Infinitive transformation – transformation infinitive


Let's Define It!

What's an*infinitive transformation*?

An infinitive transformation occurs from a desire to abbreviate subordinate clauses when the subject of the main clause verb is the same as the one in the subordinate clause verb.

Consider the following 2 examples -- the first one does not show an infinitive transformation, while the second does for reasons I explain below --

  1. Je veux que tu ailles en France. I want you to go to France. (The subject in the main clause [je] is different from the one in the subordinate clause [tu], therefore we do not need to abbreviate the subordinate clause with an infinitive.
  2. Je veux que j'aille en France I want to go to France. (It's wrong, btw, but I'm using it nonetheless to show the implied subordinate clause at play and the presence of the same subject in both the main and subordinate clauses ).  Because the subject in the main clause is the same as the one in the dependent clause, we will need to abbreviate this dependent clause by using the infinitive of the verb we meant to use in the subordinate clause. "Je veux aller en France."

I know, I know...If you're not yet familiar with phonemes, IPA characters and symbols, and similar phonetic jargon, you might find this definition confusing to say the least.

So to speak in layman terms, I will just say that the French acute accent on the letter [e] helps you separate and read correctly words such as mangé/mange or donné/donne.


Let's Pronounce It!

What does it sound like in French?


Let's Have an Example or Two!

Can a little reinforcement do the trick?

Find below some examples of sentences with a subordinate undergoing an infinitive transformation:

Je souhaite venir à la soirée. I would like to come to the party. (This is an infinitive transformation for "Je souhaite que je vienne à la soirée.)

Nous voudrions partir pour la Suisse cet été. We would like to go to Switzerland this summer. (This is an infinitive transformation for "Nous voudrions que nous partions en Suisse cet été).



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