En réponse à William Annis <[log in to unmask]>:

> How in the world do you analyze phrases like "something to do," "a
> place to live," "someone to love?"
> It looks like an English infinitive is following these nouns, but the
> exact nature of the relationship is a little confusing to me.  Clearly
> the "to X" phrase modifies the noun.  There's sometimes a hint of
> obligation in these phrases, sometimes suitability.

The problem in this is that the relation is objective, i.e. the noun completed
is the *object* of the verb, which makes the formula quite strange. "Something
to do" is absolutely equivalent except maybe for emphasis to "something to be
done" and "someone to love" with "someone to be loved".

> How do other languages handle this?

French uses a construction absolutely superposable to the English one: "quelque
chose à faire", "quelqu'un à aimer". But note that in this case the passive
construction is *not* possible. It sounds like nonsense to my ears.

You will be happy that Latin gives us the clue on how to call this form.
Indeed, Latin has a derived adjective called the verbal adjective that has
exactly this meaning. The verbal adjective has a passive obligation
meaning: "which must be ...-ed". So your examples are translated as "quiddam
faciendum" and "quidam amandus" or "quaedam amanda" (depending on the sex of
that person to love).


Take your life as a movie: do not let anybody else play the leading role.