To me, these

He'll come, if he wants

He'll come, if he's able

He'll come, if I allow him

are simply variants of

He'll come, if he wants to

He'll come, if he's able to

He'll come, if I allow him to

in other words, the infinitive marker "to" is optional; it's omitted simply because it can be omitted. But this is instinct on my part; some people tell me that "to" is required, and omitting it makes the sentences unacceptable (if not ungrammatical).

Grammatically speaking, is "to" in the above sentences required or optional? And what's the linguistic/grammatical case for it?

(By the way, is this a case of "preposition stranding" or does it go by another name in the literature?)

Thanks in advance

edit: It's been pointed out that this question is a possible duplicate of another question, but that question focuses on whether the to-infinitive or the bare infinitive is used after the verb "help." My question focuses on the infinitive marker "to" and what dictates/allows its omission when the infinitive itself has already been omitted. So, for example, instead of saying "He'll come, if he wants to come," is "He'll come, if he wants" acceptable or is one grammatically required to say "He'll come, if he wants to."

  • Related, and a duplicate of the former: Infinitive without “to”? Jul 10, 2018 at 2:13
  • You're right. The question is not a duplicate of any proposed by RaceYouAnytime.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jul 10, 2018 at 6:10
  • @Mari-LouA It seems like more a duplicate of the second question I linked to than the first. But the second was marked a duplicate of the first already. I'll retract my close-vote as the OP has explicitly addressed my concern. Jul 10, 2018 at 12:40
  • It’s good that you noticed there might a difference between “… he wants… ” and “… he wants to… ” and why have you not first explained how you understand that difference, then why it’s a problem, please? Jul 27, 2018 at 21:00


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