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Italian Language/infinitive as "indirect object"

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Question
Dear Maria,

My question is about the prepositions “a” and “di” that are used to link a verb to the infinitive form of another verb.

Can you please tell me if this “preposition plus infinitive” is classified as an indirect object in Italian.

For example:   Is “a dormire” an indirect object in the following sentence:  “Vado a dormire  ?

For example:   Is “ad accendersi” an indirect object in the following sentence:  “In città cominciavano ad accendersi le luci della sera”  ?

Thank you very much for your help.

Sincerely,

Rich

Answer
Dear Rich

the prepositions “a” and “di” that are used to link a verb to the infinitive form of another verb are not classified as an indirect object in Italian, but simply as prepositions depending on another verb, unless they are introducing some subordinate clauses  such as final clauses, temporal clauses, infinitive clauses, result clauses.

See for example: “Mi invitarono a parlare” where “a parlare” stands for “affinché parlassi” and is a subordinate final clause, or “Crede di aver sempre ragione” and “ Dice di non esserci mai andato” where “di aver ragione” and “di non esserci andato” stand for “che ha ragione” and “che non c’è mai stato” and are subordinate infinitive clauses.

In short, “a parlare” and “di aver sempre ragione” or “di non esserci mai andato” are called in Italian “proposizioni finali  implicite “ and “proposizioni oggettive implicite” respectively, as they have an infinitive instead of a subjunctive or an indicative mood.

I think however that such a grammar nuance  is not so easy to understand.

As for  “a dormire” in the sentence “Vado a dormire“, it is not an indirect object, as well as  “ad accendersi” in the sentence “In città cominciavano ad accendersi le luci della sera” is not an indirect object, as both “dormire” and “accendersi” are simply verbs depending on another verb.

Best,

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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