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The train.

c) in a construction, where it is
in predicate relation to a noun

or a pronoun. The predicate relation

is revealed by the following modification

of the sentence: • I have a nice book foryou to

read. (=> I have a nice book which you canread.)

According to their forms and functions the infinitive constructions are classified into: a) Complex Object Construction (Objective Infinitive Construction - OIC)


Минченков А. Г.



b) Complex Subject Construction (Subjective Infinitive Construc­tion - SIC)

c) For-to-Infinitive Construction.


In the OIC the infinitive is in predicate relation to a noun in the common case or a pronoun in the objective case. In a sentence this construction always has the function of complex object. The OIC is used after the following groups of verbs:

a) verbs of three senses: feel, hear, listen to, notice, observe (='to
see', 'to notice'), overhear, see, watch. Only the bare

indefinite infinitive is used here. The infinitive construction refers to a complete event:

• I saw them arrive.

She observed them get into the boat.

Mary overheard him tell the children about it.

• I watched the sun rise.

She noticed a man steal into the room.

To refer to part of an event we use participial constructions (see Participle).

b) verbs expressing opinion: assume, believe, consider, expect,
find, hold, judge, know, presume, prove, show, think.

After these verbs we use mostly the full indefinite infinitive; the perfect infinitive is rare:

They assumed him to be French.

The manager judged him to be unfit for the job.

I found him to be much youngerthan I had expected.

I have proved it to be feasible.

Everybody expected him to marryat the end of the month.

His visiting card showed him to be a theatre director.

1 have never known him tell a lie.


I) In modern English the OIC with these verbs sounds formal

and the same idea is more commonly expressed by a that-clause:

They knew his views to be wrong(= They knew that hisviews
were wrong).

or the Subjective Infinitive Construction:

They believed him to be a reliable man(= Hewas believed to
be a reliable man).

2) After most of the verbs we find the infinitives to be and to have. To be is often omitted:

We find her (to be) dependable.

c) verbs of declaring: declare, pronounce, report:

• They declared him to be insane.

However, in modern English the OIC is rarely used with these verbs. Other structures are preferred:

They declared that he was insane

He was pronounced dead.

They were pronounced man and wife.

She was reported to have murdered her husband (see Subjective Infinitive Construction).

d) verbs denoting wish and intention. The most common verb
here is want.

• She did not want them to go.

The verbs wish and desire are now rarely used in this construction. The same applies to the verb choose (= 'wish'). Other verbs include mean and intend:

He meant it to be his last publicperformance.

We never intended this arrangementto be permanent.

e) verbs denoting feelings and emotions: like, can't bear (= 'to
feel upset about something') and dislike, hate, which are
only rarely used in this construction:

She could not bear him to leave her.


Минченков А. Г.



Note: With like the gerundial construction is sometimes preferred (see: Gerund):

• J do not like Mm to speak in this way—> 1do not like him

speaking in this way.


In the SIC the infinitive is in predicate relation to a noun in the common case or a pronoun in the nominative case. The construction, that is the infinitive and the nominal element together, performs the function of complex subject. An alternative interpretation is also possible. It is that the nominal part of the construction is the subject of the sentence and the infinitive is part of a compound verbal predicate:

He is likely to come soon.

The SIC is very often used with passive verbs. These verbs include:

a) verbs of the senses: hear, see, observe:

The babywas often heard tocry.

She was seen to tremble.

Note: When verbs of the senses are used in the SIC they are followed

by the full infinitive.

b) verbs expressing opinion and judgement: allege, assume,
believe, claim, consider, deem
(formal), discover, estimate,
expect, feel, find, hold, know, predict, prove
(= 'demonstrate'),
reckon, report, rumour, say, see (= 'consider'), think,

As it has been already said, the SIC is more common with these verbs than the OIC and the number of verbs really used is greater. The full infinitive that follows the verbs is usually to be, to have, a continuous or a perfect infinitive:

The house is believed tobe haunted.

The Secretary was alleged to be a memberof a secret society.

This was deemed to detract from the dignity of the republic.

It was estimated tocost 1.000 pounds.

He was rumoured tobe writing anew book.


He was understood to have left for Canada.

His theory was proved to be correct.


The SIC is also used with the following active verbs:

to seem to appear (= 'to seem') to turn out to prove (= 'to turn out') to happen to chance (= 'to happen')

She seemed to believe me.

He appeared to have been

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