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The objective with the infinitive construction


§ 115. In the objective with the infinitive construction the infinitive (usually an infinitive phrase) is in predicate relation to a noun in the common case or a pronoun in the objective case (hence the name of the construction). The whole construction forms a complex object of some verbs. It is rendered in Russian by an object clause.

The objective with the infinitive construction is used in the following cases:


1. After verbs of sense perception (to see, to hear, to feel, to watch, to observe, to notice and some others). In this case the only possible form of the infinitive is the non-perfect common aspect active voice form, used without the particle to:


No one has ever heard her cry.

I paused a moment and watched the tram-car stop.


The verb to listen to, though not a verb of sense perception, is used in the same way, with a bare infinitive:


He was listening attentively to the chairman speak.


If the verb to see or to notice is used with the meaning to realize, or the verb to hear with the meaning to learn, the objective with the infinitive construction cannot be used. Here only subordinate object clause is possible:


I saw that he did not know anything.   I hear you have dropped the idea of leaving him.     Не only had time to notice that the girl was unusually pretty. Я видел (понимал), что он ничего не знает.   Я слышала (узнала), что ты отказалась от мысли уйти от него.   Он только успел заметить (осознать), что девушка была необычайно хорошенькой.


2. After verbs of mental activity (to think, to believe, to consider, to expect, to understand, to suppose, to find and some others). Here the infinitive is used in any form, though the non-perfect forms are the most frequent (always with the particle to).


I know him to be an honest man.

She believed him to have left for San Francisco.

I believed her to be knitting in the next room.

I should expect my devoted friend to be devoted to me.


3. After verbs of emotion (to like, to love, to hate, to dislike and some others). Here non-perfect, common aspect forms of the “to”- infinitive are the most usual.


I always liked him to sing.

She hated her son to be separated from her.

I’d love you to come with me too.

I hated him to have been sent away.


4. After verbs of wish and intention (to want, to wish, to desire, to intend, to mean and some others). After these verbs only non-perfect common aspect forms of the infinitive with the particle toare used:


He only wished you to be near him.

I don’t want him to be punished.


5. After verbs of declaring (to declare, to pronounce):


I declare you to be out of your mind.

He reported the boat to have been seen not far away.


6. After verbs of inducement (to have, to make, to get, to order, to tell, to ask, etc.) of which the first two take a bare infinitive. In the construction some of them acquire a different meaning: make - заставить, get - добить­ся, have - заставить (сказать, чтобы ...)


I can’t get him to do it properly.

She made me obey her.


7. The objective with the infinitive construction also occurs after certain verbs requiring a prepositional object,for example to count (up)on, to rely (up) on, to look for, to listen to, to wait for:


I rely on you to come in time.

Can’t I count upon you to help me?


The gerund


§ 116. The gerund is a non-finite form of the verb with some noun features. It is formed by adding the suffix -ing to the stem of the verb.

The grammatical meaning of the gerund is that of a process. Thus to some extent it competes with nouns of verbal origin, e.g. translating -translation, describing - description, arriving - arrival, perceiving - perception, helping - help. Nouns, however, tend to convey the fact or the result of an action, which in certain circumstances may be something material, whereas gerunds convey the idea of action or process itself.


Show me your translation: it is neatly done, and there, are no mistakes in it.

You will enrich your vocabulary by translating from English into Russian and vice versa.


If the meaning of the gerund is nearly the same as that of the noun, the former emphasizes the process, and the latter - the fact:


Thank you for helping me.

Thank you for your help.


It is natural that the verbal character of the gerund is more prominent in transitive verbs, owing to their combinability and their passive forms.

Morphologically the verbal character of the gerund is manifested in the categories of voice and perfect (see table V) and syntactically in its combinability. Thus the gerund may combine: a) with a noun or pronoun as direct, indirect or prepositional object, depending on the verb it is formed from; b) with an adjective or a noun as a predicative; c) with an infinitive.

Gerunds can be modified by adverbs and prepositional phrases function­ing as adverbial modifiers.


Gerund Finite verb
I remember your telling me the story five years ago.   It’s no use arguing about trifles.   John dreams of becoming a sailor.   There is some chance of his being able to join us.   We enjoyed walking slowly along the silent streets. You told me the story five years ago.   I never argue about trifles.   John became a sailor.   We hope he will be able to join us.   We walked slowly along the silent streets.


The nominal character of the gerund reveals itself syntactically, mainly in its syntactical function, partly in its combinability.


Like a noun, it can function as subject, object, or predicative.


Seeing you is always a pleasure. (subject)

I remember seeing you somewhere. (object)

I am thinking of seeing the film again. (prepositional object)

Peter’s hobby is seeing all new films. (predicative)


When it is an attribute or an adverbial modifier, a gerund, like a noun is preceded by a preposition.


There is a chance of catching the train.

Don’t forget to call me up before leaving London.

I reached my goal in spite of there being every reason against it.


The fact that the gerund can associate with a preposition is a sure sign of noun features.

Like a noun, but unlike the other non-finites, it can combine with a possessive pronoun and a noun in the genitive case denoting the doer of the action expressed by the gerund.


Excuse my interrupting you.

I insist on John’s staying with us.


It combines with the negative pronoun no in the idiomatic construction of the type: There is no getting out of it.


The grammatical categories of the gerund


§ 117.As already stated the gerund has only two grammatical categories, those of voice and perfect.


Table V

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