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Dear teachers,

Would you please tell me how you would parse the sentences below ?

I want to work on my writing essay this afternoon.
I would like to work on my writing essay this afternoon.

Parts of speech :
I = personal pronoun
want / like = main / lexical (synonyms ?) verbs
to work = infinitive verb
OR
to = infinitive particle or something else ?
work = bare infinitive ?
on = preposition...

Function :
I = subject
want / would like = transitive verbs ?
to work on my writing essay (infinitive clause) = direct object ?

Then comes the sentence with "have + to + verb" where "to + verb..." is considered an infinitive clause, which makes the verb "have" a main verb and not a modal ??

"I'm sorry but there's a handsome man in my spoon. You'll have to come back later."

Function:
You = subject
will have to come back = intransitive verb (phrase)
later = time adverbial ?

Sorry, but these approaches really puzzle me.
Thank you for your help.
Comments  
Hi;

Want and like are catenative verbs that are followed by an infinitive phrase, which serves as the object (verb complement). Here is an excellent reference for these special English verbs:
http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Appendix:English_catenative_verbs

Have to is different. It is considered a modal auxiliary meaning "must". Analyze "have to" as a modal verb.
And what would be the function of :

I have to work on my writing essay this afternoon.

I = subject
have = transitive verb ?
to work on my essay = direct object ?
OR
have to = transitive verb (phrase)
work on... = direct object ?
OR
have to work = intransitive verb
on my essay = ??

Thanks again
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I have to work on writing my essay this afternoon.

I = subject
have to work on = verb phrase consisting of a modal auxiliary (have to) and the bare infinitive of the phrasal verb (work on)
writing my essay = direct object (or verb complement); consisting of the gerund (writing) and its object (or complement), the noun phrase "my essay"
this afternoon = adverb
You are bringing up again, among other things, the question of how to label 'have to' that Bill and I are discussing in another thread. I am afraid you'll find that there is little agreement on this.

For most learners, labelling is not important. The important problem for learners is how to use the structure, not how to label it. Unless your teacher is one of those people who think labelling is more imprtant than actually using the language, you don't have to worry about this. If your teacher is a labeller, then there is little point in worrying about what is the 'correct' system - follow your teacher's system. S/he will penalise you if you don't.
fivejedjonI am afraid you'll find that there is little agreement on this.
Yes, it seems that grammarians love to debate endlessly on how to (or not) label things.
Fifty years ago, there was a traditional grammar that everyone learned. Most dictionary entries and beginning grammar books are based on this "traditional grammar". In the latter part of the 20th century, "modern linguists" invented new ways of looking at lexical analysis and describing language. They have disputed much of what was taught in traditional grammar. But still most educators at the elementary or high school level today use some form of traditional grammar. And that is generally what I base my replies on.

If you get to be a PhD linguist, then you can join in the debate on labeling and terminology.
But until then, just follow your teacher and textbook!
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AlpheccaStarsFifty years ago, there was a traditional grammar that everyone learned.
Things appeared simpler then. However, looking back through the text book I used in the 1950s, and also through some late 19th century school books I have, I have noticed that none of the problem areas that fascinate grammar-anoraks (such as I Emotion: embarrassed) were ever included in the exercises. It seems that even the traditional prescriptive grammarians of those days were aware that their 'systems' and rules did not cover everything. They just closed their eyes and minds to things that didn't fit.
fivejedjonIt seems that even the traditional prescriptive grammarians of those days were aware that their 'systems' and rules did not cover everything.
Right. These artifacts were just treated as anomalies and exceptions. Every "rule" had exceptions, as in most all human endeavors. And that's probably one of the reasons why machine translation is so tricky and difficult.