|finite and infinite verb forms|
|1) to swim|
1) describes the action of lying in a liquid, in most cases water, and performs mouvements that produce a forward motion.
2) contains much more information. Here we get informet that a single person, not the speaker nor the person he is talking to, performs these mouvement in the present of the speaker.
1) is an infinitive and only describes the action without any context, 2) is a finite verb and contains some information about the context in which this action is performed. A finite infinitive normally doesn't exist. Portuguese is an exception. The infinitivo pessoal, personal infinitive, is not called infinitive because it is infinitive. It is called infinitive because it can have the same syntactical function as the infinitive. The infinitive as well as the English gerund are verbal nouns, can therefore have the function of a noun, can be subject and object of the sentence.
1) Swimming is fun.
2) There is not much money needed to travel.
3) Women are prevented from working by personal or family commitments.
In these three sentences the gerund 1) and the infinitive 2) don't have the syntactical function of a verb. They have the syntactical function of a noun. The most interesting case is 3) because we find the infinitivo pessoal mostly after prepositions. After a preposition only a noun is possible or something that can have the function of a noun and the only verb form in roman languages that can have the function of a noun is the infinifitive and the personal infinitive. (By the way: The gerundio of the roman languages is NOT a verbal noun and cannot be used as a none. The gerund in roman languages correspond to the present participle in English, see infinite verb forms, and is an adverb. There is a confusion in the terms used.)
In 1) the infinitive form is the subject of the sentence. In 2) it is the object of the sentence and in 3) it is a prepositional object, an object added through a preposition.
Wherever we can use an infinitive, we can use an object. (Under the condition that the sentence makes sense, obviously.)
To write a book is not easy.
The task is not easy.
However in all lenguages of the world the verbal noun, gerund or infinitive in English, can't have its own subject. The executer of the action described by the verbal noun is inherited from the finite form and is the subject of the main clause. That is a restriction. If the verbal noun could have its own subject, the verbal noun would be more powerfull, could be used in more cases. This is the strenght of the infinitivo pessoal. Lets have a look at this example.
|without own subject: 1) Talvez seja melhor redigir os artigos. *|
|1) Perhaps it is better to revise the article.|
|with own subject: 2) Talvez seja melhor redigirem os artigos. *|
|2) Perhaps it is better that they revise the article.|
|infinitivo pessoal:||Mamãe fará o almoço para comermos.|
|subordinate clause in conjuntivo:||Mamãe fará o almoço para que nós comamos.|
|translation:||Mum is preparing dinner so that we can have dinner.|
|infinitivo pessoal:||Vou esperar até eles venderem tudo.|
|subordinate clause in conjuntivo::||Vou esperar até que eles vendam tudo.|
|translation:||I wait until they have all sold.|
|compound infinitives:||Depois de terem chegado na cabine, o navio começou a virar.|
|mais-que-perfeito do indicativo:||Depois que tinham chegado na cabine, o navio começou a virar.|
|translation:||After they had reached their cabine, the ship began to capsize.|
|Por não ter uma senha, eles não puderam usar o computador.|
|Since they didn't have a password, they couldn't use the computer.|
|Oportuno é refletir sobre o fato de que, após indicar alguns caminhos para o emprego de tal forma verbal, Júlio Nogueira assim conclui sua lição a respeito: "Além das sumárias indicações que aí ficam, difícil será estabelecer regras seguras. É este um dos assuntos que têm dividido os competentes na matéria, dando lugar a fortes dissídios. Em alguns casos a preferência entre a forma invariável e a variável é apenas de intuição natural, por eufonia, orientação perigosa, pois o que a uns parece agradável ao ouvido, a outros soa mal. Nisto, como no mais, os clássicos não são acordes, nem podem, pela prática generalizada, servir de modelo".||It is remarkable that Júlio Nogueira, after having given some indications for the use of this verbal form, ends his explanations by saying:"Beside some remarks that are true it is difficult to give stable rules. This is one of the points the experts on the matter can't reach an agreement. Sometimes the preference for non conjugates form is based on pure intuition, on the preference for the sound, what is a dangerous clue, because what sound good to some people, doesn't sound good for other people. Concerning this point the classics (of literature) disagree, as they do in most cases, and can't therefore serve as an example that confirms the theory in practice.|
|Uso do infinitivo|
On the same page we find some basic anotations, that confirm what has already been said.
The infinitivo pessoal has the same syntactical function as the infinitive and can be used whenever the infinitive is used and has to be used
- when the subject of the infinitive differes from the subject of the main clause
- if the the subject of the infinitive is mentioned expresis verbis
If the subject of the infinitive is the same as the subject of the main clause the infinitivo pessoal can be used, but the simple infinitive works as well. If the infinitive doesn't have a subject, the infinitivo pessoal can't be used, because the infinitivo pessoal has always a subject. This is for instance the case, if the infinite form it the subject of the sentence: Reading is fun. Reading doesn't have a subject, it IS the subject.
The following table shows some examples where the infinitivo pessoal can be used. In some of these construction it competes with the simple infinitive.
|the infinitvo pessoal after idiomatic expressions|
|a)||É preciso chegarmos a um acordo.|
|It is necessary that we reach an agreement.|
|b)||E bom fazerem isto rápido.|
|It is good if they get it done quickly.|
|c)||E melhor saires desse carro.|
|It is better that you leave the car.|
|with a normal infinitive the meaning changes|
|aa)||É preciso chegar a um acordo.|
|It is necessary to reach an agreement.|
|bb)||E bom fazer isto rápido.|
|It is good if it is done quickly.|
|cc)||E melhor sair desse carro.|
|I is better to leave the car.|
a), b), c) as well as h aa), bb) und cc) are grammatically correct. .However the meaning is not the same.
If we transform these sentences in a semantical equivalent sentence with a subordinate clause we will see that the relationships are complicated. Some of these sentences correspond to a subordinate clause, other resemble to a conditional clause.
|subordinate clause with conjuntivo|
|aaa)||É preciso que cheguemos a um acordo.|
|It is necessary that we reach an agreement.|
|bbb)||Seria bom se fizessem isto rápido.|
|It would be good if they can do that quickly.|
|ccc)||Sería melhor se saísses desse carro.|
|It would be better, if you leave the car.|
|infinitivo pessoal after prepositions|
|d)||Estava indeciso antes de chegares.|
|Before your arrival, I have been indecisive.|
|e)||Para mantermos a forma é preciso fazermos esporte.|
|To remain fit, we have to do sports.|
|f)||No caso de esqueceres do nome de alguém, estende a mão e diz o teu próprio nome.|
|In case you have forgotten the name of somebody, shake his hand and present yourself.|
|dd)||Estava indeciso antes de chegar.|
|Before his / her arrival, he / she was indecisive.|
|ee)||Para manter a forma é preciso fazer esporte.|
|To remain fit it is necessary to do sports.|
dd) Is unclear, although the sentence is grammatically correct. Since the infinitive inherits his subject from the conjugated verb, the person who is indecisive is the same as the person who comes.
ee) Same problem as in dd).
f) is more complicated. If we have a conjugated form, in this case estende, what is 2nd person imperative, and the subject of the infinitive is the same person, we have to use the infinitivo pessoal, because the normal infinitive makes a general assertion, doesn't have therefore a concrete subject. With a normal infinitive this sentence would be grammatically incorrect. The English sentence would be something like "~ To forget the name of somebody, shake his hand and present yourself". That would be strange indeed. There is no need to figure out the name of somebody, because an abstract subject has forgotten his name. This sentence would be wrong: ~No caso de esquecer do nome de alguém, estende a mão e diz o teu próprio nome.
In the sentences below we can construct with a simple infinitivo, with an infinitivo pessoal and with a subordinate clause. The subject of the idiomatic expression is abstract, but there is no contradiction. It is not a good idea to forget the name of somebody, it is not a good idea that you forget the name of somebody. However we can translate the sentence to English with an infinitive only in the case that the subject is the same.
|Não é bom esquecer do nome de alguém.||It is not good to forget the name of somebody.|
|Não é bom esqueceres do nome de alguém.||It is not good, that you forget the name of somebody.|
|Não é bom esquecermos do nome de alguém.||It is not good, that we forget the name of somebody.|
|Isto é para tu fazeres durante o intervalo.|
|This is what you have to do during break.|
|Convém vocês irem primeiro.|
|It is better that you go ahead.|
|O professor deu um prazo de cinco dias para os alunos estudarem bastante para a prova.|
|The teacher gave the students a delay of five days so that the students could study enough for the exam.|
|O hotel preparou tudo para os turistas ficarem à vontade.|
|The hotel prepared everything so that the tourists feel comfortable.|
|Acreditamos serem eles os causadores de tamanha confusão.|
|We believe that he is the cause of this chaos.|
In English very often there is no difference between the preposition and the conjunction.
conjunction: After he had told us what to do, he went on holidays.
preposition: After dinner he went on holidays.
preposition: After having told us what to do, he went on holidays.
In Portuguese in general the preposition is without que, the conjunction with que. Some examples in Portuguese.
|Ela se ofendeu sem eles dizerem nada.|
|Ela se ofendeu sem que eles dissessem nada.|
|She was offended although they had said nothing.|
|Antes de chegarmos, ele já havia ido embora.|
|Antes que chegamos, ele já havia ido embora.|
|Bevor we arrived, he had gone.|
Verbs, that can have a direct object or prepositional object, an object connected to the verb with a preposition, can in general be followed as well by an infnitivo or an infinitivo pessoal.
|infinitivo pessoal instead of an object|
|with infinitivo pessoal: Acho melhor acabares o trabalho rápido.
subordinate clause: Acho melhor que acabes o trabalho rápido.
|I think you should finish this work quickly.|
|with infinitivo pessoal: Ouvi jurarem fidelidade ao novo rei.
subordinate clause: Ouvi que juraram fidelidade ao novo rei.
|I heard them swear loyalty to the king of the animals.|
|with infinitivo pessoal: Vi maltratarem os trabalhadores sem nenhum motivo.
subordinate clause: Vi que matratavam os trabalhadores sem nenhum motivo.
|I saw them mistreating the workers without any reason.|
|O pai obrigou os filhos a estudar.|
|The father obliged his children to study.|
|infinitivo pessoal||falar||(for comparison: futuro do conjuntivo) no difference||ter||(for comparison: futuro do conjuntivo) difference||estar||ser||pôr|
Once again: The infinitivo pessoal is formed by adding the personal endings to the infinitivo wherin the 1st and 3rd person singular don't have any ending. The futuro do conjuntivo es formed with the 3rd person plural of the pretérit perfeito simples by leaving out the personal ending. In the case of a regular verb what we get is the infinitive, the steem of the infinitivo pessoal and the futuro do conjuntivo is therefore the same in the case of a regular verb. In the case of irregular verbs the steem is different and the infinitivo pessoal differs from the futuro do conjuntivo.
Falar therefore can be infinitivo, infinitivo pessoal 1st and 3rd person singular and 1st and 3rd person singular futuro do conjuntivo. Sometimes it is necessary to see what it actually is, the exercise 16.1.
Philosophical remark: Most grammar books have a very different approach from the one followed here. Either they describe a language without refering to any other language and without comparing one language with another language or they focus on the differences between one language and the other. Here we try to do the exact opposite. We try to prove that the verbalisation of the reality is similar in any language and furthermore we would say that if that were not the case, nor a foreign language could be learned, nor the mother tongue. It makes sense to discuss about grammar problems and to analyse them, but at the end of the day we do a lot of things right intuitively and we can memorize all these structures, because they are similar to the structure in our mother tongue. The infinitivo pessoal seems a strange structure at first glance, but something similar exists in English as well. In a sentence like "I believe him being an expert on this subject" we have a similar structure as the infinitivo pessoal. We can substitute "him being" by anything that can have the function of an object, "I believe it". The gerund is a verbal noun and can have the syntactical function of a noun. In the English structure we don't use a personal ending to assign the subject to the infinitive, but a personal pronoun, what is a very similar procedure. If some structure emerge independently and spontaneously in different regions, we can't they that this is pure casuality. Perhaps this is not the best example to illustrate that the way the human brain wants to verbalise the world is very similar everywhere, there are indeed better ones, however it is another example. There is no need for this structure in English, a normal subordinate clause, "I believe that he is an expert", does the job as well, but for the human brain a construction with an infinitive seems to be natural.
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