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Infinitival relative clauses

Relative clauses need not be finite. They can also be infinitival. An example is given below:

'n Huis om in te woon.
a house for.COMP in PTCL.INF live.INF
A house to live in.

Infinitival relative clauses are introduced by the relative complementiser om for. Infinitival clauses cannot be introduced by relative pronouns. Om for may bear several syntactic functions in the infinitival clause, namely i) as NP argument of the verb, ii) as prepositional complement, and iii) as PP of time, manner, type, reason and place.

  • As NP argument of the verb

    Om-clauses may relativise various verbal arguments.

    The subject may be relativised, as shown below:

    Twee bakke om te gebruik staan op die kas.
    two dishes for.COMP PTCL.INF use.INF stand on the cupboard
    Two bowls to use are on the cupboard.

    The direct object may also be relativised:

    Ma het twee boekies om vir hom te lees uitgeneem.
    mom have.AUX two book.DIM.PL for.COMP for him PTCL.INF read.INF out.take.PST
    Mom borrowed two books to read to him.

    The indirect object is realized as a prepositional complement:

    Arm kinders om klere voor te gee.
    poor children for.COMP clothing for PTCL.INF give.INF
    Poor children to give clothing to.
  • As prepositional complement

    Om-clauses may relativise a prepositional complement, that is, the NP complement to a preposition, as in the example below:

    'n Nuwe uitdaging om aan te pak.
    a new challenge for.COMP on PTCL.INF tackle.INF
    A new challenge to tackle.
  • As PP of time, manner, type, reason and place

    The infinitival relative clauses involved are of the following type: time, manner, type, reason and place. An example of each are provided below:

    As PP of time:
    'n Goeie tyd om slegte nuus te bring bestaan nie.
    a good time for.COMP bad news PTCL.INF bring.inf exist PTCL.NEG
    A good time for bad news does not exist.
    As PP of manner:
    Ander maniere om die probleem op te los, kon ons nie uitdink nie.
    other ways for.COMP the problem up PTCL.INF solve.INF can.AUX.MOD.PRT we not out.think PTCL.NEG
    We could not think of other ways to solve the problem.
    As PP of type:
    Dit is nie die tipe verhaal om 'n liefdesverhaal van te maak nie.
    it be.PRS not the type story for.COMP a love.story of PTCL.INF make.INF PTCL.NEG
    It is not the type of story to make a love story about.
    As PP of reason:
    Meer redes om deel te neem, kan ek jou nie gee nie.
    more reasons for.COMP part PTCL.INF take.INF can.AUX.MOD I you.SG not give PTCL.NEG
    More reasons to participate, I can’t give you.
    As PP of place:
    'n Lekker stad om in te bly is Johannesburg nou nie juis nie.
    a nice city for.COMP in PTCL.INF stay.INF be.PRS Johannesburg now not really PTCL.NEG
    I wouldn’t really say that Johannesbug is a nice city to live in.
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