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role of an infinitive phrase

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role of an infinitive phrase [#permalink] New post 21 Jan 2014, 18:52
Hi,

I am confused regarding the role of an infinitive phrase in the below sentence drawn from an article in The Economist

"The fear is that if young people fail to sign up for XYZ treaty, insurers will raise prices, making healthy people even less likely to buy coverage in the future"

I think that in the participial phrase " making healthy people even less likely to buy coverage in the future", the infinitive phrase " healthy people even less likely to buy coverage in the future" acts as a direct object of the participle "making". The phrase "healthy people" is the subject of the infinitive "to buy".

Please correct me.

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Paresh
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Re: role of an infinitive phrase [#permalink] New post 24 Jan 2014, 08:32
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Hi there

Indeed healthy people is the object of the making while it becomes the subject for to buy.

All you need ask for subjects is who/what does the action while for objects you ask who(m)/what receives the direct action. It is perfectly alright to have healthy people be both. In this case though people is neither the subject nor the object of an actual conjugated verb but rather of 2 unconjugated actions, which is fine (the object of an 'ing'/present participle modifier and the subject of an infinitive). So indeed also the infinitive phrase is the object of the adjective (less likely) and modifies it in this case.

Was there something specific that confused you here?
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Re: role of an infinitive phrase [#permalink] New post 27 Jan 2014, 07:42
Hi Isaac,

Thanks for the precious reply.

I was confused whether the infinitive phrase is modifying the adjective (likely), or whether it is a part of the direct object of the participle(making).

Can you please confirm that in the absence of the phrase (even less likely) the entire infinitive phrase (healthy people to buy coverage in the future) would be the object of the participle (making).


Thanks,
Paresh
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Re: role of an infinitive phrase [#permalink] New post 27 Jan 2014, 09:58
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You are welcome!

If you take away even less likely then there is a problem as the less likely is the anchor for what follows and of there is no 'even less likely' then you do not have the 'to buy ...etc' so indeed it is modifying the comparative adjective there but be aware that that comparative adjective implicitly includes a 'to be' so to speak- in other words it is like saying healthy people are less likely to buy insurance if prices rise etc. Sometimes by changing the sentence structure around the different elements may make more sense (just don't mess around with the meaning! :))
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Re: role of an infinitive phrase [#permalink] New post 28 Jan 2014, 06:20
Thanks for the reply:)
Re: role of an infinitive phrase   [#permalink] 28 Jan 2014, 06:20
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