Infinitive clause

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I came across a question that puzzled me.  It stated, " You need to learn how to be nice."  How is the dependant clause acting in that sentence?  Is it describing the infinitive to learn?  Or is it a modifier of the the infinitive?  Any answers will be gratly appreciated.

asked Jun 08 at 20:28 Jack Morais New member

2 answers


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You need to learn how to be nice. " to learn how to be nice" is acting as a direct object of the verb "need".

link comment answered Jun 09 at 04:53 Sanjay Contributor
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Jack, "how to be nice" can either be viewed as (1) a Noun Clause appositive renaming the infinitive "to learn", or (2) as an Adjective Clause describing the infinitive "to learn".

 

I leave it to you to decide whether it is (1) renaming or (2) describing; however, I would point out that it can function appositively in the place of "to learn":  "You need to be nice."

 

If you are confused about why those two are your options, it is because "to learn" has taken on the function of a noun.

 

Infinitives can function as either (1) nouns (2) adjectives or (3) adverbs.

In this case, "to learn" is the direct object of the verb "need" which means it is acting as (1) a noun.

 

Therefore, the dependent clause "how to be nice" is either functioning (1) as a Noun Clause to rename the infinitive "to learn" or (2) an Adjective Clause to describe the infinitive "to learn".

link comment answered Jun 22 at 20:04 Aaron Prejean Expert

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