I've looked at quite a few questions here but I've been unable to figure this out.

In the following:

She came to bring us food.

She is performing the act of "bring."

BUT, in this one:

Many chickens died to bring me this meal.

The chickens aren't performing the act of "bring." It's more like they died for-the-purpose-of someone else bringing me the meal.

The second example sounds weird to me (native English speaker).

Is this valid usage, or should it be worded differently?

Thanks very much for your time!

  • Not in general. Compare your first example with "She came to be queen." – Greg Lee Mar 7 '17 at 4:46
  • @GregLee thanks for the comment! But in "She came to be queen" isn't she performing the act of "being" queen? It wouldn't make sense for someone other than "she" to "be" (queen) in that case, right? – Aaron Meier Mar 7 '17 at 4:49
  • No, being queen is not an act one can perform -- it's a state one can find oneself in. She could become a queen by crowning herself, but she couldn't be a queen that way. – Greg Lee Mar 7 '17 at 4:58
  • Ah, I see. I've updated the question from "subject to perform the following verb" to "subject to relate to the following verb" in the interest of reducing ambiguity. – Aaron Meier Mar 7 '17 at 4:59
  • I think I'm hung up on expanding the infinitive: "Sally came to be queen" -> "Sally came for the purpose of Sally being queen" vs. "Chickens died to bring food" -> "Chickens died for the purpose of Chickens bringing food" – Aaron Meier Mar 7 '17 at 5:02

Many chickens died to bring me this meal.

One supposes that the intent of this statement is:

Many chickens died so I might have this meal.

But, that is not what:

Many chickens died to bring me this meal.

really says. The statement suggests, among other things, that chickens were a part, or whole, of an expedition bringing your meal. And chickens died in the bringing. Without the indirect object (me):

Many chickens died to bring this meal.

chickens still "bring". Without the initial modifier and a simplified direct object:

Chickens died to bring me this .

chickens still "bring". And died
As to the question : "Does 'to' as an infinitive marker require the subject to relate to the following verb?": The normal order of an English sentence is subject-verb- object or, "SVO"Wikipedia
An infinitive in a sentence, with or without a "to" marker, has nothing to do with normal word order of subject-verb.

  • Thanks for the answer! To summarize, the wording implies the chickens are bringing, and if the chickens are not participating in "bringing" one should use "Many chickens died so I might have this meal." ? – Aaron Meier Mar 7 '17 at 17:56
  • @Aaron Meier ....I'm sure there are many ways to say what meant by the statement in the question.. The issues in the question involved infinitives, I think. ."She came to bring" is the same structure as "chickens died to being" ..so, "she came (so she could bring)" and "chickens died (so they could bring)".. ,,so, the "chicken" statement might not be what was intended. "She came to bring us food; I have a chicken dinner" will probably express the basic intentions. There would be many ways to write it. – J. Taylor Mar 7 '17 at 19:19

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