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ESL forum > Grammar and Linguistics > Explaining unusual/rare grammar structures    

Explaining unusual/rare grammar structures


Explaining unusual/rare grammar structures
Hi everyone,
I �m wondering if anyone has a take on this....I �m going to have to explain the following sentence:
   I told him for to take it to the one he loved
In my opinion the �for � is superfluous in the way we speak today, but is that just because I �m English and this originates from the U.S.?
Is there anything to say about it other than that it can be used after the verb tell?  Is it also used after ask...
It brings to mind also for example:  I just wanted for you to be happy
Is it the same thing?  Is it different to saying I told him to take it.../ I just wanted you to...
I feel there �s a slight difference but can �t seem to put my finger on the right way to express it!
Any help very welcome.

21 Apr 2010      


Hi sclail,
I think " I told him FOR to take it ..." , the FOR is wrong. And I don �t think it �s a matter of it being Am english, I think it �s incorrect english, not Am either.
The original sentence must have been "take it to the one you love" so if you report it you just add " I told him TO..." but not "for".
You can use FOR after ask if you require something from someone, not if you ask (a question). E.g.  " I �m asking him for the ruler " is not the same as " I asked him what time it was " .
About "I just wanted for you to be happy" for me, it �s the same as " I just wanted you to be happy" .
Don �t know if I �ve made myself clear !!  A hug !  

21 Apr 2010     


Hi! thanks a lot for your thoughts - I agree its not really in use.
But its from a song which I �ve discovered was originally recorded in 1924. So my guess is that its old (and possibly Am English).
I have heard it used though so maybe its just informal slang in origin (i.e. badly spoken english!  Who knows!
Thanks again, have a good day!

21 Apr 2010     

United States

It may have been added to fit the rhythm or beat of the music, or for "poetic license," so it never was designed to mean anything at all.  Look up the lyrics for "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" and you �ll see the same thing.

I really enjoyed your question, anyway!

21 Apr 2010     


Ah yes, zoemorosini.....you �re right, its something like:  ...coming for to carry me home

You could be right about the poetic license thing (since both examples are in songs!) Or could still be relating to obsolete english - i guess both songs are nearly or more than 100 years old....if i find out i �ll let you know!

Thanks a lot for your response


21 Apr 2010