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  • A : She gave me a dollar to buy anything I wanted.

Isn’t it obvious that in sentence A, is “to buy anything I wanted” adjectively modifying “a dollar”, because if “to buy” adverbially modifies the verb “gave”, the sentence doesn’t make much sense, as it reads as “She gave me a dollar in order to buy anything I wanted”.

It was not she who was to buy anything I wanted.

So I think in sentence A, “to buy” adjectively modifies “a dollar”, the implication being that “me” was to buy anything I wanted.

  • B: The company says it is ready to give an experimental anti-aging therapy to older people at a clinic north of Bogota, Colombia. But that’s not all — it’s also charging people $1 million to participate.

I think even in sentence B, "to participate" adjectively modifies $1 million, for the same reason as talked about in A.

What do you think?

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fire1Isn’t it obvious that in sentence A, is “to buy anything I wanted” adjectively modifying “a dollar”

No, because it has nothing to do with what kind of dollar it is.

to buy ... is an infinitive of purpose.

fire1 if “to buy” adverbially modifies the verb “gave”, the sentence doesn’t make much sense, as it reads as “She gave me a dollar in order to buy anything I wanted”.

No. She gave me a dollar [Why did she give ...?] for me to buy anything I wanted. Paraphrase: so that I could buy anything I wanted (with the dollar).

The implied subject of the infinitive clause is the person who received the dollar.

fire1I think even in sentence B, "to participate" adjectively modifies $1 million, for the same reason as talked about in A. What do you think?

Same thing. Infinitive clause of purpose.

... charging people $1 million for them (for those people) to participate.

(so that they can participate)


Just because a word in the main clause (dollar; people) allows us to supply an implicit subject for an infinitive clause, it doesn't mean that the infinitive modifies that word. That's like saying that the predicate of a sentence modifies the subject, and that is an improper use of the word "modify".

CJ

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fire1A : She gave me a dollar to buy anything I wanted.
Isn’t it obvious that in sentence A, is “to buy anything I wanted” adjectively modifying “a dollar”

I don't think it is so obvious. Although it's not the greatest English, we could, for the sake of the example, equally say "She gave me it to buy anything I wanted", but it seems that "to buy anything I wanted" can hardly modify "it".

fire1because if “to buy” adverbially modifies the verb “gave”, the sentence doesn’t make much sense, as it reads as “She gave me a dollar in order to buy anything I wanted”.

It think it probably does refer to "gave", but we tacitly assume some kind of missing content, such as "She gave me a dollar (in order that I might be able) to buy anything I wanted." (This is only one example of words that could be added. In fact, there probably is no unique answer since we do not explicitly formulate the wording.)

(Cross-posted.)

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fire1A : She gave me a dollar to buy anything I wanted. Isn’t it obvious that in sentence A, is “to buy anything I wanted” adjectively modifying “a dollar”, because if “to buy” adverbially modifies the verb “gave”, the sentence doesn’t make much sense, as it reads as “She gave me a dollar in order to buy anything I wanted”. So I think in sentence A, “to buy” adjectively modifies “a dollar”.

Adjectival modifier would be an impossible analysis. Apart from anything else, infinitival clauses as modifiers of nouns are a special case of relative clauses, which is clearly not the case here. As CJ says, the infinitival can only be a purpose adjunct -- it answers the question Why did she give me a dollar?

Note that "gave" can take adverbial modifier, as in She willingly gave me a dollar to buy anything I wanted.

fire1It was not she who was to buy anything I wanted.

She gave me a dollar to buy anything I wanted.

Although in the 'default' case, the matrix clause provides the antecedent for the missing subordinate subject, there are other possibilities. In your example, the antecedent is matrix object. It is "me" who is to buy anything I want.

fire1B: The company says it is ready to give an experimental anti-aging therapy to older people at a clinic north of Bogota, Colombia. But that’s not all — it’s also charging people $1 million to participate.I think even in sentence B, "to participate" adjectively modifies $1 million, for the same reason as talked about in A.

The same analysis as above applies here.

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CalifJimCalifJim

Thank you very much!

Then, are both A and B grammatically wrong because there should be written "for me" and "for them"?

It was hard to understand the sentences because of the missding parts.

I'm also curious whether it's grammatically acceptable to leave out "for me" and "for them".

I think they shouldn't be omitted.

fire1Then, are both A and B grammatically wrong because there should be written "for me" and "for them"?

No.

fire1It was hard to understand the sentences because of the missing parts.

That's because you haven't yet worked with English enough — not read it, heard it, written it, nor spoken it enough — in general, not used it in real life enough yet to have caught on to the way English speakers are able to use their intuition about the meanings of such phrases and clauses.

Some people say it takes at least four years of living in an English-speaking country to develop this skill.

CJ

fire1A : She gave me a dollar to buy anything I wanted.

By the way, I don't think it is always impossible for "a dollar to buy anything I wanted" to be a phrase, i.e. "to buy anything I wanted" describing the use/purpose of the dollar. It depends on the sentence context, and I think some examples may be ambiguous or open to opinion.

"I've got a dollar to save, a dollar to give away, and a dollar to buy anything I want."

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GPYBy the way, I don't think it is always impossible for "a dollar to buy anything I wanted" to be a phrase, i.e. "to buy anything I wanted" describing the use/purpose of the dollar. It depends on the sentence context, and I think some examples may be ambiguous or open to opinion.

But is it a sure thing that this explanation doesn't apply to sentence A because of the reason you said below?

I don't think it is so obvious. Although it's not the greatest English, we could, for the sake of the example, equally say "She gave me it to buy anything I wanted", but it seems that "to buy anything I wanted" can hardly modify "it".

But Can infinitives describe "it" with a comma?

She gave me it, to buy anything I wanted.

Here, could "to buy anything I wanted" describe "it" by adding a comma?

fire1But is it a sure thing that this explanation doesn't apply to sentence A because of the reason you said below?

I don't personally think that it is an absolute cast-iron certainty, but I find the "it" substitution that I mentioned quite convincing.

fire1But Can infinitives describe "it" with a comma?
She gave me it, to buy anything I wanted.
Here, could "to buy anything I wanted" describe "it" by adding a comma?

No, to my mind adding the comma makes it even less likely.

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