the definition of <to> burgle

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NewAmerica

Banned
Mandarin
Should "to" be removed?

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In etymology, back-formation is the process of creating a new lexeme by removing actual or supposed affixes. The resulting neologism is called a back-formation, a term coined by James Murray in 1889. (OED online preserves their first use of 'back formation' from 1889 in the definition of to burgle; from burglar.)

Source:
Back-formation - Wikipedia
 
  • grassy

    Senior Member
    Polish
    What do you mean by "affix"? The "to" indicates that what follows it is a verb in its infinitive form.
     

    NewAmerica

    Banned
    Mandarin
    It is talking about ".the process of creating a new lexeme by removing actual or supposed affixes. "
     

    manfy

    Senior Member
    German - Austria
    It is talking about ".the process of creating a new lexeme by removing actual or supposed affixes. "
    'ar' in the noun 'burglar' looks like an affix. This 'ar' was removed, the 'e' added and then 'to burgle' was used as a verb.
    It's called back-formation because in the usual process of word formation in English, the verb comes first and then it is turned into various nouns, e.g. to rule -> ruler, ruling.

    Another common form of back-formation is creating an adjective from a noun. By adding the infinitive marker 'to burgle' in the OP sentence, it's absolutely clear that they talk about a back-formation from noun to verb.
     

    NewAmerica

    Banned
    Mandarin
    By adding the infinitive marker 'to burgle' in the OP sentence, it's absolutely clear that they talk about a back-formation from noun to verb.
    Since you are talking about the formation from noun to verb. Is "to burgle" a verb? Or "a preposition + a verb"? We are not talking about the formation of "a preposition + a verb", aren't we?

    And the nuance is vital.
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    "To burgle" is the standard infinitive form of the verb. The word "to" in that form is not really a preposition and is used to mark the iniinitive form of every verb. Some call it a "particle".
    infinitive marker
    A word or affix attached to the stem of a verb in order to form the infinitive
    In English, to is the inifinitve marker
    Source
     

    NewAmerica

    Banned
    Mandarin
    Okay, it works theoretically.

    But in reality, isn't the expression "'back formation' from 1889 in the definition of burgle; from burglar " better than "'back formation' from 1889 in the definition of to burgle; from burglar"? It is odd that the author wanted to insert "to" here so badly while without it seems to be perfect.
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    There is nothing at all odd here :(
    The original word is burglar. The stem of the verb "back-formed verb from it is "burgle". The author chose to present the (standard) infinitive form of the verb, perhaps so everyone would realize it was now a verb.

    Have you noticed how dictionary definitions frequently use the "standard infinitive" verb form? :)
    bur•glar•ize (bûrglə rīz′), v., -ized, -iz•ing. v.t.
    to break into and steal from:Thieves burglarized the warehouse.
     

    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    I don’t find it odd. The author is just clearly showing he’s writing about a verb.
    What do you mean by “so badly” here?
     

    NewAmerica

    Banned
    Mandarin
    Have you noticed how dictionary definitions frequently use the "standard infinitive" verb form? :)
    I once used to use alot American Heritage Dictionary which uses "to" on a large scale to explain any verbs, a style distinct from that of Oxford Dictionaries. For example (the word go):

    AHD:
    1. To move or travel; proceed
    2. To move away from a place; depart
    OD:
    1.Move from one place to another; travel.
    2. Leave; depart.
    Now burgle: To burglarize (AHD); Enter (a building) illegally with intent to commit a crime, especially theft (OD).

    You appear to have missed the important nuance:

    It used "standard infinitive" verb form (""to break into and steal from ) to give the definition of the word "burglarize", not to give the definition of the infinitive form "to burglarize."

    That is why the OP inquires: Should "to" be removed (from the definition of to burgle)?

    No dictionary gives any definition to such infinitive form "to (verb)." It simply gives definition of the verb.
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    Are you just arguing for the sake of it? :D To is an infinitve marker and using it is quite standard, and not "odd" as you suggested.. The stem verb without the to is known as a "bare infinitive". So there are two kinds : the "to infinitive" with "to" as the infinitive marker, and the "bare infinitive" without a marker.
     

    NewAmerica

    Banned
    Mandarin
    Yes it is not odd now to me under the influence of you guys. :)

    But can you find any other examples of "the definition of 'to (any verb)" except this wiki entry (about the definition of to burgle)? Google search results are poor enough...
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    If the dictionary entry for any word says it's a verb (it usually indicates transitive or intransitive), then we already know that the to infinitive form is "to {verb}" while the bare infinitive is simply "{verb}". Verbs are listed in dictionaries under their bare form as the "headword" (otherwise they would all be listed under the word "to" :eek: :D) .
     
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    NewAmerica

    Banned
    Mandarin
    Now the basic conclusion might be: that the wiki expression ("the definition of to burgle") is simply an exception.:rolleyes:
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    Now the basic conclusion might be: that the wiki expression ("the definition of to burgle") is simply an exception.:rolleyes:
    Whether someone (or editor) chooses to refer to a "to infinitive" or a "bare infinitive" when referring to its meaning is a choice not a grammar rule. :eek: Either one is perfectly valid. I am surprised this is causing you so much anxiety :)
     
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