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I am trying to diagram this sentence:

This is the last call for passengers to board Flight 139 at Gate 57.

Here is my specific problem: I'm not sure "to board Flight 139" here is either attribute or complement (esp. "for passengers", I do not know the role it plays in this sentence in structure "for somebody to do something").

Can anyone explain how this might work grammatically?

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Notice that all three sentences:

This is the last call for passengers.
This is the last call to board Flight 139.
This is the last call at Gate 57.

Are all correct and the final phrases all mean much the same as in the the full sentence. This suggests that each phrase is independent of the others, and in particular "to board flight 139" is not an adjunct of "passengers".

  • thank you. so the "to board Flight 139" is complement. – momsta Jul 21 at 18:24
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I have checked some material which says "for somebody to do something" is a compound structure used to be attribute such as "It’s time for everybody to go to bed." So in this example (This is the last call for passengers to board Flight 139 at Gate 57.) this is the subject; is the predicate; the last call is the predicative or complement for subject; and for passengers to board Flight 139 at Gate 57 is the attributive. is that right? and I wonder if "for passengers to board Flight 139 at Gate 57" could be divided intensively?

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To make it more cognizable let us take up the pattern where we have the preposional complementation by the infinitive clause: "The stewardess called for the passengers to board the plane". Here we are dealing with monotransitive complementation by the nonfinite clause. In this case the construction is that of a preposional verb "call for" and the infinitive clause acting as prepositional object.

To verify this:

  1. You can replace the infinitive clause by a pronoun or noun phrase: The stewardess called for it; The stewardess called for the boarding of the plane.
  2. It can be an answer to a what-question: What did the stewardess call for? ... for the passengers to board the plane. (In cases of the complex transitive complementation - "The stewardess called the passengers to board the plane", you can't say: What did she call?, you can ask: Whom did she call to board the plane? - she called the passengers).
  3. It can easily be the focus of a pseudo-cleft sentence: What the stewardess called for was for the passengers to board the plane.
  4. Being an object, the infinitive clause can become a subject in the passive: "For the passangers to board the plane is called for".
  5. When the object of the infinitive clause, which is "the plane", is turned into the passive form, there is no change of meaning: "The stewardess called for the plane to be boarded by the passengers". (You can't transform "The stewardess called the passengers to board the plane" into "The stewardess called the plane to be boarded by the passengers").
  6. In a reduced construction the infinitive marker "to" remains: "The stewardess called for the passengers to". It does not have the same meaning as: "The stewardess called for the passengers" (which means that she demanded that the passengers should come up to her).

As regards your original sentense there is an important difference to be discerned. For example: "This is the last call for the stewardess to give forth", where the nonfinite clause is an attribute (postmodifier) and the predicative (the last call for the stewardess to give forth) acts as a subject complement. But in your pattern the nonfinite clause is rather a relative clause of purpose functioning as an adverbial modifier of purpose. You can ask: "What is the last call intended for" - "It is intended for the passengers to board the flight".

  • thanks for your answer. I remember that Merriam Webster's Advanced Learner's Dictionary once said difference existed between "vt. for somebody to do something" and "vt. somebody to do something" is the difference of US English vs British English. (I can't recall the example though even the word for Vt. (transitive verb)). What's in your mind about it. – momsta Jul 21 at 18:09
  • call for something (to indicate that something is needed) could be used to explain sentence above. how about cause is regarded as causative verb in "The stewardess called the passengers to board the plane" (call [+obj] - 3a to order someone to come). Dose that make sense? and then the passengers is the object and the to board the plane is the complement. and "for" here which may be omitted is only traced from US vs British English differences. – momsta Jul 21 at 18:31
  • This question may appear to be more sophisticated than it seems. "call for" is an intransitive prepositional verb (also called an intransitive phrasal verb with the preposition) which takes a prepositional object, whereas "call" is a transitive verb taking a direct object. These two verbs differ in meaning. When you say:"The stewardess called (summoned) the passengers to board the plane", we have the complex transitive complementation where "the passengers" is the direct object of the superordinate clause and the infinitive clause is the object complement. – Eugene Jul 22 at 13:32
  • At the same time "the passengers" behaves like a subject in relation to the infinitive verb and therefore is sometimes named the raised object. In a passive construction "the passengers" can become the subject:"The passengers are called to board the plane". But as far as "call for" is concerned, its prepositional object can become a subject in the passive:"(For) the passangers to board the plane is called for" (note that with "call" only "the passengers" is transformed into the subject, while with "call for" the whole prepositional object becomes the subject in the passive). – Eugene Jul 22 at 13:42
  • To comprehend the aforecited better: in the pattern with "call for" the stewardess called for boarding the plane, whereas using "call" the stewardess called (summoned) the passengers (to board the plane or to drink coffee with her or something). – Eugene Jul 22 at 13:45

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