Italian Language/use of infinitives

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Question
Dear Maria,  

Can you please tell me if an Italian infinitive can function as a predicate noun.

For example, I was wondering if the infinitive - “comportarsi” is a predicate noun in the following sentence:

La cosa migliore è comportarsi onestamente.
The better thing is to behave honestly.

Could you also please tell me if the following is correct:

Cosa  =  subject
è  =  linking verb
comportarsi  =  infinitive used as a predicate noun

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Rich

Answer
Dear Rich,

the  Italian infinitive can function as a subject of a sentence like in “La cosa migliore è comportarsi onestamente” where “comportarsi” is the subject of the linking verb “è”, while “la cosa “ is the predicate noun.

Therefore:

Cosa  =  predicate noun
è  =  linking verb
comportarsi  =  infinitive used as a subject

See also:
-”Soffrire è male” (To suffer pain is an evil) where “soffrire” is the subject;  
-“E’ bello conoscere i propri difetti” ( it's a fine thing to know one's own faults) where “conoscere” is the subject.

Moreover the  Italian infinitive can also function as a direct object  like in “Noi apprezziamo l’essere compassionevoli, il voler aiutare gli altri e  il non provare invidia” where the infinitives are the direct object of “Apprezziamo”.

Best regards,

Maria

Italian Language

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Maria

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Italian is my mother tongue and I'll be glad to answer any questions concerning Italian Language.

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Over 25 years teaching experience.

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I received my Ph.D.in Classics (summa cum laude) from Genova University (Italy).

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