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Consider these two sentences, please:


a) "different from" typically requires a noun or noun form to complete the expression

b) These are verb constructions that require prepositions to complete their meaning


Can I interpret the above two sentences as:


a1) "different from" typically requires a noun or noun form that can complete the expression (a relative clause)

b1) These are verb constructions that require prepositions that can complete their meaning (a relative clause)


Or are the to-infinitives in a) and b) "infinitives of purpose"?

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I interpret them as infinitives of purpose.

Why is a noun required? To complete the expression "different from ...".

Why are prepositions required? To complete the meaning of the verb constructions.

I don't sense that they're telling us what kind of noun or preposition is required. Here's a sentence with both kinds of infinitive clauses.

We [ still have several [colors to select] to complete the design ].

to select is an infinitival relative clause. to complete the design is an infinitive of purpose.

CJ

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Thank you for the wonderful answer. Could you please tell me how to differentiate between a relative infinitive and an adverbial infinitive (infinitive of purpose) in examples such as in the OP?

Rizan Malika relative infinitive

An infinitival relative clause modifies the preceding noun. That preceding noun often acts as the direct object of the infinitive.

colors to select > to select colors
people to see > to see people
homework to do > to do homework

An infinitive of purpose relates to the verb in the preceding clause or even to the whole preceding clause, and it gives the purpose or reason for the situation expressed in the main clause.

climbed the hill | (why?) to see what was on the other side

CJ

Thank you very much. One last question: Can you tell me what the subjects of the to-infinitives in the OP are? Probably, "noun or noun form" and "prepositions". Am I right? Thank you.

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CalifJimAn infinitival relative clause modifies the preceding noun. That preceding noun often acts as the direct object of the infinitive.colors to select > to select colors; people to see > to see people; homework to do > to do homework.
Consider this sentence, please:
He's taking a sandwich to eat after the movie---How do we interpret this?
a) He's taking a sandwich that he can/will eat after the movie Or
b) He's taking a sandwich in order to eat after the movie
Rizan Malik

Thank you for the wonderful answer. Could you please tell me how to differentiate between a relative infinitive and an adverbial infinitive (infinitive of purpose) in examples such as in the OP?

A note of caution. In cases where an infinitival clause occurs as a dependent in noun phrase structure, care is needed when distinguishing modifiers and complements; compare:

[1] We found [a big box to keep the CDs in]. [modifier]

[2] It provides [an opportunity to broaden the mind]. [complement]


In [1], the infinitival is a relative clause modifying "box"; it has a modal meaning comparable to that we could keep the CDs in.

In [2] the infinitival is not a modifier, not a relative clause, but a complement licensed (specifically required or permitted) by the noun opportunity.


There is also the matter of interrogative infinitivals to consider. They too can figure in noun phrase structure, as in:


[3] [A decision whether to go ahead] hasn't been made yet.

Here the infinitival clause is an interrogative, which like [1] and [2] follows a noun, but it's not a modifier, not a relative clause. It's a complement of "decision".



BillJ[3] [A decision whether to go ahead] hasn't been made yet.

In sentences like this, could we say there is a missing preposition? For instance:

[A decision about/on whether to go ahead] hasn't been made yet.

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Rizan Malik
BillJ[3] [A decision whether to go ahead] hasn't been made yet.

In sentences like this, could we say there is a missing preposition? For instance:

[A decision about/on whether to go ahead] hasn't been made yet.

The preposition is optional. If it is included, the infinitival clause becomes complement of the preposition, not of the noun.

The meaning can be glossed as A decision (about) whether x should go ahead hasn't been made yet.

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