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Grammar Question about Infinitive as Adjective

 
 
Reply Wed 26 Jun, 2013 12:44 pm
I am going through the book "Rex Barks" by Phyllis Davenport which is about diagramming sentences. In the first chapter there are exercises where I have to find the adjectives in a sentence. There is one sentence that I'm having trouble understanding because the answer key at the back says that the infinitive acts as an adjective but I can't tell which noun it modifies.

The sentence:
The only way to make a really good sundae is to include chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry ice cream, maple syrup, chopped nuts, and marshmallow sauce.

In the answer key Davenport writes: "to make" is an infinitive used as an adjective. Which noun is "to make" modifying that makes it an adjective? Is it "way"? Is it "sundae"?
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Type: Question • Score: 4 • Views: 1,155 • Replies: 10
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fresco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 26 Jun, 2013 12:52 pm
@errantwriter,
I would say "to make" modifies "way".
Think of different "ways"....way to go....way to eat....etc.
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contrex
 
  1  
Reply Wed 26 Jun, 2013 12:52 pm
Are you quite sure she says this?
0 Replies
 
InfraBlue
 
  1  
Reply Wed 26 Jun, 2013 03:26 pm
errantwriter wrote:
Is it "sundae"?

It is.

I had to look up an online sentence diagrammer to figure this one out.
PUNKEY
 
  1  
Reply Thu 27 Jun, 2013 06:45 am
way
to make / sundae

is

to include / nuts, etc.
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fresco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 27 Jun, 2013 09:05 am
@InfraBlue,
So figure it out for us here because I for one can't see it.
contrex
 
  1  
Reply Thu 27 Jun, 2013 11:55 am
@fresco,
fresco wrote:

So figure it out for us here because I for one can't see it.


Me neither and I have an English degree, although I did get it 40 years ago.
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InfraBlue
 
  1  
Reply Thu 27 Jun, 2013 03:38 pm
PUNKEY's on the right track.
http://i1020.photobucket.com/albums/af324/infrablu/35e75bdd-808a-43bc-b08e-490f37bd8343_zps1697667f.jpg
Sentence Diagram
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 27 Jun, 2013 11:50 pm
@InfraBlue,
I still don't see it.
IMO to make modifies way because alternative parallel structures could involve:
way to eat....way to serve.....way to order....way to picture....etc
none of which affects the noun sundae,
The diagram appears to reflect that since down branches located immediately before the other nouns clearly indicate traditional adjectives.
InfraBlue
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Jun, 2013 03:19 pm
@fresco,
fresco wrote:

I still don't see it.
IMO to make modifies way because alternative parallel structures could involve:
way to eat....way to serve.....way to order....way to picture....etc
none of which affects the noun sundae,
The diagram appears to reflect that since down branches located immediately before the other nouns clearly indicate traditional adjectives.


It seems that because all of the infinitives that you're using:

to make
to eat
to serve
to order
to picture

all refer to sundae, then they pertain to sundae. They cannot be used independently of sundae, as in:

way to make is. . . to make what?
way to eat is. . . to eat what?
way to serve is. . . to serve what?
way to order is. . . to order what?
way to picture is. . . to picture what?

To be honest, I had to look up the use of verbs as adjectives--in this case the infinitive form as a relative clause--after I read this thread, and still wasn't sure until I diagrammed it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uses_of_English_verb_forms#To-infinitive
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Sat 29 Jun, 2013 01:37 am
@InfraBlue,
Sorry but I think you are thrashing about. From your cited article...
Quote:
As a modifier of certain nouns and adjectives:
the reason to laugh
the effort to expand

The object of the sentence (sundae) is an independent variable with respect to the subject "the way to make" as demonstrated by an alternative such as

The way to make a really good cake is to include.....(etc)

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