Sentences such as

To think that she did all that

To think that Messi and Cristiano Rolando are both out of the World Cup

To think that this could ever happen to me

Are these impersonal sentences (i.e. the infinitives have no subject) or are these sentences that have implicit subjects (because it's understood that "to think" requires someone to do the "thinking")?

My instinct tells me that they have implicit subjects; however, I can't add the implied subject (for example, I can't say For me to think that she did all that, or at least it sounds odd to me). It seems that these sentences, as written, reject overt subjects; why is that, and does that make such sentences impersonal?

Thanks in advance

  • There is certainly a missing subject if one considers as these as sentence relicts. If one accepts lbf's reconstruction, 'It is really shocking/surprising [when one is obliged to think] that ...', the recoverable (or hypothetical) subject is one undergoing extraposition ('impersonal'). – Edwin Ashworth Jul 1 '18 at 13:55

to think (that)

It is really shocking or surprising that (something is the case)


I shudder/dread to ˈthink (how, what, etc....) (informal, often humorous) TFD another idiom

I am afraid to think or ask myself about something, because the answer might be terrible or unpleasant

And yes, you can say :

For me to think that she did all that ...

You second sample sentence named the subjects. Implicit subjects are not imperative. Context as usual is important.

This is what 'me thinks' is the sense of all this.

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