can anyone explain why we cannot use "to protect" here? the OG explanation is sort of strange. What does it mean by saying that "to protect" cannot act as a nonrestrictive adjectival phrase modifying items? What's nonrestrictive adj.?First of all
, in the original sentence, "a method," as a noun, seems most syntactically comparable to another noun. But syntactically it looks as though this "method" refers to "items of military equipment," since adjectives (with the sole exception of predicate adjectives) cannot be separated from the nouns they modify by conjugated verbs. Semantically, we WANT the "method" to be the shields. But that is ungrammatical. Furthermore, a "method" is not strictly speaking a tangible thing such as a shield, so semantically that seems a little bit weird.
It is better to use "protecting" rather than "a method to protect" or even "a method of protecting" since the gerundative phrase can be an adverb and therefore refer to the whole preceding clause.Second
, infinitive phrases tend to work best when they are used as nouns, not as modifiers. "A method to protect" would not be as good as "a method of protecting," particularly since "a method to protect" appears to imply that the method is DESTINED or FORCED to do the protecting.
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