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Hello,


I'd like to take your help with the structure "to be too + adjective + infinitive", please.

Are all of these sentences correct and do they mean the same?

1. This coffee is too sweet to be drunk.

1.1. This coffee is too sweet to drink.

2. These shoes are too big to be worn.

2.1. These shoes are too big to wear.


Thank you!

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LaboriousAre all of these sentences correct and do they mean the same?

They are all correct. But coffee is not shoes, so they don't all mean the same thing, obviously. Within each pair the meaning is the same.

With a sentence like "The chicken is ready to eat" there is ambiguity, but in most cases we use the active infinitive even if it has passive meaning.

In your sentences it's true that the intention is for the coffee to be drunk and for the shoes to be worn, but the reader will know from common sense that the coffee isn't drinking anything and the shoes aren't wearing anything even when you use the active infinitive. Use 1.1 and 2.1.

CJ

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Obviously, 1.1 and 2.1 are fine.

But why do you want to use 1 and 2?

Do you realise that they are passive clauses?

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Thank you for your reply, sir! And, yes, I knew they were passive clauses. I thought there would be some difference between 1 and 1.1, and between 2 and 2.1.
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Thank you, too, teacher CJ! I got that.

I'd like to ask you people one more thing, please. When should we use the construction "to be + adjective + for someone + infinitive clause"?

For example, I want to say that someone is too young to be married to me. Can I say: "You are too young for me to get married"?

Or should I say "You are too young for me to get married to me"?


If neither of my sentences is correct, please suggest what I should use for that context.

LaboriousYou are too young for me to get married to me.

This won't work. It sounds like you are going to marry yourself!

You say that with a lot fewer words:

You are too young for me to marry.


Other examples:

This video goes too fast for me to enjoy.
The candy looked too tasty for Tommy to resist.
The rules are too complex for customers to understand.
Most fertilizers release nutrients too fast for the crops to use.
The suitcase was too large for Johnson to store in the overhead bin.

In each case the subject of the sentence also acts as the object of the infinitive at the end.

You can rewrite these as follows without changing the meaning:

I cannot enjoy this video because it goes too fast.
Tommy could not resist the candy because it looked too tasty.

(I'll leave the others for you to work out.)

CJ

Laborious Thank you for your reply, sir! And, yes, I knew they were passive clauses. I thought there would be some difference between 1 and 1.1, and between 2 and 2.1.

That is the difference.

Your passive examples are not at all natural. They can, however, be improved somewhat by the addition of a dependent:

This coffee is too sweet to be drunk by anyone on a low-calorie diet.

These shoes are too big to be worn on a daily basis


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Thank you, once again!

I'm trying to work out the others. Could you please check them when you are free?

- Customers can't understand the rules because they're too complex.

- Most crops can't use the fertilizers because they release nutrients too fast.

Johnson could not store the suitcase in the overhead bin because it was too large.

LaboriousCould you please check them when you are free?

They're fine except for the misplacement of 'most' in the second one.

The crops can't use most fertilizers because they release the nutrients too fast.

CJ