Hi,

I'm writing this post again because I didn't get any response this morning.

It's not necessary that you explain your answers using grammatical rules.

All I'm asking you to do is to tell me whether more than one interpretaton is possible in each of the following examples and explain why it should be interpreted in such way.

I would like to know how native speakers distinguish catenative complements from infinitival clauses functioning as adjunct of purpose.

ex1) She was waiting to use the photocopier.

In my grammar book, it says that the sentence can be understood as a catenative construction, but at the same time it can be viewed as adjunct of purpose.

In what context, would it be more appropriate to interprete it as a catenative complement than to interprete it as purpose of adjunct or vice versa?

ex2)

A: She was strong to withstand this pressure.

B: She had the strength to withstand this pressure.

The infinitival in A is an adjunct whereas it is a complement in B.

It's hard for me to understand why the infinitival in A is construed as an adjunct.

In order to withstand this pressure, she was strong.(??)

Could someone shed some light on how to make a clear distincion between the two?

Thanks very much in advance for your help.
jooneyCould someone shed some light on how to make a clear distincion between the two?
I don't envy you. The distinction between complements and adjuncts can be quite difficult. I'm still looking for the answer to your question myself. Therefore I can't give a definitive answer to your questions, but I will comment on them in case that might help you.

jooneyex1) She was waiting to use the photocopier.
In my grammar book, it says that the sentence can be understood as a catenative construction, but at the same time it can be viewed as adjunct of purpose.
I see that it can be both, but I instinctively take this in the sense of the catenative construction. The main idea is that she wanted to use the photocopier; she was going to use the photocopier. The waiting is incidental, not central.

I don't take it as an adjunct of purpose, though this is another possible interpretation. In other words, I don't understand "to use the photocopier" as the purpose of the waiting. I don't see the waiting as central.

________

Another way of looking at it is that you can compare the sentence two different ways. You can put the example sentence in the group of catenatives or in the group of adjuncts.

What was she [waiting/trying/able] to do?

She was waiting to use the photocopier.

She was trying to use the photocopier. (Catenatives)

She was able to use the photocopier.

Why was she [waiting/standing in line/signing the register]?

She was waiting to use the photocopier.

She was standing in line to use the photocopier. (Adjuncts of purpose)

She was signing the register to use the photocopier.

________________________

jooneyex2)
A: She was strong to withstand this pressure.
B: She had the strength to withstand this pressure.
The infinitival in A is an adjunct whereas it is a complement in B.
A: Her ability to withstand this pressure showed that she was strong. She was strong, as evidenced by the fact that she was able to withstand this pressure.
You could easily stop the sentence before adding the infinitival: She was strong.

So anything added is an adjunct. The infinitival is not necessary to complete any meaning established by She was strong.

B: She had a certain kind of strength. It was not just any kind of strength. It was a "pressure-withstanding" strength.

You can't stop with just She had the strength. The reader asks, "What strength? What do you mean by 'the strength'?" The infinitival completes the thought, so it's a complement.

I'm afraid that's about the best I can do on these. If I get any more ideas, I'll add to this post later.

CJ
Thank you, CJ. You always seem to be the one to help me every time I write a post in this forum. I really appreciate your help.

The distinction between complements and modifiers(or adjuncts) is very tricky and gives me a lot of headache. I don't know if I'll ever be able to distinguish one from the other, but I'll keep trying.

Regarding your answer to my question #1, I still can't think of a context in which such sentence would be used.

I was just about to use the photocopier, but got an unexpected call from an old friend of mine. So the event of using the photocopier had to be delayed until the conversation was over. I was waiting to use the photocopier while I was talking to him on the phone. Is that what it really means?

And I find it a little confusing that the infinitival used in the second example(A of ex2)) doesn't have the same meaning as it does in the first example: It doesn't seem possible that the infinitival in A of the second example can be paraphrased as 'in order to withstand this pressure'. Actually, it reminds me of a comparison between 'was able to' and 'could'. I was able to withstand this pressure vs. I could withstand this pressure.

In short, I would like to know how to make an interpretation of adjunct infinitivals positioned right next to adjectives.

Thanks very much for reading this.
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jooneyI was just about to use the photocopier, but got an unexpected call from an old friend of mine. So the event of using the photocopier had to be delayed until the conversation was over. I was waiting to use the photocopier while I was talking to him on the phone. Is that what it really means?
Yes. Or there may have been several people using the photocopier and you had to wait for them to finish. In that situation you would retell the story as I was waiting to use the photocopier.

jooneyIt doesn't seem possible that the infinitival in A of the second example can be paraphrased as 'in order to withstand this pressure'.
No, that would not be a very exact paraphrase. I think you may be missing something here. Maybe you're not very familiar or comfortable with this turn of phrase.

It's not like 'was able to' and 'could'. It's like 'will be' and 'was'. in order to looks to the future. She planned ahead in order to be sure that the trip would go well. The structures below look to the past.

She was strong to withstand this pressure. She has already withstood the pressure.

That showed that she was strong.

She was courageous to speak up when she did. She has already spoken up.

That showed that she was courageous.

She was right to reprimand the child for stealing. She has already reprimanded the child.

That showed that she was right.

jooneyI would like to know how to make an interpretation of adjunct infinitivals positioned right next to adjectives.
I don't know with any certainty how to do this myself, so I can't really help except to offer encouragement. Maybe someone in your class, or even your teacher, can help, and when you learn how to do this, you can teach me. Emotion: smile

CJ
Thank you for the reply, CJ. Your answers are always very heplful. I've really learned a lot of things from you.Emotion: smile