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Finite Verb or Verbal?: The "To" Test (Ex # 5)
from Stories of Robin Hood Told to the Children, by Henrietta Elizabeth Marshall
Analysis Key

 
1. The bishops promised to do [#1] [Adv. to "to do" as he asked]. |
 

2. He meant to prove [#2] {to him} [DO of "to prove" that he was not]. |
 

3. John tried to please the haughty Normans [#3] [Adv. to "tried" because they were

great (PA) and powerful (PA)], and [Adv. to "tried" *because* he hoped [DO of

"hoped" they would help to make him king [#4] ]]. |
 

4. They had to try to send their arrows [#5] right {into the middle} {of the target}, and

hit the white spot [#6]. |
 

5. They had a very fine dinner (DO), | and the Sheriff began to feel quite

comfortable [#7] and to think [DO of "to think" he was going to get off [#7] easily]. |


Notes
1. The infinitive phrase based on "to do" functions as the direct object of "promised."
2. The infinitive phrase based on "to prove" functions as the direct object of "meant." Out of context, this sentence obviously raises the question "Not what?" In context, if I remember correctly, it means "not a coward." Although I prefer using sentences in context, cases such as this one may help students see how sentence structure depends on the context.
3. "Normans" is the direct object of the infinitive "to please"; the infinitive functions as the direct object of "tried."
4. KISS explains "King" as a predicate noun after an ellipsed infinitive "to be" -- "make him *to be* King." This would make "him" the subject of the ellipsed infinitive, and the infinitive phrase functions as the direct object of the infinitive "to make." Some people will see "to make" as an adverb to "would help," answering the question "Would help how?" Others will see it as the direct object of "would help," answering the question "Would help what?" I would accept either explanation.
5. "Arrows" is the direct object of the infinitive "to send." The infinitive is the direct object of "had to try." Note that "have" is generally considered a "helping" verb and thus most grammarians would probably not consider "to try" as the direct object of "had." Note also that "right" functions as an adverb to the prepositional phrase that follows it. [I don't remember seeing a grammar textbook that discusses adverbs that modify prepositional phrases.]
6. "Spot" is the direct object of the infinitive "to hit." Although it does not affect the meaning very much, the function of "to hit" is ambiguous -- the preceding "and" could join either "to send" and to "hit," or "to try" and "hit." Thus "hit" can be explained either as another direct object of "to try," or as part of a compound finite verb "had to try ... and hit...."
7. Some people will see "comfortable" as a predicate adjective after "to feel." They would probably base this on the ideas that "comfortable" is an adjective that describes the Sheriff and that the adverb would be "comfortably." Others will claim that "comfortable" describes how the Sheriff began to feel -- thus it is an adverb. KISS accepts either explanation. (It is not worth arguing about.) The infinitives "to feel" and "to think" function as direct objects of "began." In "was going to get off," "going to" is often considered a "helping verb," thus making this a finite verb. I would not, however, mark it wrong if a student claimed that "to get off" is an infinitive that functions as an adverb to "was going." Again, it is not worth the argument.