1. To help others is important.

In this sentence, 'To help' is the infinitive (being used as noun subject) and 'is' is the verb. What is the object ? 'Others' ? And is 'To help others' an infinitive phrase ? Since 'others' is explaining 'To help who ?'.

  1. I really need to eat something.

In this sentence, 'I' is the noun subject, 'really'is an adverb describing the verb 'need' and 'to eat'is the adverb describing the verb ? Or is it the noun object ? I am confused here.

  1. Joel wants a book to read.

'Joel' is the subject. 'Wants'is the verb. 'A book'is the object and 'to read' is the adjective describing 'book' ?

https://englishsentences.com/infinitive/ states 'book'as the subject. Am I missing something here ?

Joel wants a book to read.

  • In this sentence, the verb is “wants” and the subject is the noun “book.”
  • We also see the infinitive “to read.” What is the purpose of “to read” in this sentence?
  • It describes the book; Joel isn’t looking for just any book, he’s looking for a book to read.
  • In this sentence, the infinitive functions as an adjective

I would like to know if got all the parts of the sentences correct.

Thanks in advance.

  • I'm flagging this as off-topic ("belongs on ELL"). Hi Ahmad, you may not be aware that our other site English Language Learners is the best place to look for answers on English questions that a fluent speaker would find trivial. If you have a question for ELL, be sure to read their guidance on what you can ask. :-) Jan 3, 2019 at 12:37
  • @Chappo The OP's question is not off-topic, but a reasonable one for ELU. Catenative constructions and infinitival relative clauses are quite tricky
    – BillJ
    Jan 3, 2019 at 13:00
  • @BillJ I suspect the advanced grammatical analysis you've provided might be a step beyond what the OP was asking for, given his confusion about whether "to eat" is an adverb and "to read" is an adjective. So, EL&U gets an excellent answer, but does Ahmad get the help he was asking for (and that ELL might deliver)? Jan 3, 2019 at 13:06

1 Answer 1

  1. To help others is important.

"To help others" is an infinitival clause as subject. Just because it's a subject doesn't mean it's a noun: it isn't, it's a non-finite subordinate clause. "Others" is direct object of "help". "Important" is an adjective phrase functioning as predicative complement of "is".

  1. I really need to eat something.

"Need" is a catenative verb and this is a catenative construction where "to eat something" is an infinitival clause functioning as catenative complement of "need".

The term 'catenative' comes from the Latin word for "chain", which is appropriate here since "need" and "eat" do indeed form a chain of verbs.

  1. Joel wants a book to read.

"To read" is an infinitival relative clause modifying "book", the direct object of "want". Within the relative clause, "book" is direct object of "read". Infinitival relative clauses typically have a modal meaning comparable to that expressed in finites by "can" or "should", compare: "Joel wants a book that he can/should read".

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