UNIFICATION OF THE SEMANTICS OF THE INFINITIVE IN ENGLISH

  • Hisashi Morita
Keywords: infinitive, gerund, possible worlds

Abstract

This paper has two aims. The first aim is to unify the diverse interpretations of the to-infinitive in English. By adopting Lewis’s (1986) concept of possible worlds, I will claim that the infinitive represents incorporation of a possible world by the ‘real’ world. The second aim is to explain how certain predicates have come to select the infinitive or the gerund or both. I will argue that historic changes along with the semantic restraint of the infinitive can account for the current state of complementation.