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devoted to: infinitive or gerund

Discussion in 'English Only' started by enJoanet, Mar 25, 2008.

  1. enJoanet

    enJoanet Senior Member

    London UK
    Français
    hi!
    I've come across two sentences in which "devoted to" is used in two quite diferent ways; the first uses a gerund whereas the second uses an infinitive...

    Can anyone tell me if there is any difference at all betwenn these wordings??
    thanks in advance!
    :)


    [Moderator note: duplicate threads merged]
     
  2. jann

    jann co-mod'

    English - USA
    To be devoted to + noun form. The gerund is a nominal form...

    devoted to undertand :cross:
    devoted to understanding :tick:

    Can you post the example where it was followed by an infinitive? I can't see how it could have been correct... :)
     
  3. enJoanet

    enJoanet Senior Member

    London UK
    Français
    hi!
    thanks for your answer...

    here a few examples gathered from the net..(and I didn't modify them myself just to confuse you!!:p:p)

    "In the area of biochemical reactivity, our studies are devoted to understand biological processes at the atomic level, making extensive use of computational and theoretical chemistry.

    "Special efforts were devoted to understand and test various knowledge representation standards and technologies available in the market "

    And the last but not the least: http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=...qhfvMvf&sig=TaxCVZ3x7kSDT9RCmX622h1wRcc&hl=en

    hope that helps!!
    :)
     
  4. jann

    jann co-mod'

    English - USA
    I would argue that the first and second examples are simply incorrect. The gerund should be used in both cases, or the sentence should be restructured. I'm afraid scientific writing is infamous for poorly constructed English. I suppose it would be possible to say "Special efforts were devoted in order to understand..." but this is still very weak and would not stand up to an editor's scrutiny.

    As for the google books link, the sentence is a disaster and contains other errors, including subject-verb agreement! :eek: Using the infinitive there is not correct. The authors of the chapter are not native English speakers (as suggested not only by the writing but also by their names and university affiliations listed on the first page of that chapter). :p
     
  5. enJoanet

    enJoanet Senior Member

    London UK
    Français
    I do believe you're right but.....I guess you can imagine how confused I'm at the moment...:confused:
    but thanks anayway!!!
    In the meantime...g**gle.co.uk gives so many answers with devoted to+inf..!!! oh la la!!!
    :)
     
  6. nouvellerin Senior Member

    Bordeaux
    English (US)
    devoted to+ gerund or noun.

    Biochemists are devoted to unlocking the human genome.

    My father is devoted to my mother.
     
  7. enJoanet

    enJoanet Senior Member

    London UK
    Français
    Well..
    thanks to both of you!!
    :)
     
  8. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    I would have tought so myself. But have a look at this example from Sience where I would hope that "editor's scrutiny" is still at work:
    http://stke.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/2004/249/tw319
     
  9. enJoanet

    enJoanet Senior Member

    London UK
    Français
    Hi people!
    :)
    A question arose on the French-English Grammar Forum regarding the use of devoted to: does it have to be followed by an infinitive (devoted to do smth) or by a gerund (devoted to understanding smth)

    Although we agreed that the correct pattern was the latter, several sentences can be found where devoted to is indeed used with an infinitive....

    The question is why?
    Here are a few examples we have found on the net..

    Examples with devoted+to+infinitive
    1- http://stke.sciencemag.org/cgi/conte...2004/249/tw319

    2-"In the area of biochemical reactivity, our studies are devoted to understand biological processes at the atomic level, making extensive use of computational and theoretical chemistry.

    3-"Special efforts were devoted to understand and test various knowledge representation standards and technologies available in the market "

    4-And the last but not the least:
    http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=A...22h1wRcc&hl=en

    Examples with devoted+to+gerund
    "The **** Institute is devoted to understanding causes of and finding cures for neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders and addictions".



    thanks in advance for your help!
    :)
     
  10. GreenWhiteBlue

    GreenWhiteBlue Senior Member

    New York
    USA - English
    "Smth" is not an abbreviation used by native English speakers. If you wish to be understood, you need to write out the full word "something".

    In the phrase "Devoted to do something", "do something" is not an infinitive. English infinitives always include the word "to", and so to give an example of an infinitive following "devoted to", you would have to say, for example "devoted to to teach", which clearly is wrong.

    The phrase "devoted to understand" thus has a problem: if the "to" is part of the infinitive "to understand", can "devoted" appear alone this way? If the "to" is part of "devoted to", what is the word "understand" all by itself? In short, "devoted to understand" is an error; the correct form is 'devoted to understanding".
     
  11. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    Always is too strong. E.g. in "You must work harder", work is definitly an infinitive.
     
  12. enJoanet

    enJoanet Senior Member

    London UK
    Français
    Mea culpa.
     
  13. GreenWhiteBlue

    GreenWhiteBlue Senior Member

    New York
    USA - English
    By "infinitive", I meant "full infinitive". "Work" in this sentence is a bare infinitive. I do not think the bare infinitive is frequently referred to with the unqualified term "the infinitive", while it is common to use the term "infinitive" to mean the full infinitive.

    Nevertheless, the phrase "devoted to" is not properly followed by a bare infinitive.

    Our company is devoted to find a solution to the problem.:cross:
    Our company is devoted to finding a solution to the problem.:tick:

    The organization was devoted to fostering world peace.:tick:
    The organization was devoted to foster world peace.:cross:

    It would seem that the problem is caused by taking what must be a bare infinitive and linking it to the "to" in "devoted to" in what looks like a full infinitive.
     
  14. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    EEUU-inglés
    Most often the phrase devoted to is followed by either a gerund or a noun.

    These examples—

    sound clunky and unnatural. Doubtless Google searches will yield such uses, but they should not serve as models for idiomatic writing.
     
  15. enJoanet

    enJoanet Senior Member

    London UK
    Français
    thanks for your answers!!
    :)
     

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