Where did you get the money to buy this computer?

Hiden

Senior Member
japanese
Do the following two sentences express the same meaning? I think that the use of the "to infinitive" in each sentence is different: in (1) it is “adjectival” with "the money" as the modified noun whereas in (2) it is “adverbial“ because "(in order) to buy" modifies the verb "get".

(1) Where did you get the money to buy this computer with?​
(2) Where did you get the money in order to buy the computer?​
 
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  • Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    I would not use "with" in (1), though I'm not sure it's actually wrong.
    I would not use "in order to" in (2), but if I wanted to put something in front of "to buy", it would be "with which".
    In both cases the stuff after "money" would act adjectivally to describe the money by reference to its purpose.
     

    Hiden

    Senior Member
    japanese
    Thank you, everyone. I think that in (2) "in order to buy" modifies the verb "get".
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    Thank you, everyone. I think that in (2) "in order to buy" modifies the verb "get".
    That interpretation doesn't work for me.
    It would work in the following:
    Question: Why did you get this money from your father?
    Answer: I got it (in order) to buy a computer.
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    Thank you, everyone. I think that in (2) "in order to buy" modifies the verb "get".
    "The money to buy this computer with" = the money with which to buy this computer. With which to buy this computer is adjectival.

    [If we remove "with", then with have "Where did you get {the money to buy this computer}?" and you will note that {the money to buy this computer} is a noun phrase comprised of a noun phrase and an adjectival phrase.

    In the analysis of "Where did you get the money in order to buy the computer?", the questions are

    1. What is the function of the phrase "in order" in the sentence? "In order" is {preposition + noun} = modifier. We can correctly substitute an adverb for "in order" - "Where did you get the money easily to buy the computer?" (but we cannot substitute an adjective: *Where did you get the money easy to buy the computer?")

    2. What is the function of the phrase "to buy the computer" in the sentence? - That is answered above.

    3. "Do you need to get 'in order to buy', or money 'in order to buy'?". In fact, you need "to get money".

    4. Consider:
    "Where did you get the money in order to buy the computer?"
    "In order to buy the computer, where did you get the money?"

    Both are correct

    In order to buy the computer is a free modifier, which introduces an adverbial clause/phrase of purpose that modifies the whole main clause "Where did you get the money".
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    I will add to the above that "in order" is often seen as a subordinating conjunction introducing an adverbial phrase/clause of purpose and the equivalent of "so as".
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Do the following two sentences express the same meaning? I think that the use of the "to infinitive" in each sentence is different: in (1) it is “adjectival” with "the money" as the modified noun whereas in (2) it is “adverbial“ because "(in order) to buy" modifies the verb "get".

    (1) Where did you get the money to buy this computer with?​
    (2) Where did you get the money in order to buy the computer?​
    I see where you're coming from, Hiden.

    In (1), you could replace "the money to get the computer" with "it":
    A. Where did you get it?
    B. What?
    A. The money to buy the computer.


    That wouldn't work with (2), though.

    So I think you're probably right:).
    ......
    Added. I think I'm saying the same thing as Paul in different words!
     

    Hiden

    Senior Member
    japanese
    I see where you're coming from, Hiden.

    In (1), you could replace "the money to get the computer" with "it":
    A. Where did you get it?
    B. What?
    A. The money to buy the computer.


    That wouldn't work with (2), though.

    So I think you're probably right:).
    ......
    Added. I think I'm saying the same thing as Paul in different words!
    Thank you for always answering my questions. You've been helpful. I have just one more question I'd like to ask about this topic. In (3), what does the to-infinitive modify?

    (3) Where did you get the money to buy this computer?

    I think that the function of it is closer to that of sentence (1) although (3) does not have the preposition "with".
     
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    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    (3) Where did you get the money to buy this computer? :thumbsup::thumbsup:
    The bold infinitive phrase can only modify the noun money, which tells you that it’s adjectival.

    Alternative ways to say it:
    Where did you get …​
    the money with which to buy this computer? — unnecessarily formal
    the money to buy this computer with? — inferior style; the with is superfluous anyway
    the money for this computer? :thumbsup:
     

    Hiden

    Senior Member
    japanese
    (3) Where did you get the money to buy this computer? :thumbsup::thumbsup:
    The bold infinitive phrase can only modify the noun money, which tells you that it’s adjectival.

    Alternative ways to say it:
    Where did you get …​
    the money with which to buy this computer? — unnecessarily formal
    the money to buy this computer with? — inferior style; the with is superfluous anyway
    the money for this computer? :thumbsup:
    Thank you for your answer. A linguist states a simillar thing in one of his books. From your answer, I'm sure that his statement reflects reality.

    Again, thank you, everyone. I have learned something.
     
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    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    All I did was summarise what everyone else has already said above.

    There are usually numerous ways of saying the same thing, the best one being the simplest. ;)
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    (3) Where did you get the money to buy this computer?
    My issue with this option is that it can sound accusatory. It did seem that way when I read it.

    Where did you get the money to buy this computer? Did you steal it?
    Where did you get the money to buy this computer? Did you raid your college fund savings?



    In this conversation, below, I have elicited the information instead of asking outright.

    Packard: Hiden, this computer looks expensive.
    Hiden: It is.
    Packard: You must have saved for while to buy this.
    Hiden: No. Actually it was a gift from my grandparents.
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Yet another way to say it would be “How did you manage to afford a new computer?”. But I think any of them being accusatory is largely in the eye of the beholder – it’s context-dependent, but also the way it was said would make a huge difference.
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    I agree. The “tone of voice” of the speaker will provide considerable amount of hidden information. (Hidden in the written form.)

    Which is why drama scripts have notations about the dialog.
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    My issue with this option is that it can sound accusatory.
    I agree, and assumed all along that that was the idea. Well, perhaps not quite, but it certainly expresses that the speaker is surprised to have discovered that the other person had this computer, knowing that the other person is not exactly made of cash. Of course there is likely to be an innocent explanation.

    It's a hand-me-down from my big sister, who has just upgraded to a more powerful one, with a subsidy from her employer because she works from home a lot.
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    In (3), what does the to-infinitive modify?

    (3) Where did you get the money to buy this computer?

    The "to infinitive" is not a true "to infinitive." It is a dative phrase. The reason for this goes back to Old English. In Old English the infinitive was a bare infinitive and (often) ended in -an, e.g. the infinitive of the verb "help" was helpan This was the same suffix as would be placed on many nouns in the dative: the dative of the noun "help" was "helpan".

    Thus I went to help him could be understood as I went to help him or I went to/for his help.

    In Middle English, the dative grammatical case was lost but its syntax remained and the two forms became confused.

    Where did you get the money to buy this computer? is thus to be understood as Where did you get the money for the purchase of this computer?

    Thus the "to infinitive" does not modify anything, but the dative complement "to buy this computer" modifies "money"
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    The "to infinitive" is not a true "to infinitive." It is a dative phrase. The reason for this goes back to Old English. In Old English the infinitive was a bare infinitive and (often) ended in -an, e.g. the infinitive of the verb "help" was helpan This was the same suffix as would be placed on many nouns in the dative: the dative of the noun "help" was "helpan".

    Thus I went to help him could be understood as I went to help him or I went to/for his help.

    In Middle English, the dative grammatical case was lost but its syntax remained and the two forms became confused.

    Where did you get the money to buy this computer? is thus to be understood as Where did you get the money for the purchase of this computer?

    Thus the "to infinitive" does not modify anything, but the dative complement "to buy this computer" modifies "money"
    What amazes me is that absolutely none of the above was taught when I was in school. (I am kind of amazed that I can communicate in English at all.) :D:eek:

    I actually read and understood your explanation. I’m not sure what I am going to do with this new found knowledge though.
     

    neal41

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    Linguists create models just like other scientists. At any given moment there are often multiple models in use for different purposes. One syntactic model might be designed to help linguists attain a deeper understand of the phenomenon of language. Another different model might be didactic, that is, designed to teach learners of a language how to speak that language. Relating some feature of modern English to something in Old English (really a different language) is interesting but probably not helpful to a non-native speaker trying to learn to speak the modern language.

    Years ago as a graduate student in linguistics I took a course in Old English. It was interesting and insightful, but should a course in Old English be a part of the curriculum of every undergraduate or high school student? Does it really rise to that level of importance? I doubt it. Latin would probably be more useful.
     
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    Hiden

    Senior Member
    japanese
    Thank you for your insightful feedback, everyone. You have been helpful and I have learned something new. :thank you: 😃
     
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