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The supervisors were asked ______ tasks to new employees so that they could be trained to do them properly.

A. Delegate - infinitive
B. To delegate - supine
C. delegating - gerund
D. delegation - noun

I was wondering after improvising some structures in the sentence like below.

[Question1 - What if there is a choice for letter E and shows 'delegating for'?]

The supervisors were asked for delegating tasks to new employees so that they could be trained to do them properly.

[Question2] Could 'for' in brackets be a substitute of to? If so, will it have same meaning? The supervisors were asked delegating tasks to(for) new employees so that they could be trained to do them properly.

Could this make sense too? Under the premises that delegating tasks is the noun to have meaning itself.

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  • What is a "spine" in grammar??
    – rogermue
    Commented Jun 23, 2015 at 6:39
  • Pretty sure the user meant 'supine,' which is the to infinitive (as in B) as compared to the bare infinitive (A).
    – user6951
    Commented Jun 23, 2015 at 8:57
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    I have never heard or read that the to-infinitive is called supine. Is that a new invention of linguists to use a Latin grammar term for a defective verb form with a new meaning? That's confusion of terms that is really annoying.
    – rogermue
    Commented Jun 23, 2015 at 16:43
  • Slowly I get the expression that in SE-Asia it is common to use supine instead of to-infinitive. It seems that there is the view that in describing language everything must have at least two or even more names. The idea to have a precise terminology with one name for one thing seems to be totally unknown.
    – rogermue
    Commented Jun 23, 2015 at 19:31

1 Answer 1

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Ask for takes a noun-phrase complement:

He asked for a cup of tea. (he would like some tea)

He was asked for a cup of tea. (he will prepare the tea; someone asked him for it)

It cannot take a clause headed by a gerund.

NOT CORRECT: He was asked for spending the city's money on personal luxury items.

CORRECT: He was jailed for spending the city's money on personal luxury items.

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  • This is the point. We often get questions here about when to use an -ing clause and when to use an infinitive clause. Most of the time the answer is nothing to do with the meaning or with a rule: it is about the specific requirements of the word (verb, adjective or noun) that governs the phrase.
    – Colin Fine
    Commented May 7, 2022 at 21:37

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