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5.2. Infinitival argument clauses

This section discusses infinitival complementation of main verbs. As to their form, infinitival argument clauses can be divided into three main types: om + te-, te- and bare infinitivals. The first type, which will be discussed in Section 5.2.1, is formally characterized by the fact that the infinitive is preceded by the element te and that the full infinitival clause is (optionally) introduced by the element om, which is generally considered a complementizer. Some typical examples are given in (343), in which the infinitival clauses are in italics.

Example 343
a. Marie weigerde (om) haar fiets te verwijderen.
  Marie refused  comp  her bike  to remove
  'Marie refused to remove her bike.'
b. Jan beloofde (om) dat boek te lezen.
  Jan promised  comp  that book  to read
  'Jan promised to read that book.'

      The second type, which will be discussed in Section 5.2.2 and is illustrated in (344), formally differs from the first one in that the infinitival complementizer om cannot be used; the infinitive, on the other hand, is preceded by the element te.

Example 344
a. Jan beweert (*om) dat boek gelezen te hebben.
  Jan claims  comp  that book  read  to have
  'Jan claims to have read that book.'
b. Jan verzekerde ons (*om) te mogen komen.
  Jan assured  us  comp  to be.allowed  come
  'Jan assured us that we were allowed to come.'

Given the optionality of the complementizer om in examples such as (343), it is sometimes not a priori clear whether we are dealing with an om + te- or a te-infinitival and Section will therefore attempt to develop a number of diagnostics that may help us to make the desired distinction. This section will further show that there are a number of subtypes of te-infinitivals, which can be distinguished on the basis of a set of conspicuously distinctive formal properties.
      The third type of infinitival clause, the bare infinitivals, is discussed in Section 5.2.3 and can readily be recognized by the fact that elements om and te are both obligatorily absent; we will see that, again, we can distinguish various subtypes.

Example 345
a. Jan moet dat boek lezen.
  Jan must  that book  read
  'Jan must read that book.'
b. Ik zag Jan dat boek lezen.
  saw Jan  that book  read
  'I saw Jan read that book.'

The following sections will extensively discuss these three main types of infinitival clauses and show that they can be further divided into smaller subcategories on the basis of their semantic and syntactic properties.

    This topic is the result of an automatic conversion from Word and may therefore contain errors.
    A free Open Access publication of the corresponding volumes of the Syntax of Dutch is available at OAPEN.org.