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I think use of infinitive forms as reducted relative clauses is advanced level of English (many grammar books and sites that I've read don't contain this topic) but I've just wanted to make permanent my knowledge and wanted you to help people wondering this grammar topic by checking my knowledge.

First link about using infinitives as reducted relative clauses (Section in the link: "Nonfinite relative clauses"): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_relative_clauses#Nonfinite_relative_clauses

Grammar topic no 1 ("to + v1" as "that + should + be + v3" OR "that + will + be + v3"):

As far as I understand, an infinitive form that comes after implied, unvoiced relative pronoun (after a noun) and doesn't have an object after it means "that should be v3" OR "that will be v3". (see article 2 in "Nonfinite relative clauses" section)

-Am I right above sentence?

I think the equalities that I wrote below are correct but I want you to check for them.

He is the man to rely on = He is the man that should be relied on OR He is the man that will be relied on (Are these equalities correct?)

-Can this structure be diversified like below?

My examples: 1-"I know a man to rely on because of his words." 2-"I think he is a man to rely on because he has told the truth most times." 3-"She is a woman to admire for her eyes."

Grammar topic no 2 ("to + v1" as "that + will + v1 + obj"):

It says "infinitive clauses modifying the subject of the infinitive verb" (see article 3 in "Nonfinite relative clauses" section) (a bit of confusing but I think it means "infinitives modifying the noun before itself and taking object after itself")

Am I right above sentence?

Original example: "She is the person to save the company." = She is the person that will save the company. (Am I right?)

If object "the company" is removed ("She is the person to save"), the sentence's meaning is changing as "She is the person that will be saved". (Am I right?)

I think this is a wrong example for both of these grammar topics: "I thought they have missed the plane to fly to Madagascar" (this sentence is a wrong example for these two grammar topics because these structures need a transitive infinitive form (taking object) and the verb fly is an intransitive verb) (Am I right?)

Meaning of above example sentence: "I thought they have missed the plane in order to fly to Madagascar" (Am I right?)

Second link about using infinitives as reducted relative clauses (Section in the link: "After there is, there are"): https://dictionary.cambridge.org/grammar/british-grammar/infinitive-active-or-passive

In this site, they've also told the structure that I've written in Grammar topic no 1 in section "After there is, there are".

My questions about this link:

Question 1- Have they restricted this structure as a thing that is only used with "There is, there are" ? (we've seen exm. sentences without "there is / there are" in the wikipedia link) Example from the cambridge link: "Come on! There’s work to do. or Come on! There’s work to be done."

Question 2- In the link, they've written there is very small difference between "to do" and "to be done" (interchangeable structures). Then, can I use "to + be + v3" instead of "to + v1"?

For example: "You have to chop the woods to be chopped" OR "He is the man to be relied on" (Are these examples correct?)

Thanks already now.

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  • Could you please simplify your question and put a sample question after every grammar point you make? Thanks.
    – Lambie
    Commented Sep 29, 2022 at 18:24
  • @Lambie I've editted the post. You can answer the question if you want, thank you. Commented Sep 29, 2022 at 18:56
  • It is still quite confusing. For example: //"She is the person to save the company." = She is the person that will save the company. (Am I right?)// Those sentences mean different things. And "She is the person who will be saved" is a different meaning. I cannot figure out what your issue(s) are exactly.
    – Lambie
    Commented Sep 29, 2022 at 19:21
  • "infinitive forms as reduced relative clauses. " The infinitive has nothing to do with reducing a clause (removing the that). "that x" as a clauses comes after a noun, usually.
    – Lambie
    Commented Sep 29, 2022 at 19:23
  • "She is the person to save the company." - "to save the company" is an object (person) complement. It is understood as "She is the person who, in my opinion, will be the one who will save the company."... Although that meaning, particularly the tenses, could change with context.
    – user81561
    Commented Sep 29, 2022 at 20:30

1 Answer 1

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[1] She is the person [ ___ to save the company].

[2] He is the man [to be relied on ___ ].

You are on the right lines, but it is misleading to call them 'reduced' relative clauses, even though they have no overt relativised element.

They modify nouns and nominals like other relative clauses. Most have a modal meaning comparable with that expressed in finites by "can" and "should", e.g. in [1] the infinitival clause modifies "person" and is comparable to She is the person who can/should save the company.

And in [2] the infinitival clause modifies "man" and is comparable to He is the man who can/should be relied on.

The relativised elements (indicated by the gap notation '____'), here are respectively subject and object of the preposition "on".

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  • Thank you so much. You've used "to be relied on" ("He is the man [to be relied on ___ ]."). Is it a slang or less common to use "to v1" instead of "to be v3" in this structure? Commented Sep 30, 2022 at 14:35
  • @SukruAraci It's fine. I used the passive for variation, but the active "He is the man to rely on" = "He is the man who you can/should rely on" is also fine.
    – BillJ
    Commented Sep 30, 2022 at 16:47
  • @BillJ What's the name for these forms? "Infinitive relative clauses" or...?
    – gotube
    Commented Oct 19, 2022 at 20:13
  • 1
    @gotube Yes, 'infinitive relative clauses'.
    – BillJ
    Commented Oct 20, 2022 at 8:31

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