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This might be a very basic question. I saw following sentence in a dictionary. Emphasis mine.

"defense portfolio could be the carrot to dangle before him"

I could not justify the use of "To" before dangle. I think the correct sentence should be

"defense portfolio could be the carrot dangling before him"

Could you please explain which sentence should be the correct one? and why?

  • @NVZ Don't think so. That's a question about which verbs license which verbal form. – deadrat Apr 16 '16 at 5:30
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You have run across an infinitive of purpose. The sentence

The defence portfolio could be the carrot to dangle before him.

means the the position is to be considered as a possible incentive (i.e., that would be the purpose of offering the position). The sentence

The defence portfolio could be the carrot dangling before him.

means that it's possible that an incentive is being offered and it's the position mentioned.

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