The Grammar of English Grammars

The Grammar of English Grammars

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Excerpt: ...Thes., i, 10. These, and seventeen other examples of the same kind, may be seen in Tooke's Diversions of Purley, Vol. ii. pp. 457 and 458. OBS. 22.-Dr. James P. Wilson, speaking of the English infinitive, says: -"But if the appellation of mode be denied it, it is then a verbal noun. This is indeed its truest character, because its idea ever represents an object of approach. To supplies the defect of a termination characteristic of the infinitive, precedes it, and marks it either as that, towards which the preceding verb is directed;409 or it signifies act, and shows the word to import an action. When the infinitive is the expression of an immediate action, which it must be, after the verbs, bid, can, dare, do, feel, hear, let, make, may, must, need, see, shall, and will, the preposition TO is omitted."-Essay on Grammar, p. 129. That the truest character of the infinitive is that of a verbal noun, is not to be conceded, in weak abandonment of all the reasons for a contrary opinion, until it can be shown that the action or being expressed by it, must needs assume a substantive character, in order to be "that towards which the preceding verb is directed." But this character is manifestly not supposable of any of those infinitives which, according to the foregoing quotation, must follow other verbs without the intervention of the preposition to: as, "Bid him come;"-"He can walk." And I see no reason to suppose it, where the relation of the infinitive to an other word is not "immediate" but marked by the preposition, as above described. For example: "And he laboured till the going-down of the sun TO deliver him."-Dan., vi, 14. Here deliver is governed by to, and connected by it to the finite verb laboured; but to tell us, it is to be understood substantively rather than actively, is an assumption as false, as it is needless. OBS. 23.-To deny to the infinitive the appellation of mood, no more makes it a verbal noun, than does the Doctor' more

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  • 1236692349
  • 9781236692344