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Non-finite clauses with subjects Options
You know who I am
Posted: Monday, March 20, 2017 4:57:04 PM

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Hey guys.

I have a question regarding non-finite clauses: In this sentence: I want to do it. To do it is a to-infinitive phrase acting as a noun phrase which is the direct object of the verb "want". Fine. So, I will consider "To do it" to be a non-finite clause, which, in fact, is.

Non-finite clauses lack subjects, but they can have a subject, so: I want you to do it. You to do it is a non-finite clause acting as a direct object of the verb want, right?

Furthermore, if my presumption is right (which seems so), since to-infinitive phrases are non-finite clauses, and also can be nouns, which can act as subject of the sentence, then a to-infinitive phrase such as this: You to do it is what I want is right, right?

Non-finite clauses are infinitives, gerunds and participles; infinitive phrases can act as nouns, so theorically, my example would be right, correct?

I am the way, and the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through Me. - John 14:6
Audiendus
Posted: Monday, March 20, 2017 9:10:00 PM
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Location: London, England, United Kingdom
You know who I am wrote:
Furthermore, if my presumption is right (which seems so), since to-infinitive phrases are non-finite clauses, and also can be nouns, which can act as subject of the sentence, then a to-infinitive phrase such as this: You to do it is what I want is right, right?

I cannot comment on the analysis of non-finite clauses, because in the traditional grammar I learned, all clauses are finite. However, "You to do it is what I want" does not sound right to me. When we have a to-infinitive preceded by its subject, we normally add "for" before the subject:

For you to do it is what I want.
For the two of them to agree would be amazing.
The best thing would be for both of the other teams to lose.

Note that "for" in the above examples does not relate only to the following (pro)noun or noun-phrase, but to the following infinitive as well. The underlined phrase is the subject of the whole sentence in the first two examples, and the subject complement in the third.

The for+subject+infinitive construction has a rather informal feel, however. In formal writing, it is better to recast the sentence, e.g:

I want you to do it or You are the one I want to do it.
It would be amazing if the two of them were to agree.
The best thing would be defeat for both of the other teams.
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Tuesday, March 21, 2017 6:28:27 AM

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Location: Livingston, Scotland, United Kingdom
Hello again.

Your first statement was correct.

Quote:
In this sentence: I want to do it. To do it is a to-infinitive phrase acting as a noun phrase which is the direct object of the verb "want".

A phrase is not a clause if it does not have a subject and a predicate including a finite verb.

There are no non-finite clauses, no matter what some grammar book says.
The definition of 'clause' includes the phrase 'including a finite verb'.

"to do it" is an infinitive phrase.


Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
tunaafi
Posted: Tuesday, March 21, 2017 7:00:18 AM

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Drag0nspeaker wrote:

There are no non-finite clauses, no matter what some grammar book says.


Whether we like it or not, many grammarians today do speak of non-finite clauses.
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