1

Is the infinitive phrase ‘to adjust to the NBA’ modifying the adjective ‘difficult’ or it is in apposition with the subject ‘It’?

It was not difficult for LeBron to adjust to the NBA.

2

Analyzing the grammar, "difficult" is a so-called "predicate adjective" modifying "it". But "it" does refer to the phrase,"for LeBron to adjust to the NBA". So I would say that, in meaning, it is the other way around. "Difficult" modifies the concept : "for LeBron to adjust to the NBA."

  • Thanks. Will it be correct, if we rephrase the sentence as “For LeBron to adjust to the NBA was not difficult” – Opel Feb 7 at 13:02
  • Yes. Either of the 2 sentences (starting with "For", or starting with "It") is fine. If you start with "For", then the predicate adjective "difficult" modifies directly the clause, "For LeBron .... NBA". – Lorel C. Feb 7 at 15:19
0

It's not in apposition.  It might be in extraposition. 

To adjust to the NBA was not difficult for LeBron.

This is a valid, grammatically sound interpretation of the original sentence.  It happens to be the interpretation that I prefer.  However, the infinitive phrase on its own is not the only possible extraposition:

For LeBron to adjust to the NBA was not difficult. 

This version has an unusual structure.  It seems to have a prepositional phrase as its subject. 

Both possibilities above treat some constituent in extraposition as the postcedent of a referential "it".  Another possibility is to regard this "it" as a semantically empty subject, the dummy it.  Under this interpretation, the entire phrase "[not] difficult for LeBron to adjust to the NBA" is a subject complement and a part of the predicate, with nothing acting as an extraposed subject. 

English grammar contains ambiguities.  The adverb "not", for example, might modify the verb "was" or it might modify the adjective "difficult".  Both interpretation are available, and we cannot reasonably claim that only one of them is correct. 

Is the infinitive phrase a modifier of the adjective "difficult", or is an extraposition of the subject?  Both interpretations are available, and we cannot reasonably claim that only one of them is correct. 

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