

He told me that we were about to be turned out of our flat

for not payingthe rent.

The ing-form has another peculiarity: it may lose its verbal
character and become adjectivized. In this case the ing-form be-
comes devoid of the idea of action and sometimes its lexical mean-
ing is changed as compared with the meaning of the corresponding

e.g. They found his ideas very upsetting.

His erect, rather forbiddingfigure made him look old-fashi-

In the second example forbidding means 'суровый, неприступ-
ный'; it differs from the meaning of the verb to forbid ('запре-

Adjectivized ing-forms, like real adjectives, may be preceded
by adverbs of degree, such as very, rather, most, quite., how, so,
so ... as, etc.

e.g. She is always so amusing.

The results which he obtained proved to be moat striking.

Note 1. There are a number of ing-forms of this kind that are used only as ad-
jectives in present-day English,
e.g. interesting, charming, dashing, etc.

Note 2. In English there are a considerable number of nouns in -ing. They may
denote concrete things (e.g. landing 'лестничная площадка') or abstract notions,
including actions (e.g. beginning 'начало', singing 'пение, reading 'чтение').
These nouns lack the above described properties of the ing-form and, like any other
noun, may be associated with the article, definite or indefinite, with pronouns,
such as some, any, a lot of, etc, or may be modified by adjectives.

e.g. The drums were silent: the singing stopped.

"My wife had once a vegetarian bulldog," said Mr Smith with pride. "Of course.

it took some training."
I admired the dancer and asked if she ever did any real Indian dancing.

"I do a lot of travelling," he said.

She had an attack of violent sobbing.

Nouns in -ing denoting actions are called verbal nouns. They should not be
confused with the ing form proper even when they denote actions (e.g. reading
writing, walking,

The Participle

§ 173.Although the participle has the same lexical meaning as
the corresponding verb, it differs considerably from the finite
forms as well as from the infinitive and the ing-form.

As the participle has only one form (see "Verbs", § 5 and Ap-
pendix), it does not possess any of the grammatical categories of
the infinitive and the ing-form. Nevertheless, this form has its
own grammatical meaning.

The grammatical meaning of the participle is closely connected
with the lexical character of the verb.

The participle is, in the main, formed from transitive verbs
and has passive meaning.

e.g. He had suits, and coats, and shirts madeto order.

Itwas a question put downby one of the correspondents.

When the participle is formed from transitive terminative
verbs, it denotes a state resulting from a previously accomplished
action. This resultant state is simultaneous with the action ex-
pressed by the predicate verb.

e.g. On arriving at the small building on the top of the mountain,

she found it locked.
Alfred, leftalone, stoodmotionless for some minutes.

A participle formed from a transitive durative verb denotes an
action; it is simultaneous with the action expressed by the predi-
cate verb.

e.g. Tom was the happy husband, adoring and adored,

At last the Colonel, accompaniedby his two daughters, made
his appearance in the park.

The number of participles formed from intransitive verbs is
very limited. They have active meaning and usually denote an ac-
tion preceding that of the predicate verb.

e-g.She sat downon a fallentree to have a short rest.

The house was madeof unpainted plank, gone grey now.

Sometimes the participle is formed from an intransitive mean-
ing of a polysemantic verb.

e.g.. His face was like a withered apple.
She looked at the faded photograph.

§ 174.Like the finite forms and the other two verbals, the
participle is always associated with a subject. But the means of
expressing its subject are more limited than those of expressing
the subject of the infinitive and the ing form.

The subject of the participle may be the person or thing denot-
ed by the subject (a) or the object (b) of the sentence. It may also
be expressed by the noun the participle modifies (c).

e.g. a) Suddenly touched, shecame over to the side of herfa-
ther's chair and kissed him.

b) He heard his name called.

c) A large fat man with a face shavedas smooth as marble

stood in the doorway.

As the participle is, as a rule, formed from transitive verbs
and has passive meaning, it mostly has a passive subject. But its
active subject, the doer of the action, may also be indicated in the
sentence with the help of a by-phrase.

e.g. I looked at the ceiling, painted by some 18th century artist

now forgotten.

§ 175.The participle can be used only as a notional verb (see
the examples above and below); it never serves as a structural
word. In this respect it also differs from the finite forms and the
two other verbals.

But, like the infinitive and theing-form, the participle is widely
used as second (or third) component of analytical forms (e.g. The
letter is written. Hehas doneit. The matter has been investigated.)

§ 176.The syntactic functions of the participle in the sentence
are more restricted than those of the other two verbals. It mainly
performs the functions of the adjective.

e.g. One day he landed in Santa Domingo in tornand dusty clothes.
He stood amazedat the door of the shop.

§ 177.The participle, like the other two verbals, is, in some of
its functions, lexically and structurally dependent. For example
its use is required by the verb to have in the following pattern.

e.g. You'll never guess where I had the suit made.

The functions of the participle will be dealt with in detail below.

§ 178.The participle, like the finite forms and the two other
verbals, can be modified by secondary parts of the sentence. But
the number of those modifiers is restricted and the participle
phrase is never very extended. The secondary parts that modify
the participle usually denote the place (a), or the time (b), or the
doer of the action (c). They always follow the participle.

e.g. a) I had my suitcase put in the corner ofa third-class carriage.
b) She told me of the parcel delivered in the morning.

c) They let him know of the decision taken by the committee.
The negative not is always placed before the participle.
e.g. Margaret, notconvinced, was still arguing about it.

If the verb requires a prepositional object, the preposition is
retained by the participle when the object happens to be separated
from it.

e.g. He never uttered a word unless spoken to.

The blood in his cut seemed very dark. "You ought to have it
looked at," Isaid.

§179.The participle often becomes adjectivized. (Adjectiviza-
tion is even more typical of the participle than of the ing-form.)
It becomes devoid of the idea of action and sometimes its lexical
meaning is changed as compared with the meaning of the corre-
sponding verb (see the second and third examples below)-

e.g. On the surface my life was variedand exciting; but beneath
it was narrow.

He was an elegant gentleman though given to talking in a
gruff voice (= склонный, имеющий обыкновение).

The streets, deserted now, looked frightening (= пустые, без-

The adjectivized participle may be preceded, like a real adjec-
tive, by adverbs of degree.

e.g. Is Mrs White really very excited?

Suddenly, looking rather alarmed,she rushed out of the room.
The road was as desertedas ever.

Note 1. Some participles are used only as adjectives in present-day English,
e.g. tired, interested, accustomed and others.

Note 2. There are a number of adjectives ending in -ed which are homonymous
to participles. They are actually adjectives formed from nouns, e.g. stockinged
legs, propertied classes, a bearded face, a gifted person, a talented musician,

Adjectives built up on this pattern mean 'having stockings, having property,
having a beard', etc.

§ 180.The use of all the three verbals is characterized by one
more peculiarity: the frequency of their occurrence varies greatly
in different functions. In some functions their use is extensive, in
other functions it is infrequent. At the same time, some of their
functions are found only in literary style.

In describing the various functions of the verbals, special
mention will be made of their frequency of occurrence and stylis-
tic restrictions.

The Use of the Infinitive
The Infinitive as Subject

§ 181. Inthis function the infinitive is always used with the
particle to and usually expresses an action following the action
denoted by the predicate verb.

e.g. To fulfilthis condition was hopelessly out of my power.
To visither was all that I desired.

The infinitive as subject may also express actions which are si-
multaneous with the action of the predicate verb,
e.g. To visither isalways a pleasure.

The infinitive often acquires the additional modal meaning of
condition in this function. This meaning is generally supported by
the use of the Conditional Mood in the sentence,
e.g. To takemoney from him would be like robbing a child (=if

you took money from him...).

To takehim seriously would be absurd (= if you took him se-

For the means of expressing the subject of the action denoted
by the infinitive see "Verbs", § 166.

Sentences with the infinitive as subject have certain structural

a) The infinitive as subject may be used only in declarative sen-
tences; it is never used in interrogative sentences.

b) The infinitive is always placed at the head of the sentence; it
is never preceded by any secondary parts.

c) We generally find the nominal predicate in sentences of this
kind. The predicative is usually expressed by a noun or an adjec-
tive, qualifying the action denoted by the infinitive.

e.g. Togo with him to picture galleries was a rare treat.
To do
it seemed a proper and natural thing.
Not to go back
was awful.

Sometimes another infinitive is used as predicative,
e.g. To influencea person is to give him one's thoughts.

The use of the infinitive as subject is mainly found in literary
English but even there it is infrequent.

(For comparison with the ing-form see §§ 209 and 235.)

The Infinitiveas Predicative

§ 182.The infinitive is generally preceded by the particle to in
this function and in most cases expresses an action which follows
that of the link-verb.

The link-verb in sentences with the infinitive as predicative is
always to be.

e.g. His highest ambition was to writea monumental work on art.
The job of a reporter is toexpose and record.
His greatest wish was to tellher everything.
The only sensible thing is for you togo away.

The infinitive in this function always has appositive meaning,
i.e- it explains the meaning of the subject of the sentence. Hence,
sentences of this kind have the following structural peculiarity —
the subject of the sentence can be expressed only by a limited
number of nouns. They are nouns denoting abstract notions which

admit of and sometimes even require an explanation of their
meaning. The most commonly occurring of these nouns are: act,
action, advice, aim, ambition, answer, business, consequence, cus-
tom, desire, difficulty, duty, function, habit, hope, idea, instruc-
tion, intention, job, method, need, object
(=aim), order, plan, poli
cy, problem, purpose, reason, requirement, role, rule, task, thing
(usually with an attribute), thought, way, wish, work and some
others (see the examples above).

The subject of the sentence may also be expressed by all (and
occasionally by the least and the most) modified by an attributive
clause which usually contains the verb to do.

e.g. All I want to do is to helpyou.

The least we can do is to tryand understandtheir idea.
The most he could do at the moment was to giveme a cigarette.
After this type of subject the infinitive may be used without to.

e.g. All I wanted to do was runaway.

All we can do is stickto our decision.

Sentences with the subject expressed by all, the least and the
cannot be used in the interrogative form.

For the means of expressing the subject of the action denoted
by the infinitive see "Verbs", § 166.

The infinitive as predicative, unlike the infinitive as subject,
is found not only in literary style but also in spoken English.

(For comparison with the ing-form see §§ 210and 236.)

The Infinitive as Predicate
§ 183.The use of the infinitive as predicate is restricted to the

following sentence patterns:

1) Interrogative (affirmative and negative) sentences begin'
ning with why and implying a suggestion. We always find an in-
without to here.

In interrogative-affirmative sentences the implication is that

there is no need to perform the action,
e.g. Why loseyour temper over a little thing like that?
Why waste your time on this kind of work?

In interrogative-negative sentences the implication is that
there is nothing to prevent one from performing the action.

e.g. Why not gothere right away?

Why not apologizeif you know you're wrong?

The subject of the infinitive in this kind of sentences is always
the person (or the persons) engaged in the conversation.

2) Exclamatory sentences showing that the person denoted by
the subject is unlikely to perform the action of the infinitive —
the speaker rejects the idea as impossible. The infinitive may be
used with or without to.

e.g. You — a man-of-the-world — to suggestthis! You know it's


"Try to write," she said, "you're expressive, you can say what
you want; why not try to be a writer?" I couldn't keep
from laughing at that. It was so absurd. Me — write!"No,"
Isaid with a laugh.

Such sentences are emotionally coloured and found only in
spoken English, but they are infrequent.

(For comparison with the ing-form see § 211.)

The Infinitive as Part of a Compound
Verbal Predicate

§ 184.The infinitive is lexically dependent in this function —
it is used only after certain verbs: a) after modal verbs (this use
has been described in detail in "Verbs", § 76-120) and b) after the
following intransitive verbs: to seem, to appear, to turn out, to
Prove, to happen, to chance.

e-g- He seemed to knowall about it.

I'm quite aware how improbable that sounds but it happens

to bethe truth.
He turned out to haveno feeling whatsoever for his nephew.

These verbs may be followed by different analytical forms of
the infinitive with to.

e.g. For a moment she appeared to be hesitating.
He seemed to have gainedall he wanted.

The letter seems to have been mislaid.

In that same week I happened to have been enquiring whether
all the invitations had been sent out.

As is seen from the above examples, the Perfect infinitive ex-
presses an action which precedes the action indicated by the finite
verb, while the Continuous infinitive expresses an action simulta-
neous with it.

The subject of the infinitive in this function is the same as the
subject of the sentence (see the examples above). (For comparison
with the ing-form see § 212.)

The Infinitive as a Second Action Accompanying the Action
of the Predicate Verb

§ 185. The infinitive may express a second action in the sen-
tence, accompanying the action of the predicate verb. The subject
of the infinitive is the same as that of the predicate verb. This sec-
ond action follows the action expressed by the predicate verb and
may be called a subsequent action. Hence the term the infinitive of

subsequent action.

The infinitive of subsequent action always follows the predicate

and is used with the particle to.

The most commonly occurring verbs followed by this kind of
infinitive are those of motion such as to come, to hurry, to reach,
to return, to run, to rush, to turn, to walk
and their synonyms as
well as the verbs to look or to glance (followed by up, down,
across, about, round, toward,
etc.), to wake up, to awake, to be


The infinitive of subsequent action itself may also be ex-
pressed by a wide range of verbs of different lexical character,
but by far the most frequently occurring verbs are to discover, to
find, to hear, to see
and their synonyms.

e.g. He turned to find her sad, calm eyes upon him. (= and found)
He returned ten minutes later to find Bridget ready for de-
parture. (= and found)

I looked across to see Mr Jesmond smiling at me. (= and saw}
One night he awakened to hear a light rain whispering in the
garden. (= and heard)



Then the sun came out again to brighten the last spatter of
rain. (=and brightened)
As a rule, the action of the infinitive instantly follows that of
the predicate verb, as in all the examples above. Sometimes, how-
ever, this immediate succession of actions is expressed in the sen-
tence by means of special indications, such as in time, or just in
time, the next moment
and the like.

e.g. Alice arrived in time to hear Tom's remark.

Etta then shot out of the room just in time to shut the door
behind her before she exploded into incontrollable shrieks
of laughter.

If the action of the infinitive does not follow that of the predicate verb directly, there are usually special indications of time in
he sentence.

e.g. I know of quite a few people who always start a new life on
the 1st of January only to slip back to the old one on the

He walked out one morning without a word to anyone, to be
heard of some time afterwards in Australia.

The infinitive of subsequent action is sometimes preceded by
only. In this case the combination of the predicate verb and the
infinitive usually acquires the following meaning: the action of
the predicate verb becomes pointless and its effect is, as it were,
brought to naught by the action expressed by the infinitive.

e.g. The motor started again, only to stop again in a moment.
He took off the receiver only to replace it.

The infinitive of subsequent action may be preceded by never to
show that the action of the infinitive is not destined to take place.

e-g. She knew that he had gone never to return.

Young Hardcastle, when he attained the age of fifteen, had
disappeared from his home never to be heard of again.

The infinitive of subsequent action is not in common use in
English; it is mainly restricted to literary style.
(For comparison with the ing-form see § 213.)

The Infinitive as Object

§ 186.The infinitive may be used as an object of a verb. It is
lexically dependent in this function. We find it after the following
verbs: to agree, to arrange, to ask (=to request), to attempt, to be-
gin, to care
(=to like), to cease, to choose (=to prefer), to claim,
to come
(=to begin), to consent, to continue, to decide, to deserve,
to determine, to expect, to fail, to fear, to forget, to go on, to
hate, to help, to hesitate, to hope, to intend, to learn, to like, to
long, to love, to manage, to mean, to need, to neglect, to offer, to
omit, to plan, to prefer, to pretend, to promise, to propose
(=to in-
tend), to refuse, to regret, to remember, to start, to swear, to
tend, to threaten, to try, to want, to wish
and some others.

e.g. They had arranged to visitthe laboratory the next day.
Margaret continued to visit Jack in hospital.
I came to knowhim well towards the end of the war.
Do you mean to sayhe actually approves of it?
He did not propose to forgivethis time.
He did not want to be leftalone.
I pretended not to be listening.
She claims to have readhis diary.

In addition to the verbs mentioned above, the infinitive as an
object is used after the modal phrases can afford and can bear in
their negative and interrogative forms,
e.g. Some say we cannot afford to doit. I say, we cannot afford

notto doit.

Can you afford to goon such an expensive trip?
I couldn't bear to damagehim.

The infinitive is also used after the set phrases to make up
one's mind, to take care, to take the trouble, to make sure,
some others.

e.g. I took care to askStrickland nothing about his own doings.
The next day he made sure to buya copy of the newspaper.
With all the verbs mentioned above the infinitive is used with
the particle to (see the examples above). The only exception is the
verb to help which may be followed by an infinitive with or with
out to.

e.g. Helen will help to make tea.

I'm sure you will help talkher out of it.

The subject of the infinitive in this function is the same as
that of the predicate verb (see the examples above).

(For comparison with the ing-form see §§ 214 and 237.)

§ 187.The infinitive may also be used as an object of an adjec-
tive. It is lexically dependent in this case. It is used after various
kinds of adjectives: adjectives proper, predicative adjectives and
adjectivized participles. The most commonly occurring of them
are: (un)able, afraid, aghast, amused, annoyed, anxious, apt,
ashamed, astonished, bound, careful, certain, content, crazy, curi-
ous, delighted, determined, difficult, disposed, distressed, due, ea-
ger, easy, entitled, fit, fortunate, free, frightened, furious, glad,
grateful, good, happy, hard, helpless, horrified, impatient, inclined,
interested, keen, liable, (un)likely, lucky, moved, obliged, pleased,
(im)possible, powerless, prepared, proud, puzzled, quick, ready, re-
lieved, reluctant, resolved, right, safe, scared, set {=
slow, sorry, sufficient, sure, surprised, thankful, touched, useless,
(un)willing, (un)wise, wonderful, worthy, wrong,

e.g. He's still very anxious to see you.
I am curious to knowthe news.
He would be crazy notto doso.
I felt reluctant to go out.
His next book is sure to be worthless.
Dinner was ready to be served.

The subject is now not likely to be raised during the talks.
I am sorry to have doneyou harm.

The infinitive is always preceded by to in this function.

Adjectives having infinitives as objects are generally used in
the function of a predicative after the link-verb to be (see the ex-
amples above). Other link-verbs are also possible, though they are


e.g.- He seemed glad to have me there.

I found them getting ready to go out.

In a vast majority of cases the subject of the infinitive is the
person or thing denoted by the subject of the sentence (see the ex-

amples above). However, when the infinitive follows the adjec-
tives difficult, easy, good, hard, wonderful, the subject of the sen-
tence becomes the object of the action expressed by the infinitive.

e.g. Their language was not difficult to understand.

She was not easy to discourage.

I was angry because he was so hard to persuade.

The apples were good to eat.

Occasionally a for-phrase is used to indicate the subject of the
e.g. He was impatient for me to meetthem.

He was eager for me to starton my new job.

Iam prepared for everyone toaccuse me of being foolish.

(For comparison with the ing-form see §§ 215, 217and 238.)

§ 188.The infinitive as object may be part of a phrase intro-
duced by the conjunction whether or one of the following conjunc-
tive pronouns or adverbs: what, who, whom, which, when, where,
and how long.

e.g. I did not at all know what tosay.
Idon't know whoelse to ask.
Neither of us knew when to begin.
He had come away, not knowing where to turnor what to do.

As most of the conjunctive words begin with wh-, this kind of
infinitive group may be called the wh-phrase.The infinitive in the
phrase is always preceded by to.

As is seen from the above examples, the wh-phrase serves as
an object of a verb. It usually occurs after the verb to know (see
the examples above). Yet it may also follow some other verbs and
set phrases, e.g. to advise, to decide, to make up one's mind, to
wonder and some others.

e.g. He could not decide whether to speak or not.

Icouldn't make up my mind whether to acceptthe offer.
stood wondering how to stopthe fight.

I'll ask my travel agent. He advises me what to buyand
where togo.

As is known, infinitives generally do not serve as prepo-
sitional objects. However, the wh-phrase is occasionally found as
a prepositional object of a verb or a set phrase.

e.g. As we talked of where to meet, Inoticed something unusual

in his tone.
Whether he had changed his mind about what to say Idid

not know.
She gave us orders about how long to staythere.

In most cases the subject of the infinitive in this function is
the same as that of the predicate verb; occasionally it is expressed
by some secondary part of the sentence (see the examples above).

Although the wh-phrase is not in frequent use, it is not re-
stricted stylistically.

Note. The wh-phrase may, in theory, have all the functions of the infinitive in
the sentence. But actually it mainly occurs as an object to the verb to know. Here,
however, are some examples of the wh-phrase in other functions:

e.g. a) as an object to an adjective: No one seemed sure how to act.

b) as a predicative: The main problem is, of course, where to go.

c) as an attribute: I don't remember that I ever received any instruction on

how to putsentences together.

§ 189.The infinitive may serve as object in a special sentence
pattern with a formal it as subject. It is lexically dependent here
as it follows quite definite verbs.

The most commonly occurring verbs after which the infinitive
is used in this function are: to amaze, to annoy, to cause, to com-
fort, to delight, to distress, to enrage, to excite, to frighten, to
hurt, to interest, to irritate, to mean, to occur, to please, to puz-
zle, to shock, to soothe, to startle, to stir, to surprise, to trouble,
to upset, to worry
and some others.

The verbs in this sentence pattern are usually followed by
some other objects (direct, indirect or prepositional) which pre-
cede the infinitive.

e-g. In those days my experience of life at first hand was small,
and it excited me to comeupon an incident.

It did not annoy him to livealways in the same shabby room.

It pleased her particularly tosee how often the other chil-
dren asked her son how they should play.

It never occurred to him to pretendthat he had no influence

on events.

Besides, there are a number of set phrases which are in com
mon use and are treated as verb equivalents. They are all differ-
ent in structure and in meaning. But since they have the function
of the predicate in the sentence they are best to be classed as verb
equivalents and treated here.

e.g. It does me good to watchher playing with the other children.
It couldn't do any harm to takeher out of town.
It will take a long time to talkover the whole of it with you.
It took several days for her tofully realizeit.
A porter's voice informed them that it was time to boardthe


One morning it was his turn to cookbreakfast.
Mr Brooke said it was up to the girl to decidewhether or not

toaccept the invitation.

The infinitive is always preceded by to in this function.
The subject of the infinitive in most cases is the person denot-
ed by the noun (or pronoun) object following the verb.

e.g. It would interest him to hearabout it.
It didn't occur to me to askhim about it.
(For comparison with the ing-form see §§ 218 and 239.)

§ 190.In a sentence pattern with it as a formal subject, the in-
finitive (with the particle to) as object is also found after a con-
siderable number of adjectives, adjectivized participles and ing-
forms. The most commonly occurring of them are: absurd, advisable.
amazing, astonishing, awful, awkward, bad, careless, characteristic,
charming, complicated, convenient, correct, cruel, curious, custom-
ary, dangerous, decent, delightful, desirable, difficult, dull, easy,
embarrassing, enough, essential, fair, fine, foolish, funny, futile
good, hard, helpful, (dis)honourable, horrid, important, insulting
interesting, intolerable, jolly, (un)just, kind, late, marvellous-
monstrous, naive, (un)natural, (un)necessary, nice, normal, odd-
pleasant, (im)possible, preposterous, proper, queer, (un)reasonable
remarkable, ridiculous, right, sad, safe, satisfying, sensible, shock

ing, silly, splendid, strange, stupid, sufficient, suitable, surprising,
sweet, terrible, typical, unbearable, useful, useless, vital, wicked,
(un)wise, wonderful, wrong,

e.g. It's a little late to admitit, Iknow.

It was surprising to hearhow strong his voice sounded.

It's stupid to fallasleep like this, it gives you a headache.

It's wrong to hurtpeople.

It was unwise to berude to David.

It's unusual to meeta shy girl nowadays.

It's important to rememberthe figures.

Note. It should be mentioned that it is worth while is normally followed by an
infinitive object whereas it is worth is modified by an ing-form object (see "Verbs",

e.g. It might be worth while to mentionthat there is a train soon after 5.

Do you think it would be worth while to open a shop somewhere else in the

The subject of the infinitive in this sentence pattern is usually
associated with every or any person or an indefinite number of
unidentified persons (see the examples above). Yet it is not un-
usual for the infinitive object in this sentence pattern to have a
subject of its own. In this case the infinitive far-phrase is used.

e.g. It was rare for him togo outto dinner.

It's very good for them tohave an older man with plenty of
experience to come to for advice.

"Of course," said Mont, "it's natural for young men to bein-
terested in politics."

It was necessary for her to earnher living as quickly as she

The peculiar feature of this sentence pattern is that the infini-
and its subject can be introduced by the preposition of.

e.g. "It's kind ofyou to come,"she said.
It was inconsiderate of her to askthat.

He thought it was wrong of him togo offforever and leave
his mother all on her own.

(For comparison with the ing-form see §§ 219 and 239.)

§ 191.The infinitive as object of an adjective is sometimes
found in a sentence pattern with it as a formal object of some
verbs. They are commonly the verbs to feel, to find, to make and to

e.g. I find it difficult to believethat anyone can be that lazy.

Yet I found it necessary to tellhim that I had been in touch

with Mont.

I had thought it impolite to smokea cigar in her presence.
He felt it natural to accepthospitality.
His anger made it impossible for us to continuethe conversation.

For the means of expressing the subject of the action denoted
by the infinitive see "Verbs", § 166. (For comparison with the ing
form see §§219 and 220.)

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