I have two questions about the grammatical roles of the infinitive phrases in these two sentences:

  1. He is the person to contact if you will need any advice.

  2. There is a person to connect A PC to B PC.

My first question on modifiers

What does to contact modify in the person to contact? Is it working adjectively to modify the person?

My second question on complements

Is to connect not actually a modifier in these but rather a complement, and if so, what is it the complement of?

  • [correction: if you need advice]
    – Lambie
    Oct 9, 2022 at 17:34
  • 1
    What @Lambie was mentioning in her brief correction is that you mustn’t say if you will need any advice. You cannot use will there in that if clause where you have placed it. Although native speakers can probably figure out what you seem to mean here, it is ungrammatical to us to have a will inside an if like this.
    – tchrist
    Oct 9, 2022 at 17:58
  • Yes. Inside an if clause, will can only mean "be willing to", which doesn't work with needing advice. Oct 9, 2022 at 18:32
  • 2
    @JohnLawler Mostly, but there's also a use of will in antecedents/protases which means something like it's already established at the current time, normally used contrastively: "If the big tent will be there, then there's no need to us to take our waterproofs." Something of the flavour of emphatic do Oct 9, 2022 at 21:56

1 Answer 1


[1] He is the person [ to contact __ if you need any advice].

[2] There is a person [ __ to connect A PC to B PC].

In both examples, the bracketed element is an infinitival relative clause functioning as modifier of "person".

Non-wh infinitival relatives modify nouns and nominals in the same way that finite relatives do, though there is no relative phrase. Here the relativised element, marked by the gap notation '__', is object in [1] and subject in [2].

Most infinitival relatives have a modal meaning comparable with that expressed in finites by "can" and "should". Here the infinitival clauses modify "person" and are comparable to

He is the person that you can/should contact ...

There is a person who can/should connect ...


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