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Does "to" in the following sentence express purpose?

He could not bring himself to believe that his father had really died.

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  • I would say that it was part of the infinitive (to believe). Commented Sep 30, 2022 at 11:10
  • Yes, I would like to know whether it is an infinitive marker that holds the meaning of purpose? @KateBunting Commented Sep 30, 2022 at 11:28
  • The basic assertion here is He could / did not believe that..., so I'd say bring himself to is an almost meaningless bit of circumlocution (within which to looks like a preposition, not an infinitive marker). But I suppose you could say the "purpose" of him (unsuccessfully) bringing himself to think something (persuading himself of something) is to actually believe the "unbelievable truth". Commented Sep 30, 2022 at 11:42
  • In this context, do you see a purpose in believing his father had died?
    – gotube
    Commented Sep 30, 2022 at 13:57

1 Answer 1

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He could not bring himself to believe that his father had really died.

Here to believe is not an Infinitive of purpose

The sentence implies–he could not force himself to believe that his father had really died.

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  • Why do you think it's an infinitive of purpose? What's the purpose?
    – gotube
    Commented Sep 30, 2022 at 13:58

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