I have been studying Raising and Controlling, but it seems quite hard to understand its function and uses. I would like any of you to analyze this explanation and tell me whether I got it correct or not:

Subject-control verbs are verbs that take a to-infinitive phrase as its complement and its subject is the same who performed the main action, for example:

The man tried [to run faster]

In the sentence above, the subject of the to-infinitive phrase is the same who performed the action of trying (The man).

Is it correct?

  • 4
    Yes, that's right. Try governs A-Equi ("Equi" is another name for "Control"), where the downstairs subject is controlled by the upstairs subject. B-Equi is where it's controlled by the upstairs indirect object, like I told him to take out the garbage. There's also A-Raising and B-Raising, with similar structures but different verb classes. Commented Jun 18, 2017 at 19:38
  • P.S. Do you still call it a control verb in "The man tried running faster"?
    – AmI
    Commented Jun 26, 2017 at 22:22
  • 1
    @Aml - Yes, for "running faster" is also a non-finite clause.
    – Davyd
    Commented Jul 10, 2017 at 13:31
  • Gosh, that explanation you cite has a grammar mistake. "Subject-control verbs are verbs that take a to-infinitive phrase as its complement".
    – Lambie
    Commented Apr 14, 2018 at 14:41

1 Answer 1


Another way to think about it is as a subject complement.

The man (Subject) tried (verb) to run (infinitive) faster (Adverb).

The complement refers to the subject.

An example of an object complement would be:

The people chose the candidate who was tallest.

In this case, who was tallest? The object - the candidate.

In the first example, the subject is running.

I don't know if this helps but when I am stumped, I often try to substitute concepts or in some cases pronouns or tenses to test various grammatical problems or to help my comprehension.

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