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Firstly, I know that infinitives can act as almost anything. I have troublle telling the difference between adj. and adv. infinitives.

"You have time to do your homework"
Initially, I believed that "to do your homework" was an adj. modifying "time". However, someone told me that it was an adv. modifying "how" you spend your time.

"You lack the strength to resist"
"To resist" modifys "which strength". But it also make sense to ask "When/how does he lack the strength". When it comes "to resist".

Can someone explain to me the difference between them? Thanks.

Next, I know that indirect object are like sentences like this:

"I gave him a book"
him = indirect.
book = direct

You can also change the structure.
"I have book to him"

Howeer, what about verbs such as "to say" and "to explain"

"I said something to him" = right
I said him something = wrong

I explained a lesson to him = right
I explained him a lesson = wrong...

Explain please! Thanks.
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"I gave him a book"
him = indirect.
book = direct
...
Explain please!
There are three possibilities where a verb with an indirect object is concerned. The verb can take both the to structure and the double object structure. (give, pay, sell, pass, show, ...) The verb can take only the to structure. (explain, demonstrate, say, declare, ...) The verb can take only the double object structure. (ask, cost, save, spare, ...)

... show the money to me / ... show me the money
... explain the rule to us / ---------------
------------- / ... cost them a fortune


You just have to memorize which verbs go into each category.

CJ
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So, you're right that infinitives can act as three things: nouns, adjectives, and adverbs. 
BlackBlitz"You have time to do your homework"
Initially, I believed that "to do your homework" was an adj. modifying "time". However, someone told me that it was an adv. modifying "how" you spend your time.
You were correct. "to do your homework" is acting as an adjective modifying "time." One way you know this is that even if you think of it as "how" you spend your time, it is still modifying the word "time", which is a noun in this sentence. Since adjectives are the ONLY thing that can modify a noun, it is an adjective. 
BlackBlitz"You lack the strength to resist"
"To resist" modifys "which strength". But it also make sense to ask "When/how does he lack the strength". When it comes "to resist".
You were correct again, "to resist" is telling us which strength you are lacking- so it is an adjective. Again, it is modifying the word "strength" which is a noun, so it must be an adjective.
BlackBlitzYou can also change the structure.
"I have book to him"
This would be, "I gave a book to him."
BlackBlitzHoweer, what about verbs such as "to say" and "to explain"
Remember that these verbs have a "to" in front of them, so they are actually infinitives (which means they are nouns, adjectives, or adverbs), not verbs.
BlackBlitz"I said something to him" = right
I said him something = wrong

I explained a lesson to him = right
I explained him a lesson = wrong...
These are very clever! I have never thought of this, but it seems that only certain verbs can have indirect objects. You have given two great examples of verbs which cannot! ... I'll have to think about this one some more!

I hope I was of at least some help to you!
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Hi BlackBlitz:
Here is the way I see it. First, change the sentence by using a real adjective to replace the infinitive phrase. Then you can see if the infinitive serves as an adjective. For example:
"You have time to do your homework"
Let's find an adjective that modifies "time". "You have free time." "You have some time." The adjectives also answer the questions about time - what kind of time? How much time? The infinitive phrase serves to answer the same questions, so it is an adj. Next, look at the verb. "have". The infinitve phrase does not really modify "have".
"You lack the strength to resist". This one is a bit harder, but an alternate is: "You lack opposing strength" The words "opposing" or "to resist" are not related to "lack," but the kind or degree of strength that you have. They are adjectives.
Here is a very good article on how to tell the difference between adjectives and adverbs - link
Question 2:
Give is a ditransitive verb. Ditransitive verbs are in a class of verbs that take 2 objects - direct and indirect. The indirect object can follow the verb first, followed by the direct object. These verbs can also be used in the monotransitive form, with the direct object after the verb, followed by the prepositional phrase to / for + object. (I told him a story; I told a story to him)

Explain is a monotransitive verb, and only takes a direct object. Follow this link: ditransitive verbs for examples and a list of ditransitive verbs.

 CalifJim's reply was promoted to an answer.
I followed all this, but here is a construction I have had trouble with:

He asked her to dance.  

We permitted them to go.

What are the HER and THEM?

What are TO DANCE and TO GO?

I almost decided that the whole "her to dance" and "them to go" were direct objects.  But please someone chime in!

Thanks,

Cypress
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Hello Cypress,

You are right. The infinitive phrases <i>her to dance</i> and <i>them to go</i> are direct objects. 

The pronouns <i>her</i> and <i>them</i> are acting as the subjects of the infinitive phrases. It seems kind of funny for them to have subjects because they are nouns, but, they are kind of special nouns. Because they have some "verb-ness" from the verbs <i>dance</i> and <i>go</i>, infinitives can take subjects.

The subject of an infinitive is always in the objective case. (Hence, <i>her</i> and <i>them</i> instead of <i>she</i> and <i>they</i>.)

I hope that all made sense! 

Elizabeth
Oops! I thought that I could use the html tag <i>, but I guess I was wrong. Sorry about that.
Hi Elizabeth

Re: 'He asked her to dance'.

That was a great reply to something that I too was unsure about. If I understand you correctly, that example is analysed as: 'He - asked - [her to dance]' i.e. S-V-[O], where O is an infinitive phrase (or nonfinite subordinate clause) analysed as 'her - to dance' i.e. S-V.

But there is another type of infinitive construction that concerns me. Although finite verb clause elements can often be quite long: 'must have been sleeping', 'shouldn't have been running' etc., clearly we would not attempt split such sequences - they're single verb units and that's that. But in a two-verb sequence where one verb is an infinitive, I'm not sure if it can (or ought to) be split into two units (i.e. two clause elements) for analysis purposes. For example, the sequence 'to stop using' with its infinitive and a participle - is this always seen as a single unit, or can it be two: 'to stop' + 'using'.

I ask this specifically because I'm unsure how to analyse this sentence: 'The boss forced us workers to stop using it'. Superficially, analysis looks simple: 'The boss - forced - [us workers to stop using it]' i.e. S-V-[O], where the infinitive phrase 'us workers to stop using it' is the direct object of the verb 'forced' and, within the direct object, the single verb phrase 'to stop using' has 'it' as its direct object, and 'us workers' as its subject i.e. S-V-O.

But can (or should) that example be analysed a different way by seeing the infinitive ('to stop') and participle ('using') as individual verb units? If so, things gets complicated and I'm not sure how the analysis would work.

The same question applies to examples like 'I can't afford to date her', again with an infinitive and another verb, but this time the infinitive is preceded by the other verb.

If I may, there's another forms of the infinitive which I'd like to ask you about:

1. 'I told him to leave the house'. Where the verb is changed to 'told', I sense a subtle difference from the above example because here 'him' looks like an indirect object. If that's correct, the infinitive phrase this time would still be a direct object (of 'told') but it would exclude the pronoun 'him' and simply be 'to leave the house'. The analysis of the sentence would then appear to be 'I - told - him - [to leave the house]' i.e. S-V-Oi-Od

Nevertheless, the distinction is subtle and I'm not sure if in my analysis is safe. Could you please explain how that works?

Many thanks in advance

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Hello,

We don't split verb phrases like "must have been sleeping" because the whole phrase is acting together as the verb. (But, in this example, you could choose to see "sleeping" as a gerund acting as the predicate noun and "must have been" as a linking verb phrase- you can choose.)
AnonymousBut in a two-verb sequence where one verb is an infinitive, I'm not sure if it can (or ought to) be split into two units (i.e. two clause elements) for analysis purposes. For example, the sequence 'to stop using' with its infinitive and a participle - is this always seen as a single unit, or can it be two: 'to stop' + 'using'.
AnonymousYou refer to these as "two-verb sequences," but remember that infinitives and participles are NOT verbs. They are two "separate units" if you like to think of them like that because they are not acting together.

"To stop" is an infinitive (which could be acting as a noun, adjective, or adverb) and "using" is the direct object of the infinitive, which also happens to be a gerund. Neither of them are really verbs.

For your other sentences:

"The boss forced us workers to stop using it."

"us workers to stop using it" is all acting as an infinitive phrase- the direct object of the verb "forced."

"us workers" is the subject of the infinitive "to stop" (see my post above about subjects of verbals), and "using it" is a gerund acting as the direct object of "to stop."

"He can't afford to date her."

"To date her" is the infinitive phrase acting as the direct object of "can afford," (her is the direct object of the infinitive)

"I told him to leave the house."

"him to leave the house" is an infinitive phrase acting as the direct object of "told". "him" is the subject of the infinitive, "to leave" is the infinitive and "house" is the direct object of the infinitive.

Knowing how to diagram these would probably help! You can learn sentence diagramming on my website, http://www.english-grammar-revolution.com

This page is specifically about verbals:

http://www.english-grammar-revolution.com/verbals.html

Although it may not be as in-depth as you are looking for. You can always use the "contact" form on my site if you have a question that's not answered there.

Cheers,
Elizabeth

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