when is "to" infinitive optional or just bare infinitive?

pubwie

New Member
English - Afrikaans
Need advice, please.
I got the question after it was read in a textbook.

"There is a queen, what she does her entire life is lay eggs"

Rule: "lay" is used here as a bare infinitive because it used after the auxiliary verb "is", right?

Why would "to" be added if the sentence is changed to:

"The thing which she does her entire life is to lay eggs."

  • Does the rule still apply or is it optional in both cases to add "to" after be?

What am I missing here?

Any help would be appreciated.
 
  • Darlingpurslane

    Senior Member
    English - US
    I believe that when the subject of the sentence includes a relative clause using the verb "do," the "to" in the infinitive is optional. Both of your sentences include essential relative clauses using "does" that describe the subject, and so "to" can be used or omitted.

    Consider the following examples with relative clauses modifying the subject. When the verb "do" is removed from the relative clause, only the to-infinitive is correct, not the bare infinitive.

    Correct:
    The thing (that) I most like to do is to read in bed.
    The thing (that) I most like to do is read in bed.
    The thing (that) I like most is to read in bed.

    Incorrect:
    The thing (that) I like most is read in bed.
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    because it used after the auxiliary verb "is", right?
    Careful! "Is" is not an auxiliary verb here. It is the main verb of the sentence (the sentence is punctuated incorrectly, by the way, the comma is wrong and should be a full stop, making it two sentences). This is a copular or linking verb, and tells us "X is Y", where X and Y are both noun phrases. X is "what she does her entire life" and Y is "lay eggs". Y could easily be "to lay eggs".

    Your second example is not essentially different. You have changed X from "what she does" the "the thing that she does". They both work with both styles of Y, so "to" is optional in both examples.
     
    Top