1

I am reading uses of infinitive from a grammar book and two sentences are written in it, that are

  1. He started weeping seeing his father. (x) And
  2. He started weeping to see his father. (✓)

My concern is this if i say a sentence

  1. He started to weep seeing his father. Or
  2. He started to weep to see his father.

My concern is if 3rd and 4th having correct use of infinitive 'to', if not then what is the rule to make it grammatically correct sentence ?

2
  • None of these sentences are idiomatic and their meanings aren't entirely clear. Is the third sentence different in meaning? I don't know what the meaning of the second sentence is supposed to be. I would have assumed it was the same as (what I'm guessing is) the meaning of the third sentence. Is the second sentence supposed to mean, he started weeping when he saw his father, or he started weeping because he wanted to see his father?
    – Juhasz
    Dec 5, 2018 at 22:37
  • Yes 2nd is 'He started weeping because he wanted to see his father'. Dec 7, 2018 at 18:53

2 Answers 2

1

He started weeping seeing his father.

This is equivalent to saying "He started weeping upon seeing his father".

He started weeping to see his father.

This is equivalent to saying "He started weeping in order to see his father".

What this means is that to here isn't taken as a marker of the infinitive but instead has it's prepositional meaning - one of the many meanings of X to Y is "X is done as a prerequisite so that Y can be done afterward*.

That's because using an infinitive at that point in the sentence doesn't work (He started weeping upon to see his father definitely doesn't work).


For both sentences it's the same if you replace weeping with to weep.

0

Hmm, there's nothing in #2 that implies that he wanted to see his father. The word "weep" doesn't carry that force. #1 means "He started weeping when he saw his father" as in, "Seeing his father, he started weeping." #2 sounds like it's trying to say the same as #1, but it's a misuse of the infinitive. #3 means the same as #1 as in "Seeing his father, he started to weep." #4 is incorrect for the same reason as #2. The grammar book likely doesn't understand the precise usage of "weep" so its example doesn't make any sense. If you change the verb to "want" as in, "He started wanting seeing his father" the point of the lesson becomes clear: "He started wanting seeing his father" is incorrect whereas "He started wanting to see his father" is correct.

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