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Allen and Greenough/ New Latin Grammar

Complementary Infinitive

456. Verbs which imply another action of the same subject to complete their meaning take the Infinitive without a subject accusative.

Such are verbs denoting to be able, dare, undertake, remember, forget, be accustomed, begin, continue, cease, hesitate, learn, know how, fear, and the like:—

    hōc queō dīcere (Cat. M. 32), this I can say.

    mittō quaerere (Rosc. Am. 53), I omit to ask.

    vereor laudāre praesentem’ (N. D. 1.58), I fear to praise a man to his face.

    ōrō ut mātūrēs venīre(Att. 4.1), I beg you will make haste to come.

    oblīvīscī nōn possum quae volō (Fin. 2.104), I cannot forget that which I wish.

    dēsine id mē docēre (Tusc. 2.29), cease to teach me that.

    dīcere solēbat, he used to say.

    audeō dīcere, I venture to say.

    loquī posse coepī, I began to be able to speak.

Note— The peculiarity of the Complementary Infinitive construction is that no Subject Accusative is in general admissible or conceivable. But some infinitives usually regarded as objects can hardly be distinguished from this construction when they have no subject expressed. Thus volō dīcere and volō mē dīcere mean the same thing, I wish to speak, but the latter is object-infinitive, while the former is not apparently different in origin and construction from queō dīcere (complementary infinitive), and again volō eum dīcere, I wish him to speak, is essentially different from either (cf. § 563. b).

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