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Objective-with-the-Infinitive Construction

A. The ‘Objective-with-the-infinitive’ construction functions as one member of
a sentence – complex object. The infinitive is used after a number of
transitive verbs in any active tense form followed by an object which is
expressed by a noun or a pronoun in the objective case:

He expects

He expected us to come on Sunday.

He will expect

It can be also used after the infinitive, participle or gerund:

You can’t ask them to finish the work so soon.

Asking them to finish the work so soon, …

There is no reason for asking them to finish …

The infinitive used in this structure can be active or passive:

He asked the window to be left open.


B. The ‘Objective-with-the-infinitive’ construction is used:

1. after verbs expressing desire – like (=think wise or right), would like,
hate, prefer, want, wish.

I’d like him to be invited to the party.

I like people to tell the truth.



2. after verbs of sense perception – see, watch, observe, notice, hear, feel
and the verbs –let, make, have (= get, make). The infinitive after these
verbs is used without to:

She lets her children stay up very late.

Did you feel the earth shake?

The ‘Objective-with-the-infinitive’ construction is not used after verbs to
hear and to see if they have another meaning – to hear = to know, to
learn, and to see = to notice, to understand. In this case an object clause
should be used:

I heard that he had returned home.

I see that you have made some progress in English.


3. after verbs of knowing and thinking – assume, believe, consider, expect,
find (=consider), feel
(=understand), know, mean, suppose, think,

Verbs of this group can be followed by object + to be:

I knew them to be right.

I consider him to be the best candidate.

I find him to be a very clever man. (to be can be omitted after the
verbs to consider and to find)

But it is much more common to use that + an ordinary clause:

I consider that he is the best candidate.

When, however, these verbs are used in the passive they are more often
followed by an infinitive than by the that construction:

He is known to be honest. (Such construction is called ‘Nomina-
tive with the infinitive’; see 104)


4. after verbs expressing order, request and permission – allow, ask for,
beg, cause, command, encourage, forbid
(usually in the passive), force,
oblige, order, permit, persuade, recommend, request, tell.

She encouraged me to try again.

She was forbidden to leave the house.

Nothing would force me to do business with them.


5. after a few verbs taking a prepositional object – appeal to, call for,
listen to, long for, look for, nod to, rely on, wait for, watch for.
these verbs the infinitive is used with to except for the verb listen to
which takes an infinitive without to:

He nodded to the mechanic to remove the engine.

They appealed to him to give up the project.
Her whole life had been spent listening to other people talk.


Date: 2015-12-11; view: 1239

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