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I read in one grammar book that after except we have to use a bare infinitive. For example:

She had nothing to do except spend money.

But in this dictionary they provide an example with a verb and to. Here it goes:

He wouldn’t talk about work, except to say that he was busy.

I am really confused. Does that mean that the author of the book is wrong or the dicionary is wrong.

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  • Neither is wrong. It simply is just so complex to understand. Feb 25, 2020 at 17:29

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He wouldn’t talk about work, except to say that he was busy.

In this example, "to" means "in order to". He would talk about work [in order] to say that he was busy, but not otherwise.

So here "to" is functioning as something closer to a full preposition rather than simply an infinitive-marking particle.

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