previous next


VERBS, MOODS OF:-- INFINITIVE: to omitted after conjunctions

"To" omitted after Conjunctions.

Where two infinitives are coupled together by a conjunction, the to is still omitted in the former, where the batter happens to be nearer to the principal verb, e.g. after "rather than." "Rather than see himself disgraced, he preferred to die." But we could not say

“Will you be so good, scauld knave, as eat it?

This is probably to be explained, like the above, as a blending of two constructions--the infinitive, "Will you be so good as to eat it?" and the imperative, "Eat it, will you be so good?"

In

“Under the which he shall not choose but fall.

“Nay then, indeed she cannot choose but hate thee.

“Thou shalt not choose but go.

the obvious and grammatical construction is "he shall not choose anything except (to) fall;" "she cannot choose anything except (to) hate thee;" but probably (contrary to Mätzner's view, iii. 18) the explanation of the omission is, that Shakespeare mentally supplies "shall," "can," &c. "He shall not choose anything else, but (shall) fall." This is supported by

“Who . . . cannot choose but they must blab.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: