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Hello Teachers

'A Communicative Grammar of English' gives a sentence below as an example of 'a bare infinitive clause with a subject'.
Rather than Joan do it, I'd prefer to do the job myself.
This construct is new to me. Does the sentence above sound more natural to you than the sentence below?
Rather than Joan does it, I'd prefer to do the job myself.
Could you give me more information about 'a bare infinitive clause with a subject'? For example, could you give me any other types of sentences where 'a bare infinitive clause with a subject' is used?

paco
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Comments  
Short answer: "Rather than Joan do it" sounds much more natural than "Rather than Joan does it". In fact, I don't see myself ever using "does" there at all!

I need to think for a while to give you a longer answer to the last part of your question.

CJ
Wow, I've learned one more thing about English. Thank you, Paco and CJ. What is missing, though, is an explanation about why the bare infinitive verb is used there. It's rather unusual, isn't it? Can anybody offer your expertise on this?

Paco, regarding your last question, let me try.

1. It is [essential/necessary/imperative/important/vital/desirable/best/...] that S V ...

2. [verbs or nouns with the concept of demand, whether forceful or weak] that S V...

= [order/command/demand/require/request/ask/recommend/advise/suggest/insist/declare/plead/

instruct/necessitate/prefer...] that S V ...

*If any of these verbs don't have the concept of demand, they do not choose a root form.'suggest'

and 'insist' are good examples.

3. [on condition/with the intent] that S V ... *Note: The root form of a verb is optional.

4. lest that S V ...

.........................................

A few example sentences are retrieved from my personal database.

[vital]
It is vital that a record of the past be kept so that people have a sense of their history.

[ask] She asked her name not be identified.

[necessitate]
The dog's declining health necessitated that he be administered medication daily.

[ensure]
Being a rebel was one way for Mel Gibson to ensure that he not get lost in
such a large brood.

I hope this is what you want, Paco.The list could be lengthened by others.

Have a great day!
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I can imagine saying "rather than have Joan do it, I'd prefer to do it myself"; but the "bare infinitive" version sounds quite strange to me.

Is it AmE? How does it parse?

MrP
It is a correct form but you won't find many native English speakers using it, even in writing. We'd phrase it some other way.
Rather than Joan do it, I'd prefer to do it myself
It sounds strange to me. For instance, what pronoun would we use instead of "Joan"?

1. ?Rather than she do it, I'd prefer to do it myself.

2. ?Rather than her do it, I'd prefer to do it myself.

How do we parse these?

MrP
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"Rather than Joan do it..." sounds very strange to me too. I wouldn't claim it as an American variation! I would say "rather than have Joan do it..." (or "rather than have her do it...").
Instead of "Joan", use "she" (or rephrase!). Still, "her" works, too. The "rather than" construction usually doesn't have an expressed subject, though, does it? That way, 99% of the time, we are not burdened with making that choice. This seems an informal way of talking.

Rather than wait for help, I think I'll do it myself.
Rather than sit around like a useless dummy, he got busy and helped with the chores.
They decided to walk rather than take the train.

CJ
I can imagine saying "rather than have Joan do it, I'd prefer to do it myself"; but the "bare infinitive" version sounds quite strange to me.

And what, pray tell, is "have", but a bare infinitive? Emotion: smile

I think your objection, Mr. P., is not the syntax (i.e., the bare infinitive), but (perhaps) the semantics!
On the other hand, maybe your ear wants the subject of the bare infinitive always to be understood as the same as the subject of the main clause.

CJ
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