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Scientists have struggled for so many years to find them.

Is "to find them" in this sentence an adverbial modifier indicating purpose, or one of result?

In other words, which of the following two sentences is closer in meaning to the above sentence:

A: Scientists have struggled for so many years and finally found them.
B: In order to find them, scientists have struggled for so many years.

  • I don't understand the question. – Lambie Nov 1 '16 at 1:11
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Scientists have struggled for so many years to find them.

Here to find them describes the purpose or reason. The modifier tells us why the scientists are struggling. It does not specify the result or outcome; we don't know whether or not they have been found. This means that sentence B matches the meaning of your target sentence.

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To find them is a infinitive phrase, used as an adverbial in that sentence, indicating the purpose.

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I think it would be option A, otherwise you could have said: Scientists had to struggle for many years to find them. In your title, "to" has the meaning of "struggled to" rather than "in order to".

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