The first sentence can be paraphrased 'She wants something' which tells me that the infinitive acts as a noun. Can someone explain in detail how to categorise 'to marry' in the second sentence. Does it still act as a noun and if so, why?

She wants to marry.

She wants to marry him.

  • 2
    It's a verb in both sentences. You can want to do something as well as wanting a thing. Sep 24 '20 at 12:38
  • @KateBunting Is it not an infinitive acting as a noun? Sep 24 '20 at 12:44
  • 'to marry', seen on its own, is a verb, I agree with you, but it doesn't function as one in the example sentences. I'd argue that 'want' is the only verb.
    – Jörg
    Sep 24 '20 at 13:05
  • I want to run, I need to sleep, I hope to win. What are run, sleep, and hope if not verbs here? Sep 24 '20 at 14:31
  • @MichaelHarvey But when I read this article, english-grammar-revolution.com/infinitive.html, it has several examples of infinitives. I am totally confused. Sep 24 '20 at 14:39

Both examples use the phrase "to marry" as a verb, since one must perform an action to become married (a state of being).

However, the second sentience adds an identifier, allowing the reader to understand that the subject wants to marry someone in particular. The first phrase could have the context that she likes the idea of marriage and would like to be married.

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