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S.Murakami
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Hello. I came across the following sentences in a textbook, which is used for high school
students in Japan.

'Do you know what an armrest is? 'It's to rest your arm on when you want to relax.'

I want to ask you about the use of the part of infinitive, 'to rest'.

1) Is the second sentence used usually in America?
2) Is the second sentence a British way of saying?
3) The second sentence is similar to a) and b) and is it right for us to conclude they are of
the same use?

a) The house is to let.
b) The meeting is to be held next Tuesday.

* I mean second sentence is ' It's to rest your arm....'

I'm Japanese.
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Cybercypher
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"S.Murakami" <[email protected]> burbled news:[email protected]:

[q1]> Hello. I came across the following sentences in a textbook, which is used for high school students[/q1]
[q1]> in Japan.[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> 'Do you know what an armrest is? 'It's to rest your arm on when you want to relax.'[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> I want to ask you about the use of the part of infinitive, 'to rest'.[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> 1) Is the second sentence used usually in America?[/q1]
[q1]> 2) Is the second sentence a British way of saying?[/q1]

This second sentence seems like Standard English to me and should be unobjectionable in both North
American and British English.

[q1]> 3) The second sentence is similar to a) and b) and is it right for us to conclude they are of the[/q1]
[q1]> same use?[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> a) The house is to let.[/q1]
[q1]> b) The meeting is to be held next Tuesday.[/q1]

What you can conclude is that all three sentences have a noun-phrase subject, a copular verb ("is"),
and a to-infinitive immediately following the verb. On the surface, then, it appears that all 3
sentences are essentially similar and the to-infinitive functions as a complement to the subject in
each sentence.

But only a grammarian/linguist interested in technicalities could possibly care about answering as
picayune a question as your textbook asks. The important question to ask here is "Is the
to-inifinitive used properly in all three examples?" and the answer to that is "Yes".

The second sentence, however, is not technically a proper answer to the question in the first
sentence. It should be "Yes, I do. An armrest is something to rest your arm on when you want
to relax."

[q1]> * I mean second sentence is ' It's to rest your arm....'[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> I'm Japanese.[/q1]

Boku wa beikokujin dayo.

--
Franke: Grammar 1: Internalized rules for the spoken language. Grammar 2: Formal rules for the
written language. Grammar 1 does not equal Grammar 2.
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Jack
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[q1]> I want to ask you about the use of the part of infinitive, 'to rest'.[/q1]

The UK has an organisation called the 'Plain English Campaign' http://www.plainenglish.co.uk/. The
organisation seeks to eliminate all unnesessary forms and rules of written English where an
alternative is easier to understand and widely accepted.

Their logo, a clear diamond (crystal clear perhaps ?), is a much sought after addition to Government
publications and printed text in general, where clarity of the message is clear and concise.

They have a dim view on the laws of 'infinitives' and recommend that people shouldn't even worry
themselves about it.

Anyone that picks you up on incorrect use is living in the wrong century.

Jack. A.
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Einde O'Callagh
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Jack wrote:
[q1]>[/q1]
[q2]> > I want to ask you about the use of the part of infinitive, 'to rest'.[/q2]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> The UK has an organisation called the 'Plain English Campaign' http://www.plainenglish.co.uk/. The[/q1]
[q1]> organisation seeks to eliminate all unnesessary forms and rules of written English where an[/q1]
[q1]> alternative is easier to understand and widely accepted.[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> Their logo, a clear diamond (crystal clear perhaps ?), is a much sought after addition to[/q1]
[q1]> Government publications and printed text in general, where clarity of the message is clear and[/q1]
[q1]> concise.[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
The Plain English Campaign is, to my knowledge, primarily concerned with eliminating jargon.

[q1]> They have a dim view on the laws of 'infinitives' and recommend that people shouldn't even worry[/q1]
[q1]> themselves about it.[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
I'm not certain what you are trying to say here. What are theses "laws" you refer to?

[q1]> Anyone that picks you up on incorrect use is living in the wrong century.[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
Are you seriously suggesting that anything goes?

In this news group people, many of them non-native learners of English, ask questions innorder to
learn how to use english precisely and understandably. This is precisely the sort of thing that the
Plain English Campaign is attempting to promote, too.

Are you seriously suggesting that we shouldn't tell people when they are making grammatically
incorrect or ambiguous statements?

Einde O'Callaghan
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