laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Tue Oct 31 08:39:29 UTC 2000
At 4:19 PM -0500 10/31/00, Douglas G. Wilson wrote:
>>>... as others will undoubtedly note, split infinitives are
>>>perfectly acceptable, another 18th c. prescriptivism surviving too
>>>long. In "would change", by the way, "change" is an infinitive.
>>>Modals take unmarked infinitives. The "to" is not what makes a
>>>form an infinitive. It's just one way of marking that status. ...
>>Well, that's really a question of definition. ...
>The Merriam-Webster English usage dictionary says (in an extended discussion):
>"... _to_ is only an appurtenance of the infinitive, which is the
>uninflected form of the verb. In many constructions the infinitive is used
So according to this practice, the subjunctives in "I demand that he
leave" or "If it be treason" are really infinitives? And when
first-year syntax students learn than modals don't govern the
infinitive (*He could to leave") they're being misinformed? It's
certainly not standard practice in linguistics courses and texts to
take the uninflected but to-less form of a verb following a modal or
in the "that" complement of a verb like "demand" or "require" to
constitute an infinitive. (Another case is "She made me (*to) do
it".) Base form/bare verb form (maybe even "infinitive stem") si,
infinitive no. Of course, this may just be a dialect split...
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