I got up early for him to eat a healthy breakfast.

< Previous | Next >

park sang joon

Senior Member
Korean
<The following examples using to-infinitive adverbially are of my own making.>
- When we should use for+subject for to-infinitive when the subject of a main clause is different from the subject of to-infinitive.
1. I got up early so that he could eat a healthy breakfast.
2. ≠I got up early for him to eat a healthy breakfast.(X)
3. Her parents paid for her to go to Canada. (O)
4. Would you arrange for me to meet him? (O)

When we use to-infinitive so as to express a purpose, we can use for+subject if a main verb directly affect the act of to-infinitive phrase; am I right?


Thank you in advance for your help.
 
  • Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    I got up early so that he could eat a healthy breakfast.
    I got up early for him to eat a healthy breakfast.

    Both mean that you got up early in order that he was enabled to eat a healthy breakfast. Both have the same apparent lack of causal link between your getting up and his breakfast, but would make sense if your role in life was to make sure he ate some fresh fruit in the morning.
     

    e2efour

    Senior Member
    UK English
    I got up early for him to eat a healthy breakfast.
    I find this an odd way of speaking. It suggests that you ate the breakfast, not him.
    For him could mean to please him or on his instructions, so the sentence is also rather ambiguous.

    I would say I got up early to allow him to eat a healthy breakfast.
     
    Last edited:

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    I find this rather odd. It suggest that you ate the breakfast, not him.
    For him can mean to please him or on his instrutions, so the sentence is also rather ambiguous.
    I also find it a bit odd and open to misunderstanding, but the sentence is not wrong, and the most likely meaning is "I got up early so that he could eat a healthy breakfast". It is exactly the same structure as "I go up early for him to catch the train", which has the same potential ambiguity, but I doubt many people would interpret that as meaning I caught the train rather than him. I don't suppose I'd say it myself, preferring "I got up early so that he caught the train", but I also don't think it can be called wrong.
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    Being less willing to go out of my way to understand it, I get the impression that he will eat me for breakfast but only if I'm awake. ;) Neither 1 nor 2 avoids that.
    I got up early so I could prepare a healthy breakfast for him.
     

    Pauline Meryle

    Senior Member
    English UK
    One has the impression that the speaker is the mother or perhaps wife of the person eating the breakfast.

    "so he could eat" is just as short as #2 and does away with the ambiguity.
     

    boozer

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    Being less willing to go out of my way to understand it, I get the impression that he will eat me for breakfast but only if I'm awake. ;)
    Now that is a brilliant idea. :D :thumbsup: Hadn't thought of that, but now that you mention it, it is easy to imagine the speaker getting up early to sacrifice himself as healthy breakfast for him, lest 'he' should commit the error of eating someone else who is sickly, old and sinewy. :D 'He' may be a lion or a bear or a cannibal...
     

    park sang joon

    Senior Member
    Korean
    Thank you everyone for your very valuable answer.:)

    2. I got up early for him to eat a healthy breakfast.(X)
    3. Her parents paid for her to go to Canada. (O)
    4. Would you arrange for me to meet him? (O)


    Is that #2 is wrong and #3 and #4 are correct only the matter of ambiguity?
    When we use to-infinitive so as to express a purpose, we can use for+subject if a main verb directly affect the act of to-infinitive phrase; am I right?
    Then, what do you think about my thought?
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    I didn't actually say it was wrong (although I don't like it). :)
    I said that it was (at best) ambiguous.
    No, you didn't, but Glasguensis did. :)
    When we use to-infinitive so as to express a purpose, we can use for+subject if a main verb directly affect the act of to-infinitive phrase; am I right?
    Then, what do you think about my thought?
    That you have missed a pretty important point. If you are expressing a purpose, the main verb must directly affect the action of the to-infinitive verb. As you have seen, your sentences about breakfast both lack a causal link. How does my getting up early affect his breakfast? The sentences are grammatical, and can be made to mean there is a causal link, but without some form of explanatory context they cause confusion and misunderstanding. I realise that when I first answered this question that I created context in my own mind to give sense to both sentences.

    "I cook the breakfasts in our house. He needed to catch an early train. I got up early so that he could eat a healthy breakfast." That works, but I doubt I'd say it.
    "I cook the breakfasts in our house. He needed to catch an early train. I got up early for him to eat a healthy breakfast." That also works, although it is pretty unlikely that anybody would say it.

    The other two sentences in your first post have a clear causal link. I think that you may have understod the use of the to-infinitive following 'I did x for ..." but expressed your thought in a way which was misunderstood. It's not that we can use the to-infinitive in this way, it's that we do use it when there is a clear link between the action of the main verb and the action of the to-infinitive. We don't use it idiomatically when the link is unclear, even though it may be considered grammatical.
     

    park sang joon

    Senior Member
    Korean
    Thank you, Andygc, for your very elaborate and detailed and informative answer. :)
    I should have added this to the op: "Or we should avoid to use for+subject when for+subject lead to there being ambiguity in the context.":(
     
    Last edited:

    Glasguensis

    Signal Modulation
    English - Scotland
    The difference as I see it between the sentences which work and those which do not is that those which work could stop at the "for him/her". The "to ..." which follows qualifies / provides additional information. The breakfast example is different because you are not getting up for him - you are getting up to do something which happens to be for him.
     

    park sang joon

    Senior Member
    Korean
    Thank you, Glasguensis, for your accounts. :)
    Do you mean to-infinitive in sentences such as the progress of the context can pause before "to~" can express a purpose with "for + subject"?
    Then what do you think about post #4?
     

    Glasguensis

    Signal Modulation
    English - Scotland
    I don't understand what you're trying to say. But I agree with Post 4 - it is entirely consistent with what I said.
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top