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Infinitive complement clauses

Afrikaans uses three different infinitive forms, which all potentially form complement clauses. The full infinitive form, with the complementiser om for and the infinitive particle te to in combination with the infinitive form of the main verb, is the most widely used infinitive complement clause, and is illustrated by example (1), with a simplified gloss focussing only on the elements of the infinitive construction.

Savimbi het geweier [om na Luanda te gaan].
Savimbi has refused for.COMP to Luanda to go.INF
Savimbi refused to go to Luanda.

The bare infinitive, which complements certain other verbs such as the causative verb laat to let or the aspectual verb begin to begin, is illustrated by (2), and consists only of the infinitive verb form, without a complementiser or an infinitive particle.

UNITA laat Savimbi Luanda toe gaan.
UNITA let Savimbi Luanda towards go.INF
UNITA let Savimbi go to Luanda.

The te-infinitive is a relic from Dutch that has limited use in contemporary Afrikaans, but is used as complementive, as illustrated by (3a), and to complement a small number of modal or other verbs, as illustrated by (3b).

a. Dit was te begrype dat Savimbi Luanda toe moes gaan.
it was to understand.INF that Savimbi Luanda towards had.to go
It was understandable that Savimbi had to go to Luanda.
b. Savimbi behoort Luanda toe te gaan.
Savimbi ought Luanda towards to go.INF
Savimbi ought to go to Luanda.

The three types of infinitive clauses and their use are described in the following sections:

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