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On Monday, Beijing said its gross domestic product rose 2.3% last year. While that is the weakest annual rate of growth since the Mao era, it was enough to make china the only major world economy to gain any ground at all last year, and accelerated its likely overtaking of the U.S. economy.


Could I say To gain any ground at all last year is the real subject?

What I mean is: To gain any ground at all last year was enough to make china the only major world economy, accelerating its likely overtaking of the U.S. economy.


If not, could it be that it just denotes China's GDP and to gain any ground at all last year is the modifier of the only major world economy?

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anonymous

Could I say To gain any ground at all last year is the real subject?

What I mean is: To gain any ground at all last year was enough to make china the only major world economy, accelerating its likely overtaking of the U.S. economy.

No.

anonymousIf not, could it be that it just denotes China's GDP and to gain any ground at all last year is the modifier of the only major world economy?

Yes.


Here's how it goes:

On Monday, Beijing said its gross domestic product rose 2.3% last year.

While that (2.3%) is the weakest annual rate of growth since the Mao era,

it (2.3%) was enough to make China
[ the only major world economy to gain any ground at all last year, ]
and
(it (2.3%)) accelerated its (China's) likely overtaking of the U.S. economy.


Any ordinal number (first, second, ...), last, or only sanctions the use of an infinitive modifier, which is what you see as the underlined infinitive clause. These infinitive clauses can be compared to relative clauses. I gave relative clause paraphrases below.

Other examples:

Who were the last three teams to win the Super Bowl?
(... last three teams who won ...)
Donald Trump was the only U.S. president to be impeached twice.
(... only U.S. president who was impeached ...)
She was the first African-American to be a full-time superintendent in Kentucky.
(... first African-American who was a full-time ...)

CJ

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