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I am studying English in France and I have to do a grammatical analysis of a phrase that is:

Ah, what would I not have given to have possessed Gatsby's elaborately monogrammed shirts, not have sacrificed if only I could have been so consumed with wonder at a dream come true as to have thrown them in flamboyant offering at the feet of some unattainable girl...

I have to explain the passage in bold. I am so confused with the use of "as to have thrown", I found some explanation about the "AS TO" but never with a verb after it.

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The structure "so consumed with wonder...as to have thrown them" is analogous to "so happy that I could...".

so X as to do Y

so X that it does Y

So ... as is complemented with a clause whose verb is an infinitive.

So ... that is complemented with a clause whose verb is tensed.

He was so enamored of her that he threw his fancy shirts in a pile at her feet and set them on fire.

He was so enamored of her as to throw his fancy shirts in a pile at her feet and set them on fire.

The infinitive refers to the idea of the action, nominally. It is not presented as action that takes place or has taken place or took place or had taken place or will take place or will have taken place. In the that-clause above, the action took place. In the as-clause above, the action is one that could take place or could have taken place, because he was so enamored.

To have thrown is a present perfect infinitive. The perfect infinitive refers to a completed action in hindsight, often philosophically or ruefully. Again, as an infinitive, the action is seen in the abstract, nominally, not as action that actually took place, though it may have taken place.

It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.

The mountain climber sat in his study, his broken foot propped on a chair. To have climbed Mount Everest would be a great accomplishment, he thought. If only he had not broken his foot stumbling on a rock at base camp.

The mountain climber sat in his study, his broken foot propped on a chair. To have climbed Mount Everest is a great accomplishment, he thought. If only I had not broken my foot on the return to base camp, I would be climbing K2 now.

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  • Oh! Ok! How could have I missed it. Thank you a lot, I understand better now. – Victoria Marquis Mar 20 '17 at 14:33

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