What grammatical function/part of speech is "to pay" in the sentence below? Is it a verb?

The package would provide large numbers of Americans with assistance to pay for healthcare.

  • I'm not convinced the cited example is syntactically valid. Certainly it's far more idiomatically expressed as ...with assistance [in] paying for healthcare. But whichever verb form is used (infinitive or continuous participle), it's a (syntactically if not semantically optional) adverbial element - modifying the noun assistance. Nov 5, 2021 at 17:12
  • @FumbleFingers I didn't know adverbs could modify nouns. I thought adverbs could only modify adjectives, adverbs, or verbs. And I thought only adjectives modify nouns.
    – Anna
    Nov 5, 2021 at 20:02
  • This sentence above is poorly-written at best, word salad at worst. I'd look for a better example of what you want to find out. Nov 5, 2021 at 20:31
  • I'm not really interested in trying to create a sharp dividing line between "adverb" and "adjective", but I suppose it's possible to say that the sequence to pay for healthcare adjectivally modifies the noun assistance - as would be the case if we preceded the noun by an obvious adjective immediate. On the other hand, if we follow that noun with, say, tomorrow it looks to me like adverbial modification of the verb provide. I could easily go with the idea that to pay for healthcare adverbially modifies provide in much the same way, but I don't know. Nov 6, 2021 at 13:46


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