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Passions in Poetry

Invisible To

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Essorant
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since 08-10-2002
Posts 4689
Regina, Saskatchewan; Canada


0 posted 02-10-2009 01:54 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant


The "Invisible Whom" made me think of another word that often plays the ghost, the preposition to.   There are two main examples of the invisible to: the Dative and the Infinitive.


The Dative

The Invisible Dative to is found with expressions of something being given to someone or something.  This may show up with any example of using the word give.

He gives her a rose    =   He gives to her a rose

It is also used with some other words: told (to) her the story, showed (to) her the picture, etc.  


The invisible dative to is also used in some special phrases.

Me thinks   = to me (it) seems

Me liketh    = to me (it) is pleasing

Woe is me = Woe is to me

This kind of expression used to be a way to express having something as well.  In Greek and Latin and even Hebrew one may say "Me is the name John = to me is the name John", and it expresses "My name is John", or "Me are two sons = to me are two sons" and it expresses "I have two sons".  



The Infinitive

There are many places where the infinitive is there, but the familiar "to" that we usually expect is unseen.  

This shows up whenever will, shall, may, can, do are used with other verbs.   To recognize the invisible to of the infinitive use the more original meanings "wish to" for will, "ought to" for shall, "be able to" for may, "know how to" for can, and "make (oneself) to", for do.  

I will go = I wish to go

I shall go = I ought to go

I may go = I am able to go

I can go = I know how to go

I do go = I make myself to go


The other main example is with the words saw, make, bid, let, and others that behave in a similar way.  Thinking of other verbs that use the "to" may help understand why the infinitive is used, "force to" for make, "ask/command to" for bid, etc.  

I saw him go  =  I saw him to go

I make him go = I make him to go (...force him to...)

I bid him go  = I bid him to go (...ask/command him to...)

I let him go = I let him to go (...allow him to...)


The word dare may be used either way: dare do or dare to do.  Therefore, from Middle English there is the expression derring-do, derring being an old spelling for "daring"..  Even though this is treated as a noun in the dictionary, it is actually an expression using the infinitive: derring do = derring to do.  


Essorant
Member Elite
since 08-10-2002
Posts 4689
Regina, Saskatchewan; Canada


1 posted 02-16-2009 10:17 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Two more examples are the adjectives near and like:

He is near them = he is near to them

She is like him = She is like to him (...similar to...)

 
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