Transitive Verb with Infinitive

by Maripaz
(Manila, Philippines)

I am an English teacher in Manila.

Sometimes I come across questions from my students that could be quite difficult to answer because I didn’t learn about it or even though surfing the Internet, couldn’t find the answer.

I even have questions myself which I can’t find answers to in our textbooks nor in English websites.

I hope Really-Learn-English can truly help me.

Consider this sentence:

David strives to finish his goals.

Is "strives" transitive? My initial response would be NO. However "to finish" is an infinitive acting as a noun. So is the answer YES. Is "strives" transitive?

I appreciate your help.

Comments for Transitive Verb with Infinitive

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Mar 17, 2013
by: Chelsey

This is an interesting question!

David strives to finish his goals.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary says strive is an intransitive verb.

In this sentence, I think strives would function as a catenative verb.

To finish would function as a complement to the catenative verb.

Catenative Verbs are verbs that are followed by another verb in the infinitive, present participle, or base form. Catenative verbs are always at the beginning of the linked verb phrase.

Here's a definition of catenative from the Merriam-Webster dictionary.

Catenative means to link or connect. Catenative verbs are usually followed by a function word (as, to, on) and then another verb or verbs.

Here are some examples similar to your sentence:
(The catenative verb is in bold. The complement is underlined.)

1. The girl began to read the instructions.
2. Mom hoped to finish dinner before 7:00.
3. Sally will keep on running to the end of the race.
4. We promise to clean today.

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