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Need advice, please. Trying to explain why not to use the "to infinitive"

I got the question after it was read in a textbook.

"The queen, what she does her entire life is lay eggs"

"lay" is used here as a bare infinitive because it used after the auxiliary verb "does", right?

Why would "to" be added if the sentence is changed to:

"The thing which she does her entire life is to lay eggs."

Does the rule still apply?

To simplify:

The thing which she does is to lay eggs.

What she does is lay eggs.

What am I missing here?

Any help would be appreciated.

  • It looks more like the suffix '-s' is missing (lays) than 'to'. It can be just a typo in the book. – Yellow Sky Jun 10 '20 at 2:45
  • @YellowSky there's no -s suffix because its an infinitive. – phoog Jun 10 '20 at 3:17
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    Pubwie: frankly, I find both sentences equally correct and equally slightly awkward whether they end with a to infinitive or a bare infinitive. I would recommend not spending too much time or energy on it. (For context, I'm a native speaker of US English with far-greater-than-average exposure to UK English and the English of non-native speakers from the European continent.) – phoog Jun 10 '20 at 3:22
  • thanks for the response. That thread does help indeed. However, it doesn't quite show how the "to" infinitives are optional in the above-mentioned examples as Jack suggests. – Pubwie Jun 10 '20 at 4:34
  • I posted here as well: forum.wordreference.com/threads/… – Pubwie Jun 10 '20 at 23:56
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What allows the bare infinitival in all of your example sentences isn't "does", but the specifying "be". It is used to specify or identify the referent of "what" or "the thing". That "be" appears in these sentences as "is". In all your examples, "to" is optional.

Other examples:
What they do is [to] make trouble.
What a good worker does is [to] get to work on time.
What she did was [to] think very clearly.

  • You are right, I should've looked at 'be'. How is it optional to use "to" in this regard? For example, if grammarly on chrome is anything to go by: Typing: "what she does her entire life is lay eggs" it shows no issues. However, this sentence without "to", it picks it up as incorrect: "The thing which she does her entire life is to lay eggs." - fine "The thing which she does her entire life is lay eggs." - not fine – Pubwie Jun 10 '20 at 4:04
  • I'm not familiar with "grammarly on chrome". At this point, I think it's just wrong. – Jack O'Flaherty Jun 10 '20 at 4:07
  • Thanks for the feedback Jack. I posted here as well: forum.wordreference.com/threads/… – Pubwie Jun 10 '20 at 23:57

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