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Sentence Processes v1

Sentence Processes v1

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Published by Simona Leafu

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Published by: Simona Leafu on Sep 12, 2011
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11/28/2012

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This construction normally appears in combination with:
a) verbs of physical perception

• basic ones that require bare infinitival structures: see, hear, feel, watch,
overhear
, etc.:
(62) They heard him insult her.
(L-au auzit insultând-o.)

• neological verbs that require full infinitival structures: notice, observe,
perceive
,etc.:
(63) I perceived him to be known in his neighbourhood.

Unit eight

Infinitive complements

215

(Am observat că era cunoscut în cartier.)

An interesting property of physical perception verbs is that they can make up
both the Nominative + Infinitive structure and the Accusative + Infinitive one.
However, there is a clear difference in meaning between the two possibilities.
Compare:
(64) They heard Freddie Mercury sing last night. (Accusative +Infinitive)
(this is probably because he sings as a rule)
(65) Freddie Mercury was heard to sing last night. (Nominative +
Infinitive)

(this was an exceptional occurrence, since he does not normally sing

in public)

b) causative verbs:
• with a bare infinitive: make, have, let

(66) I’ll have you learn this in no time.
(Te fac sa inveti asta cit ai zice peste.)

• with a full infinitive: get, cause, occasion, necessitate

(67) I couldn’t get them to pay me my money.
(N-am reuşit să-i fac să-mi dea banii.)

c) verbs of mental perception : assume, believe, consider, understand, figure,
picture, find, imagine, remember, recollect, judge, deem, presume, know,
discover, prove,
etc.:
(68) I believe him to be a genius.
(Cred că este un geniu.)

Nadina VIŞAN

216

d) verbs of permission and command: allow, permit, suffer, order, command,

etc.:
(69) I allowed the trees in the yard to be cut down.
(Am permis să fie tăiaţi pomii din curte.)

These verbs have the special characteristic that can be combined with PRO-
TO
constructions as well:
(70) I allowed the gardeneri PROi to cut down the trees.
(I-am permis grădinarului să taie pomii.)

e) verbs of liking and disliking: like, love, prefer, want, wish, desire, expect,
mean, choose
,etc.:
(71) I would like him to be there at 5.
(Aş vrea să fie acolo la ora 5.)

Like in the case of the previous class of verbs, these ones allow PRO-TO
constructions as well:
(72) Ii would like PROi to go there.
(Aş vrea să mă duc acolo.)

Pratice

Activity 8

Identify the infinitive structures in the following texts; state their
type and function:

a) Harold persuaded Alec to let him drive them home. The
drinks hadn’t cheered him up; they had depressed and
fuddled him. Harold, who wasn’t used to men with moods,
thought that the best and kindest policy was to ignore Alec’s.
if he himself was out of spirits, he hated anyone to comment

Unit eight

Infinitive complements

217

on it. It was a measure of self-protection dating from his
schooldays, when a long face was a sign of weakness and the
whole pack would turn on him if they saw him looking sad.
A cheerful countenance was the first line of defence. Most of
Harold’s men friends felt the same, and if they had seen one
of their number looking quite suicidal, would never have
dreamt of asking him the reason.
b) During the visit Harold’s own outlook had undergone a good
many changes. It was natural to him to feel critical of another
environment than his own. He suspected hostility at once; the
herd instinct was very strong in him. In so far as he was a
snob his snobbery only operated within his own social group;
he didn’t envy those above it, though he tended to look down
on those below it. Both seemed to him a little unreal, and as
if they didn’t know what life was about. And this was
especially the case with Alec and his wife’s outfit, for Alec
belonged to no group or social stratum, he appeared to have
the freedom of several but to be indigenous to none.
(L.P.Hartley – A Perfect Woman)
c) I obliged him to recopy twice the episode of his first
inspection of me aboard the Zahir. A little crossly, Marjanah
told me to spend the night with him as well, so that we might
get to the future and have done. She was even inclined to
remain in the bedroom with us, to make sure we attended
strictly to business, but her husband cautioned against
becoming of a jealous and suspicious later. (John Barth – The
Last Voyage of Somebody the Sailor
)

Nadina VIŞAN

218

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