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Author Topic: Infinitives  (Read 3682 times)


  • Ealdormann
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  • Posts: 620
« on: March 10, 2013, 04:26:16 PM »
I am having problems over which infinitive to use.
I would use the simple infinitive in "I want to go to London" and the inflected infinitive in "I went to the monastery to meet the abbot.
What about  "I heard them sing that song" ,  " I taught them to swim" , "I learnt to write" , "I asked them to go there" , " I advised him to do it" ? I was thinking of the simple infintive for the first one and the inflected infinitive for the other four.  Am I right? Can either infinitive be used in some of the cases? How do we know which one to use?


  • gesith
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  • Posts: 52
Re: Infinitives
« Reply #1 on: March 11, 2013, 09:06:59 PM »
OE uses the infinitive in phrases related to perception: so, prosaically translated, your first query example above could be

Ic hierde hi singan þone sang

Rather than use the inflected infinitive, I think the others could be translated as

Ic lærde hie swimman

Ic leornode writan

Ic ascode hie þær gan

Ic red him þæt don

The inflected infinitive here usually has a meaning closer to “in order to”, rather than simply “to”, and so it would probably be more appropriate in these four phrases to use the infinitive. I'm sure others can go into a lot more grammatical detail and correct any mistakes I've made!
« Last Edit: March 11, 2013, 09:53:12 PM by Deoran »


  • Guest
Re: Infinitives
« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2013, 05:22:05 PM »
I'd agree with Deoran.
'sylle ge him etan' - give him something to eat (from gospels, feeding of the 5000)