The Complex Object is a predicative construction which consists of a noun in the common case or a pronoun in the objective case and an infinitive.

The relations between the noun or the pronoun and the infinitive are similar to those between the subject and the predicate of the sentence. The infinitive in this construction is sometimes called a secondary predicate while the noun or the pronoun a secondary subject. They are considered to express predication like the subject and the predicate that’s why complexes with the infinitive as well as those with other verbals are called COMPLEXES WITH THE INFINITIVE predicative.

The Complex Object with the infinitive is used after the following groups of verbs:

1) after the verbs of sense perception to see, to hear, to feel, to watch, to observe, to notice. The infinitive may be only indefinite active, the particle to is omitted.

I felt something touch my hand.

No one has ever heard her cry.

Note. When the verbs to see and to hear are used in the meaning of mental activity (to see= to understand, to hear=to know) a subordinate clause is used.

I saw that he didn’t know anything.

I hear that he left COMPLEXES WITH THE INFINITIVE for the South last week.

2) After verbs of mental activity to think, to believe, to consider, to suppose, to find, to feel (=to consider), to mean, to understand:

I knew him to be a clever boy.

I don‘t expect this fine weather to continue.

All the forms of the infinitive may be used here.

The doctor found his heart to have stopped two hours before.

3) after the verbs of liking, disliking, wish: to want, to wish, to desire, to like, to love, to dislike, to hate:

He wants you to wait here.

I dislike you to COMPLEXES WITH THE INFINITIVE talk like that.

The infinitive is only indefinite, sometimes passive:

I wish the work to be done in time.

He hated the window to be closed.

4) after the verbs of order, permission, request (the infinitive is only indefinite, preferably active):

- to allow, to permit, to order, to command, to force, to cause, to get (the infinitive is used with the particle to);

The doctor permitted the room to be aired.

He ordered the letter to be sent at once.

- to let, to have, to make (the particle to is omitted)

I won’t have you speak like that COMPLEXES WITH THE INFINITIVE.

She made me obey her.

5) after certain verbs requiring a prepositional object: to count (up)on, to rely (up)on, to look for, to wait for, to listen to (without “to”)

I rely on you to come in time.

He was looking for somebody to help him

He was listening to the chairman speak.


The Complex Subject is a predicative construction which consists of two parts: nominal and verbal. The nominal part consists of a noun in the common case or a pronoun in the nominative case. The verbal part is expressed by an infinitive. The complex subject is used:

I COMPLEXES WITH THE INFINITIVE. With the following predicate verbs in the passive voice:

a) the verbs of sense perception (mostly to see and to hear):

He was seen to enter the room.

The infinitive is indefinite active.

b) with the verbs of mental activity to think, to believe, to consider, to suppose, to know, to expect, to understand:

He is expected to be leaving tonight.

He is considered to be right.

He is known to have been a sailor in his youth.

c) with the verbs of order and permission: to force, to allow, to make, to order, etc.

I COMPLEXES WITH THE INFINITIVE was made to repeat my story.

The infinitive is indefinite active.

d) with the verbs of saying: to say, to report, to announce, to declare. All the forms of the infinitive are possible here.

The storm was reported to be approaching.

The actress is said to have been popular in her youth.

Sentences of this type belong to the official bookish style. In colloquial English the combinations they say, people say are used.

II. The Complex Subject is used with the following verbs and expressions in the active voice:

a) with the verbs of seeming: to seem, to appear, to COMPLEXES WITH THE INFINITIVE turn out, to prove, to happen. With the verb to happen the infinitive is never perfect, while after the other verbs all the forms of the infinitive are possible:

The weather seems to be changing.

This book seems to have been on sale all this time.

He turned out to be a good friend.

I happened to know his telephone number.

Note. With the verbs of seeming the predicate verb is used in the negative form to make the sentence negative.

He doesn’t seem to understand me.

b) with the expressions to be likely (unlikely), to be sure COMPLEXES WITH THE INFINITIVE, to be certain. The infinitive is usually indefinite active.

They are sure to arrive in two days.

You are not likely to believe my story.

Note. When the infinitive is part of a complex subject the particle to is always used.


A for-phrase with the infinitive is a predicative complex with the infinitive which can have different functions in the sentence, those of the subject, the predicative, an object, an attribute, an adverbial modifier:

It was very difficult for me to believe that (the subject).

That is for you to decide (the predicative).

We waited for COMPLEXES WITH THE INFINITIVE the moon to rise (an object).

There was no need for him to answer (an attribute).

He stepped aside for us to pass (an adverbial modifier of purpose).

His home was too far west for anyone to come to meet him (an adverbial modifier of result).

There was time enough for her to calm herself (an adverbial modifier of result).


An of-phrase with the infinitive is a predicative complex with the infinitive which always functions as the real subject of the sentence beginning with the anticipatory it and follows the predicate COMPLEXES WITH THE INFINITIVE whose predicative is expressed by such adjectives as good, kind, nice, silly, clever, bad, etc.

It was very kind of you to help me.

It is very bad of him not to have told them about that before.


These phrases may be introduced:

  1. by the conjunctive adverbs when, where, how, why
  2. by the conjunctive pronouns who(m), what, which
  3. by the conjunction whether

These phrases can perform different functions in the sentence, those of the subject, the predicative, an object or an attribute:

When to start is not yet decided (the subject).

The question is COMPLEXES WITH THE INFINITIVE whom to invite (the predicative).

She had some doubt what to do next (an attribute).

We hesitated whether to accept the invitation or not (an object).



The nominal features of the gerund are:

  1. It can function as the subject, the predicative or an object (direct and prepositional).
  2. It can be preceded by a preposition:

I didn’t like the idea of visiting them.

  1. It can be modified by a noun or a pronoun in the possessive case:

I don’t quite like Mary’s (her) acting.

The verbal features of the gerund are:

  1. It has tense COMPLEXES WITH THE INFINITIVE distinctions (it can be indefiniteandperfect reading, having read). The tense distinctions of the gerund are relative, not absolute (the indefinite form expresses simultaneity, the perfect form expresses priority).

Note. In some cases we find an indefinite gerund instead of perfect expressing a prior action. This occurs after the verbs to remember, to forget, to excuse, to forgive, to thank, to accuse, to blame, to punish, to reward, to reproach and after the prepositions on (upon), after, without:

I don’t remember hearing that before.

  1. It has voice distinctions (it can be active and passive being done, having COMPLEXES WITH THE INFINITIVE been done):

He liked neither reading nor being read to.

Note. After the verbs to want, to need, to deserve, to require and the adjective worth an active gerund is used though it is passive in meaning:

The child deserves praising.

The dress wants washing.

  1. The gerund can take a direct object:

I’ve made progress in speakingthis language.

  1. It can be modified by an adverb:

She burst out cryingbitterly.

The forms of the gerund

Active Passive

Indefinite running ---------

sending being sent

Perfect having run -----------

having sent having been sent


The Gerund can be used COMPLEXES WITH THE INFINITIVE in different syntactic functions:

1. a subject.

It can occupy the front position in the sentence:

Seeing is believing.

It can follow the predicate:

a) after the expressions with the anticipatory it it’s no use, it’s no good, it’s worth while

It’s no use arguing about it.

Note the difference in the function of the gerund:

It’s worth while seeing the film.( a subject)

The film is worth seeing. (an object)

b) in the construction there is no…

There was no going back.

2. part of a compound verbal predicate:

a) part of a compound verbal modal COMPLEXES WITH THE INFINITIVE predicate after the modal phrase can’t help (doing smth):

I couldn’t help smiling.

b) part of a compound verbal aspective predicate.

The gerund is interchangeable with the infinitive after the verbs

to begin to continue

to start to end

to commence to cease

They began discussing the question.

Only the gerund is part of an aspective predicate after the verbs:

to burst out to fall to

to quit to stop

to keep on to give up

to finish

She burst out laughing hysterically.

He gave up smoking two years ago.

3. part of a compound nominal predicate (a predicative):

Our aim is getting there as soon as COMPLEXES WITH THE INFINITIVE possible.

4. a direct object. In this function the gerund follows

- verbs used only with the gerund :

to avoid to fancy to practise

to appreciate to forgive to put off

to admit to imagine to recall

to celebrate to mention to recollect

to consider to mind to resent

to deny to miss to resist

to enjoy to postpone to risk

to excuse to feel like to suggest

Avoid making mistakes.

We didn't mind waiting.

She couldn’t resist saying something.

- the adjectives busy, worth.

She is busy doing her task.

The facts are worth mentioning.

- verbs used either with the infinitive or the gerund

allow like prefer

can’t COMPLEXES WITH THE INFINITIVE bear love recommend

deserve need regret

dread neglect remember

fear omit require

forget plan want

hate permit

The grass wants (needs) cutting.

5. a prepositional object:

- after the verbs

to think of to depend on to accuse of

to object to to blame for to congratulate on

to apologize for to succeed in to believe in

to prevent from to excuse for to get used to

to insist on to look forward to to decide on (upon)

to thank for to agree to to suspect of

to forgive for to complain of to persist in

to devote to to approve of to dream of (about)

to assist in

I thought of going COMPLEXES WITH THE INFINITIVE to see my friend.

Thank you for coming.

We insisted on calling the doctor.

I apologize for disturbing you.

- after the expressions

to be proud of to be ignorant of to be sorry for

to be fond of to be sure of to be embarrassed at

to be capable of to be angry at to be keen on

to be afraid of to be pleased at to be wrong in

to be tired of to be surprised at to be successful in

to be used to to be accustomed to to be aware of

to be good at to be engaged in to be COMPLEXES WITH THE INFINITIVE interested in

I'm tired of thinking about it.

She is capable of taking care of herself.

She is very good at singing.

He was angry at seeing me there.

6. an attribute

In this function the gerund is always prepositional. The following nouns may precede the gerund:

chance of trouble of

idea of (in)convenience of

way of advantage of

habit of question of

method of art of

custom of opportunity of

hope of problem of

fear of right of

intention of means of

possibility of

This is a good way of using the book.

I had a good opportunity of seeing my friends.

I didn't get a chance COMPLEXES WITH THE INFINITIVE of speaking to him.

After the following nouns the prepositions for, in, at, about, to may be used:


capacity for difficulty in

excuse for harm in

gift for hesitation in

reason for sense in

talent for skill in


pleasure at objection to

amazement at preparation to

surprise at

He had difficulty in speaking.

Imagine his surprise at seeing me. .

7. an adverbial modifier

a) of time (after, before, on, upon, since, at, in)

She hesitated before entering the room.

On returning home he found a note in his room.

b) of manner (by, without)

I did it without thinking.

You'll achieve a COMPLEXES WITH THE INFINITIVE lot by telling the truth.

c) of attending circumstances

They danced without speaking.

I never see asters without remembering her.

d) of cause (because of, for, from, owing to, for fear of)

I couldn't speak for laughing.

He said it for fear of losing her again.

e) of concession (in spite of)

In spite of being disturbed late at night, he fell asleep again.

f) of condition (but for, in case of, without)

But for meeting her, I shouldn't have become an English teacher.

In case of being questioned he should tell the truth.

g) of purpose (for)

One COMPLEXES WITH THE INFINITIVE side of the gallery was used for dancing.