The second of two verbs is not necessarily an infinitive

We tend to learn that the second of two verbs is in the infinitive; it’s not entirely true.  The second of two verbs is actually likely to be a noun phrase forming the object of the first verb; there are (at least) three ways to do this:

  1. I like to shop. (Infinitive)
  2. I like shopping. (Gerund)
  3. I like that I shop. (Explicit nominalisation of another phrase)

These are all grammatically correct, albeit with slightly different nuances.  However, consider this example:

  1. I recommend to shop.
  2. I recommend shopping.
  3. I recommend that you shop.

In this case the first is wrong, but it’s not obvious why.  The second and third are correct.  It’s the third that explains why the first is wrong: the subject of the second verb is different to that of the first (you instead of I), where they were the same in the “like” case.  The infinitive cannot express that, even though it’s clear from the use of “recommend”.  The gerund one is OK because gerunds don’t have subjects.

It took me about 10 years to figure that out.


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Reblogged from plus5mace



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