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Nepal has deployed its army special forces to help in the search for four hikers.


The function of ‘to help in the search for four hikers’ is like ‘I am here to see you’ and here ‘to see you’ functions as an adverb phrase or like ‘I have a friend to help me’ and here ‘to help me’ functions as an adjective phrase that modifies ‘a friend’.

Or both are possible and carry the same meaning in the end?

What do you native English speakers?

Thank you so much as usual.

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Consider the infinitive "to go" in these sentences. There are many ways to use the to-infinitive.

1. Kem was talking on her cell phone in the movie theater. The manager asked her to go.
2. Kem decided to treat her team to lunch. She went to the local pizza place and got three 16-inch pizzas to go.
3. Kem's idea of a good time is to go window shopping.
4. Kem invited her friend to a party. But sadly, her friend was sick and it was not possible for her to go.
5. Kem wanted to find somewhere to go where everybody would be nice to her.
6. Kem had to unlock the door in order to go out.

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[1] Nepal has deployed its army special forces to help in the search for four hikers.

[2] I have a friend to help me.


Infinitival clauses have a wide range of functions, such as subject, complement, adjunct in clause, modifier in NP etc. In your examples, the underlined infinitival clause in [1] functions as a purpose adjunct in clause structure. In [2] it functions as an infinitival relative clause in noun phrase structure, where it modifies "friend".

Note that the infinitivals are clauses, not phrases.

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Thank you so much.

The meaning of a purpose adjunct is adjective or adverbial?

Hans51

The meaning of a purpose adjunct is adjective or adverbial?

Adjuncts are sometimes called adverbials.

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 AlpheccaStars's reply was promoted to an answer.
BillJNote that the infinitivals are clauses, not phrases.

That piqued my curiosity because I always considered infinitives to be phrases.

CalifJim mentions that these two terms, infinitive phrase and infinitive clause, can be used interchangeably. Please see here:

https://www.englishforums.com/English/InfinitiveClausesPhrases/nzwhr/post.htm


Here'a quote from The Chicago Manual of Style:


5.109: Dangling infinitive

An infinitive phrase can be used, often loosely, to modify a verb—in which case the sentence must have a grammatical subject (or an unexpressed subject of an imperative) that could logically perform the action of the infinitive.

. . . (A sentence with a dangling infinitive is presented, but I have not included it in the quote.)

But if the sentence is rewritten as To repair your car properly, you must take it to a mechanic, the logical subject is you.



Perhaps this is just semantics. Anyway, I was curious, so I did some digging around. That's always a good thing.

No, it's not about semantics.

Infinitivals are clauses because they have a subject-predicate structure even though the subject is not usually overtly expressed, but is recoverable from elsewhere in the sentence, or from the context.

The same applies to the other categories of non-finite clauses, i.e. gerund-participials and past-participials.

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Thank you, BillJ, for responding to my question.

After some research, I am going to continue referring to infinitive phrases as phrases. That said, I understand and appreciate your argument. In short, I agree with CalifJim that the two terms can be used interchangeably. Let me explain.


I am trying my best to align my thinking with that of The Chicago Manual of Style.

Quoting from CMOS:


5.225: Clauses

A clause is a grammatical unit that contains a subject, a finite verb, and any complements that the verb requires.


I note that the definition says “contains.” As we have seen from the dangling infinitive example in my prior post, the infinitive phase does not contain a subject. Instead, it is implied from the main clause or overall context.



If I then go to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, I see the following definition for "clause":


1 : a group of words containing a subject and predicate and functioning as a member of a complex (see COMPLEX entry 2 sense 1b(2)) or compound (see COMPOUND entry 2 sense 3b) sentence

// The sentence "When it rained they went inside" consists of two clauses: "when it rained" and "they went inside."


Again, I note that the key term “containing.”


If I go to American Heritage Dictionary, I see the following definition for clause:


  1. Grammar A group of words containing a subject and a predicate and forming part of a compound or complex sentence.

Again, I see “containing.”


Yet if we look at Wikipedia, we note the following for “Infinitive ”:


Infinitive phrases often have an implied grammatical subject making them effectively clauses rather than phrases.


This quote supports your assertion that infinitives are clauses.



As shown in my prior response where I discussed dangling infinitives, CMOS refers to infinitive phrases as phrases. I am trying to align my style and terminology to match that of CMOS.

As mentioned at the outset of my reply, I understand and appreciate your argument. Thank you, once again, for taking the time and effort to respond.