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. – Kate Bunting Sep 24 '20 at 12:38
  • @KateBunting Is it not an infinitive acting as a noun? – Dhanishtha Ghosh 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? – Michael Harvey 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. – Dhanishtha Ghosh 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.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.