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I would like to ask you a question relating to-infinitive.

Here is the sentence. "Although we build things to last, we don't expect them to last indefinitely."

I wonder whether "things" right before "to last" is a subject(in terms of its meaning) or a object(in terms of its meaning) of "to last".

Any explanations would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

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Things in the first clause acts as both the object of the finite verb build and the subject of the infinitive to last. The sentence may be paraphrased

We build things in such a way that the things will last.

Them in the second clause is a little trickier. It is again the subject of the infinitive to last; but it is not the object of expect. That object is the entire clause them to last indefinitely; the sentence may be paraphrased

We don't expect that they will last indefinitely.

However, when this is cast as an infinitive clause rather than a that clause ('content clause'), its subject occupies the "object position" in the main clause, and English syntax requires it to take object case: them.

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There is no question of meaning I think, "things" in the first subclause (starting with "Although") is an object of the verb "build". The "to last" is an infinitive used as an adverb, "how do we build things?" - "we build things to last". That use of the infinitive is similar to "we care to impress", "we play to win".

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