Thursday, December 30, 2010


The structure for + object + to-infinitive (where the object is the noun, pronoun or noun phrase that receives or is affected by the action of the verb) is often used after certain adjectives.

It's important for me to finish this essay on time.
It's essential for him to sign the will in front of a witness.
Image: 'more writing
The same meaning could be conveyed by a that-clause and the subjunctive or the verb should + infinitive, but this is much more formal in style.

It's important that I (should) finish this essay on time.
It is essential that he (should) sign the will in front of a witness.

Notice the use of the subjunctive in the last example: we use sign, not signs, because in the present subjunctive the 3rd person singular does not add an s as in the present indicative. The form of the verb to be in the present subjunctive is be for all the persons:
It's important that he be here on time.

Before the for+object+to-infinitive structure there can be three different kinds of adjectives:
a) Adjectives that express importance: important, essential, vital, necessary, pointless...
It is essential for doctors to check all possible causes of this illness.
b) Adjectives that express frequency: common, normal, unusual, rare...
It is normal for a child to fall asleep when tired.
c) Adjectives that express personal reactions: anxious, eager, delighted... (in this case, sentences don't start with it's)
They'll be delighted for you to stay at their home.
I'm anxious for the summer to come.

The For+object+to-infinitive structure can also be used after certain nouns, for instance, plan, idea, suggestion, and even after a few verbs, such as, arrange, suit and take (time).

I think that's the best plan for us to take.
It took two hours for him to get home instead of the usual ten minutes.

For+object+to-infinitive is also used after too and enough.
This coffee is too hot for me to drink.
This coffee is not cold enough for me to drink.
Image: 'Love Coffee
In the following exercises we are going to transform sentences with the For+object+to-infinitive structure into that-clause sentences and vice versa. 

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