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Hello, everyone,

“He got up and stood patiently in front of the door, waiting for the door to open in the subway train.”
I understand "he waited for the door to open" means "he waited for the opening of the door“

When I parse the underlined part of the sentence, which one is natural to you between following two?;

1) he [waited for] (the door) the door to open;
- waited for; a transitive phrasal verb (but I’m not sure if this is a phrasal verb, based on the separability of the two words)
- the door; both an direct object of the phrasal verb and the implied subject of the infinitive - ‘to open’

2) he waited [for the door] to open;
- wait; both an intransitive verb and a catenative verb followed by ‘to infinitive’ as its complement
- for the door ; the implied subject of the infinitive - ‘to open’

Would hope to hear your valuable opinions.

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Hello, Deepcosmos—Whether "wait for" is a phrasal verb depends in part on what you understand by "phrasal verb." For it is obvious that "wait" and "for" collocate exceptionally well. For this answer I use Quirk et al. (1985).

Since one cannot simply "wait for," intransitively, we can eliminate right away the idea that it is an intransitive phrasal verb. And since one cannot *"wait it for," we can also eliminate the idea that "wait for" is a transitive phrasal verb.

In Quirk et al.'s categorization scheme, "wait for (NP/TP)"  is a prepositional verb, as can be seen by the fact that the preposition cannot come after the NP (*"wait it for") and by the fact that we can have sentences like this:

(3) He waited patiently for it.
(4) He waited patiently for the door to open.

Notice that with phrasal verbs, an adverb cannot be thus inserted. E.g., we can't change "The terrorist blew up the building," in which "blow up" functions as a single verb, to *"The terrorist blew completely up the building."

Another argument that can be made for the prepositional-verb status, as opposed to the phrasal-verb status, of "wait for" is that, in the passive voice, it is the lexical verb, not the preposition (or particle), that would receive stress:

(5a) *The building was blown up.
(5b) The building was blown up.

(6a) The doctor was waited for.
(6b) *The doctor was waited for.

Regarding cases in which a nonfinite infinitival clause, rather than a noun phrase, follows "wait for," as in "He waited for the door to open," Quirk et al. state the following about "They arranged for Mary to come at once":

Quote:

"In this case the construction is that of a prepositional verb arrange for ([B8pr]), the infinitive clause acting as prepositional object. Other examples where for occurs as part of a prepositional verb are: ask for, call for, ache for, aim for, burn for, burst for, care for, clamour for, crave for, hope for, itch for, long for, plan for, prepaire for, wait for, yearn for" (pp. 1193-1194, emphasis mine).

- Quirk, Greenbaum, Leech, & Svartvik. A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language. Longman, 1985.

Lastly, we can see that the infinitival clause in "wait [for [TP]]PP" is properly parsed as such, rather than as "wait [for [TP]]CP" (as, for example, "He would like [for] the door to open") from the results of gerund replacement:

(7a) He waited for the door to open.
(7b) He waited for the opening of the door.
(7c) *He waited the opening of the door.

(8a) He would like for the door to open.
(8b) *He would like for the opening of the door.
(8c) He would like the opening of the door.

Last edited by David, Moderator

Hello, Deepcosmos—Whether "wait for" is a phrasal verb depends in part on what you understand by "phrasal verb." For it is obvious that "wait" and "for" collocate exceptionally well. For this answer I use Quirk et al. (1985).

Since one cannot simply "wait for," intransitively, we can eliminate right away the idea that it is an intransitive phrasal verb. And since one cannot *"wait it for," we can also eliminate the idea that "wait for" is a transitive phrasal verb.

In Quirk et al.'s categorization scheme, "wait for (NP/TP)"  is a prepositional verb, as can be seen by the fact that the preposition cannot come after the NP (*"wait it for") and by the fact that we can have sentences like this:

(3) He waited patiently for it.
(4) He waited patiently for the door to open.

Notice that with phrasal verbs, an adverb cannot be thus inserted. E.g., we can't change "The terrorist blew up the building," in which "blow up" functions as a single verb, to *"The terrorist blew completely up the building."

Another argument that can be made for the prepositional-verb status, as opposed to the phrasal-verb status, of "wait for" is that, in the passive voice, it is the lexical verb, not the preposition (or particle), that would receive stress:

(5a) *The building was blown up.
(5b) The building was blown up.

(6a) The doctor was waited for.
(6b) *The doctor was waited for.

Regarding cases in which a nonfinite infinitival clause, rather than a noun phrase, follows "wait for," as in "He waited for the door to open," Quirk et al. state the following about "They arranged for Mary to come at once":

Quote:

"In this case the construction is that of a prepositional verb arrange for ([B8pr]), the infinitive clause acting as prepositional object. Other examples where for occurs as part of a prepositional verb are: ask for, call for, ache for, aim for, burn for, burst for, care for, clamour for, crave for, hope for, itch for, long for, plan for, prepaire for, wait for, yearn for" (pp. 1193-1194, emphasis mine).

- Quirk, Greenbaum, Leech, & Svartvik. A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language. Longman, 1985.

Lastly, we can see that the infinitival clause in "wait [for [TP]]PP" is properly parsed as such, rather than as "wait [for [TP]]CP" (as, for example, "He would like [for] the door to open") from the results of gerund replacement:

(7a) He waited for the door to open.
(7b) He waited for the opening of the door.
(7c) *He waited the opening of the door.

(8a) He would like for the door to open.
(8b) *He would like for the opening of the door.
(8c) He would like the opening of the door.

Hello, David, thanks a million. Even though your response is frankly difficult to me at moment, I'll chew on yours and look up the book - A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language.





Lastly, we can see that the infinitival clause in "wait [for [TP]]PP" is properly parsed as such, rather than as "wait [for [TP]]CP" (as, for example, "He would like [for] the door to open") from the results of gerund replacement:

(7a) He waited for the door to open.
(7b) He waited for the opening of the door.
(7c) *He waited the opening of the door.

(8a) He would like for the door to open.
(8b) *He would like for the opening of the door.
(8c) He would like the opening of the door.

Hi, David,

I've understood your last lengthy explanation with sincere thanks except the following abbreviated terminology - TP, [TP]pp, [TP]cp. Please let me know the full word.

Hi, Deepcosmos—As you know, "the door to open" in "waited for the door to open" is a nonfinite infinitival clause. In formal syntax, it is a nonfinite Tense Phrase (TP), whose T head is lexically realized by "to" (the stem of the infinitive, not the preposition "to") rather than by tense (present or past).

"For" can either be a preposition or a complementizer introducing an infinitival clause. It is the latter in "I would like for the door to open." In that sentence, "for the door to open" is a Complementizer Phrase (CP), headed by the C "for," and containing the nonfinite TP.

In "I waited for the door to open," "for" is a preposition rather than a complementizer, as I argued above, and as is confirmed by Quirk et al. (1985). In that sentence "for the door to open" is a Prepositional Phrase (PP), headed by the P "for," and containing the nonfinite TP.

Last edited by David, Moderator

Hi, Deepcosmos—As you know, "the door to open" in "waited for the door to open" is a nonfinite infinitival clause. In formal syntax, it is a nonfinite Tense Phrase (TP), whose T head is lexically realized by "to" (the stem of the infinitive, not the preposition "to") rather than by tense (present or past).

"For" can either be a preposition or a complementizer introducing an infinitival clause. It is the latter in "I would like for the door to open." In that sentence, "for the door to open" is a Complementizer Phrase (CP), headed by the C "for," and containing the nonfinite TP.

In "I waited for the door to open," "for" is a preposition rather than a complementizer, as I argued above, and as is confirmed by Quirk et al. (1985). In that sentence "for the door to open" is a Prepositional Phrase (PP), headed by the P "for," and containing the nonfinite TP.

Hi, David, thank you so much. I've learnt many things!

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