Middle English Dictionary Entry

tọ̄̆ verbal particle
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Entry Info

Definitions (Senses and Subsenses)

Note: Cp. at adv. with inf., for prep. 5b.(a), for-til verbal particle (Suppl.), forto adv. & particle, til verbal particle, & unto verbal particle.
1a.
With selected complementary infinitives in verb phrases: to (do sth., be sth., etc.);—sometimes with intervening element between the verb and the inf. [see also Visser sections 1253-1312, 1328-41]: (a) with inf. following verbs of happening, chancing, etc.; (b) with inf. following verbs of seeming, appearing, etc.; (c) with inf. following verbs of inchoative aspect [some exx. in (c), (d), and (e) could also be construed as sense 5b.(a)]; biginnen (fon, ginnen, taken, etc.) ~; (d) with inf. following verbs of durative aspect; continuen (duren, lasten, etc.) ~; (e) with inf. following verbs of terminative aspect; blinnen (cesen, stinten, etc.) ~; (f) with inf. following consuetudinal verbs or participles; custumen (haunten, usen, wonen, etc.) ~;—usu. in p.ppl. constructions with ben; also following an inf. [quot. a1400(c1303)].
1b.
With infinitives used with modal auxiliaries: to (do sth., be sth., etc.); also, (do sth., etc.) [see also Visser sections 1485-1735]: (a) with inf. following a modal;—freq. with element intervening between the modal and the inf.; (b) with the second (or later) inf. following a modal in a cpd. construction, preceded by and, but, or (other) elles; (c) with inf. preceding a modal.
1c.
With infinitives following ben v. or haven v. [see also Visser sections 1372-1410]: (a) ben ~, to have to (do sth., be feared, be tolerated, etc.), must, ought to, should; also, will (do sth., be blamed, be made, etc.), be to; (b) ben ~ seien (menen), ben as muche ~ seien (menen) as, ben no more ~ menen but, etc., to mean (sth.), convey; (c) with inf. following haven, freq. expressing duty, obligation, etc.: haven ~, to be obliged to (do sth.), have to, can; also, have something to (eat, drink, etc.); haven ~ don with (mid, of), have to do with (sb. or sth.); also with havinge ger. [quot. ?a1425]; haven levere (as lef) ~, prefer to (do sth., be sth., etc.).
2a.
With infinitives modifying verbs or used as sentence modifiers and expressing purpose: in order to (do sth., have sth., etc.), so as to: (a) in constructions with finite verbs or verb phrases in which the subj. of the verb and the implied subj. of the inf. are the same; also with refl. verb [quot. a1393]; also with present perfect inf. phrase with haven plus p.ppl. [quot. a1375]; (b) in constructions with finite verbs or verb phrases in which the subj. of the inf. is the direct or indirect obj. of the verb; also with implied obj. [quot. c1225]; also with subj. of the inf. repeated [last quot.]; (c) with reduced sense of purpose; hien ~ comen, lien ~ slepen, stonden ~ loven, etc.; (d) in for..~ constructions, chiefly parallel to those in (a) in which the subj. of the verb and the implied subj. of the inf. are the same; also parallel to those in (b) in which the subj. of the inf. is the indirect obj. of the verb [quot. a1500(?a1430)]; also with a new noun as subj. of the inf. [quots. c1443, 1460, a1474, & a1500(?c1425)]; (e) in constructions with passive finite verbs in which the understood agent is the subj. of the inf.: for someone to (do sth.); (f) in constructions with non-finite forms of the verb (either an inf. or a ppl.); so ~.
2b.
With infinitives modifying verbs or used as sentence modifiers and expressing something other than purpose: (a) with inf. expressing means: by (doing sth.) [some quots. could be construed in other ways]; also used in a for..~ construction [1st. quot.]; (b) with inf. expressing time or occasion: upon (doing sth.); (c) with inf. expressing cause: on account of (doing sth.), because of, from; (d) with inf. expressing a condition, equivalent to an if clause: if someone (does sth., goes somewhere, etc.); (e) with inf. expressing concession, equivalent to an even if clause: even if someone (does sth., etc.); also with present perfect inf. phrase with haven plus p.ppl. [quot. a1425]; (f) with inf. expressing result, consequence, future outcome, etc.: to (do sth.), so as to [sometimes difficult to distinguish from sense 2a.(a)]; also, with inf. modifying p.ppl. [last quot.].
3.
With infinitives modifying adjectives, occas. p.ppls. as adj., and occas. adverbs: to (do sth., be sth., etc.), for (doing sth.): (a) modifying an adj., when the subj. of the verb and the implied subj. of the inf. are the same; also with present perfect inf. phrase with haven plus p.ppl. [quot. a1475]; (b) modifying an adj., when the subj. of the inf. is an implied person different from the subj. of the verb; (c) with inf. preceded by noun or pron. as subj. of the inf., the entire construction modifying an adj.;—sometimes used in a for..~ construction; (d) modifying an adj. in a noun phrase [some quots. could also be construed as sense 4.(b) or (d)]; (e) modifying an adjectival phrase containing an intensive adv. and used in a correl. construction; so bold (rude, wise, etc.) (..)~, to bare (hard, etc.) (..)~; so avaunced..as ~, so disesed..as..~; stif inough ~; also, modifying an adverbial phrase containing swich adj.: in swich wise as ~ [quot. ?c1450]; (f) modifying so adv.: so..~.
4.
With infinitives modifying nouns and occas. gerunds and adjectives as nouns: to (do sth.), for (doing sth.);—sometimes with prep., either before or after the inf.: (a) with inf. chiefly expressing the purpose or use of a concrete or an abstract noun, when the noun is the direct obj. of the inf. or is the obj. of a prep. (occas. implied) and the subj. of the inf. is an implied person; (b) with inf. chiefly expressing the quality, character, ability, or capability of an abstract or occas. a concrete noun, when the noun modified is neither the direct obj. nor the obj. of a prep. and the subj. of the inf. is usu. an implied person; also with the noun modified as implied subj. of inf. [quots. a1225, a1300, c1380, ?a1425, & a1500]; (c) with inf. modifying time n.(2); also with inf. expressing futurity, chiefly comen v.; time ~, a time for (doing sth.); also, time to (come); (d) with inf. modifying an animate noun which is the implied subj. of the inf., expressing a characteristic of the noun, his or her nature or disposition, assigned duty or function, etc.; (e) with inf. preceded by noun or pron. as subj. of the inf., the entire construction modifying a noun;—sometimes used in a for..~ construction.
5a.
With inf. used as subj. or pred. nom.: to (do sth., be sth., etc.): (a) with inf. as subj. of a verb;—often postposed, with adj. compl. preceding or following the verb; also, with verb understood [quot. a1300]; (b) with inf. as postposed subj. of a verb, usu. with anticipatory hit but occas. with anticipatory that or this;—freq. with adj. or noun compl.; also, without compl.: hit is ~ obeien (passen, witen), one should obey (pass on, know); (c) with inf. as postposed subj. of an impers. verb;— often with anticipatory hit; (d) with inf. preceded by noun or pron. as subj. of the inf., the entire construction functioning as the subj. of a verb;—usu. with anticipatory hit, and often used in a for..~ construction; (e) with inf. as subj. preceding hit, that, or this in apposition to it; also with inf. preceded by noun as subj. [quots c1450 and last]; (f) with inf. used as pred. nom.;—sometimes used in comparisons following a comp. adj. and than conj.; also with inf. in apposition to the pred. nom. [quot. a1425(c1385)].
5b.
With inf. used as obj. or as a constituent of an objective construction: to (do sth., be sth., etc.): (a) with inf. as direct obj. of a trans. verb; also as 2nd element in a cpd. direct obj. following a comp. adj. and than conj. [quot. a1375]; also in apposition to direct obj. [quots. c1400, ?a1425, & a1475, the first with implied verb and the last with present perfect inf. phrase with haven plus p.ppl.]; (b) with inf. in apposition to hit used as direct obj. of a verb; (c) with inf. preceded by noun or pron. as subj. of the inf., the entire construction functioning as the direct obj. of a verb;—occas. used in a for..~ construction; also in apposition to hit as direct obj. [quot. ?c1430]; also with present perfect inf. phrase with haven plus p.ppl. [quot. ?a1475]; letten ~, to keep (sth., a horse) from (doing sth.); (d) with inf. preceded by pron. as subj. of the inf., the entire construction functioning as the direct obj. of a verb of teaching, commanding, granting, etc., when the subj. of the inf. also functions as the indirect obj. of the main verb; (e) with inf. preceded by the interrogatives hou, what, whider, or whiderward, the entire construction functioning as the direct obj. of verbs of knowing, studying, teaching, etc.; also with a construction as in (d) [quot. a1400, 1st]; (f) with inf. as direct obj. of a non-finite form of the verb (an inf., a ppl., or ger.);—sometimes with verbs of teaching or praying as in (d); also as 2nd element in a cpd. direct obj. following a comp. adv. and than conj. [quot. a1470]; also with present perfect inf. phrase with haven plus p.ppl. [quot. a1375]; (g) with inf. as obj. of prep.;—often with element intervening between the prep. and the inf.; also in apposition to a noun or pron. used as obj. of prep. [quots. ?a1400 & c1475(a1400)]; but (sauf) ~, except to (do sth.); from (of, thurgh, withoute, etc.) ~, from (of, through, without, etc.) (doing sth.).
6.
With inf. used in place of a finite verb or verb phrase: (a) when the inf. is part of the second (or later) element or member in a compound or complex construction;—freq. introduced by a coordinating conj. [some exx. could also be construed as dependent upon an implied aspectual verb, modal auxiliary, or verb ben as in senses 1a., 1b., or 1c.]; (b) in a relative construction, with rel. pron. or rel. adv.; also in a nominal construction introduced by a subordinating conj. [last quot.].
7.
In independent constructions: to (do sth., be sth., etc.): (a) in tags, parenthetical expressions, and asides: pleinli ~ devisen, soth ~ seien, wonderful ~ tellen, etc.; that is ~ seien (understonden, witen, etc.); (b) in expostulations, exclamations, and questions; (c) in headings, lists, directions, and accounts; (d) as the sign of the inf. in glossaries and glosses; also, gram. the word 'to' used as the sign of the inf.
8.
In various modifying and nominal constructions in which the verbal particle is not directly followed by its inf.: (a) in split infinitives, when a noun, pron., adv., or phrase intervenes;— sometimes used in glossaries; (b) at the end of a clause or sentence, with inf. understood [could also be construed as to adv.(1)].