I have been thinking about the two sentences below to see whether they are natural or not. I am wondering when an infinitive used as an adjective makes sense or sounds correct.


  • The parent just arrived.
  • The plumber just arrived.


  • The parent will pick up his daughter.
  • The plumber will fix the toilet.

c = a + b

  • The parent to pick up his daughter just arrived.
  • The plumber to fix the toilet just arrived.


I am trying to imitate sentences that I have seen in books and on the Internet about to infinitives used as adjectives.

  • 3
    Your last two examples are possible, where the infinitivals are relative clauses modifying "parent" and "plumber". Btw, just because the infinitivals are modifying nouns doesn't make them adjectives. They are clauses functioning as modifiers. – BillJ Apr 8 '18 at 11:26
  • Why do you want to put "just arrived" at the end, rather than after the subject? Ex "The parent just arrived to pick up his daughter." Your examples are possible but really unnatural in everyday usage. – user3169 Apr 8 '18 at 18:47
  • Thanks BillJ, and @user3169. I know your adverbial rewrite sounds better, but the reason for my question is to see if to-infinitives modifying nouns also work or not. How far I could go with to-infinitives is my goal. – learner Apr 8 '18 at 21:13
  • I have a hunch that to-infinitives sound better with abstract nouns. She has the courage to speak her mind./ The meeting to discuss the recent developments was successful. – learner Apr 8 '18 at 21:25
  • 1
    I wouldn't say that. Infinitival clauses modify concrete nouns quite freely. Compare "You're not the first person to fail the exam"; "I've found a big box to keep the CDs in". – BillJ Apr 9 '18 at 7:04

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