Experts say the drowsiness many of us feel during the day may not be because we had too little sleep at night, but because we need an early afternoon nap. Humans were made to sleep not once, but twice, and a 10-minute nap after lunch will make most of us feel better.

In the sentence

Humans were made to sleep not once, but twice.

the phrase "to sleep not once, but twice" seems to mean not a purpose but a manner so that the sentence can be paraphrased as follows:

Humans were so made that they should sleep not once, but twice.

But, I haven't seen a to-infinitival adverbial clause expressing a manner like this before. Is this use of a to-infinitival clause usual? If so, could you give me some examples?

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    I'm not quite sure what you're asking, but "to verb" simply means "for the purpose of verbing" or "so that it will verb". Yes, this is normal and extremely common. The house was built to last; the book is intended to inform students; he went to school to learn.
    – stangdon
    Oct 1, 2017 at 17:59
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    I think OP sees a distinction between "so that it will" and "such that it will", @Stangdon. The question isn't about the former (which is purpose) but the latter (which is merely manner). Oct 1, 2017 at 21:10
  • "so made" is wrong. You have to say: Humans were made so that they should sleep twice, not once. Either to or so that. Or: Human were made in such a manner that they etc.
    – Lambie
    Jun 3, 2019 at 18:25

1 Answer 1


That seems a reasonable question to ask.

The question to ask, the riddle to ponder, the answer to accept, the thing to know, the person to see -- these common phrases don't behave much like they include infinitives of purpose, either.  It's something closer to "appropriateness".

This page on http://www.ef.edu list a few examples of what it seems to regard as infinitives of comment or infinitives of judgment, which is also fairly close to "appropriateness".  Examples include a stupid place to park, a dangerous way to behave and the best person to hire.

We can take the original to mean that sleeping twice is appropriate for the way that humans are made, letting it fall under the category of comment or judgment.

  • Your examples and ones in the page you cited are all modifying a noun. I know they can have various meanings. But, the meanings I know infinitives acting as adverbial clauses have are "purpose", "result", and sometimes "condition".
    – Aki
    Oct 2, 2017 at 20:47
  • Ah. Well, if "result" is on the table, what keeps it from looking like a good fit here? Oct 3, 2017 at 14:37

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