if you would <enjoy to stay> in Venice or in Switzerland

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Senior Member
Here are some words from the novel Lady Chatterley's Lover(page 398, chapter 17) by DH Lawrence (planetebook,here):
(background: Clifford wrote to Connie and told her that Mellors' wife Bertha was gossiping about Mellors and other women. Clifford planned to dismiss Mellors..…)

Meanwhile(=during this period?), my dear Connie, if you would enjoy to stay in Venice or in Switzerland till the beginning of August, I should be glad to think you were out of all this buzz of nastiness, which will have died quite away by the end of the month.

I was taught that we can only say enjoy doing something, rather than enjoy to do something. Why did Clifford it that way please?
Thank you in advance
Last edited:
  • PaulQ

    Senior Member
    English - England
    This is the intransitive use of "to enjoy" = to be happy. It is considered obsolete, but it contains the nuance of the reflexive (to be happy in oneself) plus it is qualified by "would" which gives the strong tentative and polite suggestion/urging that Connie should stay in Venice or Switzerland and enjoy herself.
    The OED has

    "3 b. with infinitive as object colloquial or vulgar [vulgar = customary; ordinary; in common use]
    1864 Realm 22 June 3 She would greatly enjoy to dance at a ball once more."

    In short - the construction is now very unusual; it was probably common in Sir Clifford's day and it is understandable as to why Sir Clifford said this.
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