"I have no reason to..."

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"I have no reason to..."

Post by Odin » Tue Nov 04, 2014 4:53 pm

One might say "I have no reason to withhold it" or I have no reason for which to withhold it." Is the former just a truncation of the latter (with the "for which" understood) or can it be grammatically justified on its own?
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Re: "I have no reason to..."

Post by Erik_Kowal » Tue Nov 04, 2014 8:09 pm

"I have no reason to withhold it" is standard English.

"I have no reason for which to withhold it" is something that nobody says.
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Re: "I have no reason to..."

Post by Phil White » Tue Nov 04, 2014 11:34 pm

Erik is right.

A noun + to-infinitive is not uncommon:
  • His decision to emigrate
  • My hope to grow old gracefully
  • Her intention to be successful
  • Fawkes' plan to blow up parliament
  • The order to abandon ship
While not endless, the list is quite extensive. Those are off the top of my head, and most seem to have to do with thinking and feeling. Most appear to be related to verbs of cognition and feeling that also take a to-infinitive (hope to do something, decide to do something, ...). Not sure whether this is always the case.

The reverse is not true, i.e. there are plenty of verbs of cognition and feeling that take a to-infinitive where the corresponding noun does not:
  • I love to play football
  • *People laugh about my love to play football
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Signature: Phil White
Non sum felix lepus

Re: "I have no reason to..."

Post by Edwin F Ashworth » Wed Nov 05, 2014 4:27 pm

Interesting question, Phil. I'm coming to terms with a new computer at the moment, but I'll try to do a bit of digging later. My try to do a bit of digging ...
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Re: "I have no reason to..."

Post by Phil White » Thu Nov 06, 2014 11:19 pm

Sailed straight over my head the first time. And the second. "Just Edwin gibbering...".

Quite so. "Try" as a verb takes a to-infinitive, but "try" as a noun does not.

However, "attempt" takes a to-infinitive both as a verb and as a noun. This begins to suggest that there is no reliable semantic grounding for the use of the to-infinitive with anything at all...

Very good, Edwin. Thank you.
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