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  #1 (permalink)  
Unread Mar 6th, 2014, 10:44 am
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Default Reduction or omission of GOING TO and some grammar element in a sentence.

Dear teachers and members:


As stated in my title, I find that the auxiliary GOING TO is reduced or omitted in some sentences. I know about Reduced Adverb Clause, Incomplete Adverb and Noun Clause and so on, which are grammatically correct. I would like to know if in these two sentences the same gramatical phenomenon happens.

1°) This was the first of many mistakes Kuklinski was to commit.

2°) At the time they arrived, the young woman had died; the gunshot wound was to blame.


OBSERVATION:

a) As to my knowledge, the first sentence can also be as follows:

This was the first of many mistakes Kuklinski was going to commit.

b) I think that in the second sentence some grammar element is missing, but I am not quite sure which one it is.

At the time they arrived, the young woman had died; the gunshot wound was to blame.


I beg for your help in this grammar confusion.
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Unread Oct 23rd, 2014, 03:40 am
Sue
 
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Default Re: Reduction or omission of GOING TO and some grammar element in a sentence.

No - there's nothing "missing" in these sentences. I can see why you interpret the first as ellipsis of "going to" but it's not. Be plus the infinitive is a structure in its own right.

Evidence of this is that be going to can be used in any form, including the infinitive. It's rare but grammatically possible - Eg. I don't think I can be there on Wednesday. We may be going to have an exam that day

However, Be can't be used in the infinitive when it is followed immediately by to. You can't say : *We may be to have an exam that day.

So Be (in finite form) followed by the infinitive is a structure in its own right, expressing the meanings of :
a) arrangements : We're to meet John in the library. / We were to go to Spain tomorrow, but they cancelled the meeting.
b) obligation : You're to get back by midnight.
c) a condition : If we are to believe what she says, it will all be over by Christmas.

The final example that you gėve - be to blame for something is a bit different I think. The meaning is be the person (or thing) that should be blamed for.... The only other verb I can think of offhand that could be used in the same structure would be thank : He's to thank for the problem. There may be others (?) but it doesn't seem very generative. Perhaps these are best treated as idioms.
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Last edited by susan53 : Dec 13th, 2014 at 01:59 pm.
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  #3 (permalink)  
Unread Apr 3rd, 2015, 09:45 pm
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Default Re: Reduction or omission of GOING TO and some grammar element in a sentence.

Quote:
Quote susan53 View Post
No - there's nothing "missing" in these sentences. I can see why you interpret the first as ellipsis of "going to" but it's not. Be plus the infinitive is a structure in its own right.

Evidence of this is that be going to can be used in any form, including the infinitive. It's rare but grammatically possible - Eg. I don't think I can be there on Wednesday. We may be going to have an exam that day

However, Be can't be used in the infinitive when it is followed immediately by to. You can't say : *We may be to have an exam that day.

So Be (in finite form) followed by the infinitive is a structure in its own right, expressing the meanings of :
a) arrangements : We're to meet John in the library. / We were to go to Spain tomorrow, but they cancelled the meeting.
b) obligation : You're to get back by midnight.
c) a condition : If we are to believe what she says, it will all be over by Christmas.

The final example that you gėve - be to blame for something is a bit different I think. The meaning is be the person (or thing) that should be blamed for.... The only other verb I can think of offhand that could be used in the same structure would be thank : He's to thank for the problem. There may be others (?) but it doesn't seem very generative. Perhaps these are best treated as idioms.
Good answer.
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