Use of infinitive

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Barbapapa249
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Use of infinitive

Postby Barbapapa249 » 2010-09-07, 14:21

Hi all,

I have a question regarding the use of the infinitive in Portuguese. It seems that a combination of ir/vir + a + infinitive would express the start or the beginning or progression of the action dented by the infinitive. However, a + infinitive can also function as a gerund/past participle and express the manner in which an action is performed (I have all of this from grammars, so please tell me if it's not correct!)

Then for a sentence such as this:
saiu d-a casa a correr

'a correr' indicates the manner of the action, right?
But what about this sentence:

que ia a passar.

Either, 'a passar' could indicate the manner in which the subject went, or 'ia' is an auxiliary which means 'started' or 'progressive', so something like 'she started to pass' or 'she was passing'.

What are your intuitions about this and is there some easy way to figure out whether ir is being used as an auxiliary?

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Luís
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Re: Use of infinitive

Postby Luís » 2010-09-07, 20:51

Both sentences indicate manner and I don't really see how ir/vir + a + infinitive could ever have the meaning of "to start to do something".

Can you be more specific?
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Barbapapa249
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Re: Use of infinitive

Postby Barbapapa249 » 2010-09-08, 7:19

Hi!

I'm sorry that I was not explicit enough. These are some examples that I extracted from a grammar, for which the author writes that ir/vir are used as auxiliaries with several types of meaning:

Ir followed by an infinitive without a preceding preposition indicates progressive action, an intention to perform a certain act, or the certainty of its proximate realization:

vai chover 'it is going to rain'
vou ler agora mesmo esta carta 'I am just now going to read this letter'
vou passear 'I am going to take a walk'

Ir followed by an infinitive preceded by the preposition a is a more explicit form of the same construction without a:

pediu-me que o fosse a ver muitas vezes 'he asked me to come to see him often'

Ir also expresses the beginning of an action:

e dizendo isto já ia a levantar-se 'and saying o he started to get up'
fui a procurá-lo 'I went to find him'
ia a correr 'I started to run'

Vir followed by an infinitive preceded by the preposition a differs from the simple verb only in expressing final result or purpose:

vim a saber 'I cam to know, I finally knew'
veio a ser rico 'he became rich'

I hope that these examples help you to understand my problem... especially the one ia a correr 'I started to run'... Thanks!

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Luís
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Re: Use of infinitive

Postby Luís » 2010-09-08, 18:13

Barbapapa249 wrote:Ir followed by an infinitive without a preceding preposition indicates progressive action, an intention to perform a certain act, or the certainty of its proximate realization:

vai chover 'it is going to rain'
vou ler agora mesmo esta carta 'I am just now going to read this letter'
vou passear 'I am going to take a walk'


Correct. Ir + infinitive is the periphrastic future in Portuguese. It doesn't necessarily indicate a progressive action, though. It can be *any* action, as long as it's in the future.

Barbapapa249 wrote:Ir followed by an infinitive preceded by the preposition a is a more explicit form of the same construction without a:

pediu-me que o fosse a ver muitas vezes 'he asked me to come to see him often'


I don't really agree with that statement and the example sentence sounds rather strange to my ears.


Barbapapa249 wrote:Ir also expresses the beginning of an action:

e dizendo isto já ia a levantar-se 'and saying o he started to get up'
Fui a procurá-lo 'I went to find him'
ia a correr 'I started to run'


Sentence #1 is correct. But you should interpret this simply as the construction ir + infinitive in the past ("vou comer" = I'm going to eat vs ia comer = "I was going to eat").
Sentence #2 sounds strange, I wouldn't use the preposition there.
Sentence #3 doesn't mean "I started to run", but rather "I was running".


Barbapapa249 wrote:Vir followed by an infinitive preceded by the preposition a differs from the simple verb only in expressing final result or purpose:

vim a saber 'I cam to know, I finally knew'
veio a ser rico 'he became rich'


Correct.
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Re: Use of infinitive

Postby Barbapapa249 » 2010-09-10, 15:12

Thanks a lot for your comments, Luíz. They really help!

OK. Are the following then correct analyses?

ir = auxiliary in the following examples:

De repente ouviu um estrondo, e foi jogado subita-mente por terra, com o impacto de um vento que não conhecia.

Quando o dia chegasse, ela ia sair e fazer aquilo que havia feito durante tanto-s ano-s; mas tudo havia mudado.

N-o instante seguinte o bosque foi invadido por soldado-s

e ia mergulhar entre a-s folha-s

Por isso, seja como for, vou conseguir chegar a-o jardim

e chamou a Rainha, que ia a passar.

--Acho que vou descer pel-o outro lado—

N-o instante seguinte o bosque foi invadido por soldado-s

In the next cases, 'foi' is not an auxiliary, but it means something like 'went falling' (first two), 'went to hang it' (third). Or does ir also count as an auxiliary in these cases?

e foi cair de cabeça n-um fosso.

e foi cair de cabeça n-um fosso.

foi pendurá-la cuidadosa-mente n-o ramo de uma árvore.

And then in these, 'a + infinitive' always indicates manner:

saiu d-a casa a correr

tinham logo de vir a contorcer-se d-o céu. Maldita-s serpente-s!

quando de repente um criado de libré saiu a correr d-o bosque

E saiu d-a cozinha a correr.

A Rainha abriu de novo o-s braço-s e foi a voar atrás d-ele

--Lá vai a Rainha Branca a correr!

Depois entrou também a flutuar n-o vestíbulo

Veio a voar d-aquele bosque além...

e um Cavaleiro com uma armadura vermelha veio galopando a-o seu encontro brandindo uma enorme maça.

Mas final-mente uma Rã muito velha sentada debaixo d-a árvore levantou-se e veio a coxear muito devagar-inho n-a sua direcção.

Alice riu-se tanto d-isto, que teve de voltar a correr para o bosque com medo de que ele-s a ouvissem.

Is this correct? Thanks so much...

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Re: Use of infinitive

Postby Luís » 2010-09-11, 21:41

Barbapapa249 wrote:Thanks a lot for your comments, Luíz. They really help!

OK. Are the following then correct analyses?

ir = auxiliary in the following examples:

De repente ouviu um estrondo, e foi jogado subita-mente por terra, com o impacto de um vento que não conhecia.

Quando o dia chegasse, ela ia sair e fazer aquilo que havia feito durante tanto-s ano-s; mas tudo havia mudado.

N-o instante seguinte o bosque foi invadido por soldado-s

e ia mergulhar entre a-s folha-s

Por isso, seja como for, vou conseguir chegar a-o jardim

e chamou a Rainha, que ia a passar.

--Acho que vou descer pel-o outro lado—

N-o instante seguinte o bosque foi invadido por soldado-s


I'd say so in what concerns the ones in blue. The one in red seems to indicate manner to me.

Barbapapa249 wrote:In the next cases, 'foi' is not an auxiliary, but it means something like 'went falling' (first two), 'went to hang it' (third). Or does ir also count as an auxiliary in these cases?

e foi cair de cabeça n-um fosso.

e foi cair de cabeça n-um fosso.

foi pendurá-la cuidadosa-mente n-o ramo de uma árvore.


Correct.

Barbapapa249 wrote:And then in these, 'a + infinitive' always indicates manner:

saiu d-a casa a correr

tinham logo de vir a contorcer-se d-o céu. Maldita-s serpente-s!

quando de repente um criado de libré saiu a correr d-o bosque

E saiu d-a cozinha a correr.

A Rainha abriu de novo o-s braço-s e foi a voar atrás d-ele

--Lá vai a Rainha Branca a correr!

Depois entrou também a flutuar n-o vestíbulo

Veio a voar d-aquele bosque além...

e um Cavaleiro com uma armadura vermelha veio galopando a-o seu encontro brandindo uma enorme maça.

Mas final-mente uma Rã muito velha sentada debaixo d-a árvore levantou-se e veio a coxear muito devagar-inho n-a sua direcção.

Alice riu-se tanto d-isto, que teve de voltar a correr para o bosque com medo de que ele-s a ouvissem.

Is this correct? Thanks so much...


Correct.
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Barbapapa249
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Re: Use of infinitive

Postby Barbapapa249 » 2010-09-15, 7:17

Hi Luiz,

thanks for your comments! Makes sense. This has helped a lot!


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