I wonder about the usage of word “to” in the following sentences: In the first example, the first phrase before ‘to say’ is a full sentence and in the second example it follows an adjective. I can understand the second one but I was mistakenly writing "that's really hurts to saying..." but I don't know why we can’t use preposition here instead of infinitive form. Also I think that hurt is a intransitive verb so that it cant take infinitive verb as an object. So in my opinion the first sentence must be wrong in this perspective.

  1. It really hurts to say that is correct.

  2. It is hard to say goodbye.

  • 1. is ungrammatical: the genitive that's (meaning that is) makes no sense at all. You need the extraposition construction like the one in 2 It really hurts to say that is correct.
    – BillJ
    Feb 14, 2021 at 8:27
  • @BillJ You’re right. I need to change the first sentence. But I still wonder what is the difference of these two ‘to’ in functioning.can you explain the difference ? Also i think hurts is intransitive verb so it can not be used with infinitives Am I correct? Feb 14, 2021 at 8:54
  • They both have the same construction in which "to" is a subordinator functioning as a marker of subordination: The to infinitival clauses are called extraposed subjects. Yes: "hurt" is intransitive here.
    – BillJ
    Feb 14, 2021 at 9:11
  • You could rephrase the first one as "It is really painful to say that is correct", which gives it the same structure as the second. Feb 14, 2021 at 9:13
  • The basic (non-extraposed) versions would be To say that it is correct really hurts, / To say goodbye is hard , where the infinitival clauses are subjects.
    – BillJ
    Feb 14, 2021 at 9:17

1 Answer 1


[1] It really hurts [to say that is correct].

[2] It is hard [to say goodbye].

These are both extraposition constructions where the bracketed infinitival clauses are in extraposed position, outside the verb phrase.

The bracketed expressions are both to-infinitivals where "to" is a subordinator functioning as a marker for the infinitival verb phrases.

The basic (non-extraposed) versions would be

[3] [To say that it is correct] really hurts.

[4] [To say goodbye] is hard.

where this time the bracketed infinitival clauses are subjects.

  • It was a very good explanation. Now it is very clear to me. You end my brain suffering thank you :) Also, I tried to write a sentence by using 'that' this time to extrapose. Is the following sentence grammatically correct? "It really hurts that you say goodbye." Feb 14, 2021 at 10:49
  • @cerenaksengur Yes, it is OK.
    – BillJ
    Feb 14, 2021 at 11:09

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