To infinitive as a subject

3

The following is taken from this book titled "Thoughtful Interaction Design: A Design Perspective on Information Technology" (Published in 2004):

An independent artist is probably the one who lives closest to an unbounded creative situation. Many artists have considerable freedom from external requirements about what to do, how to do it, when to do it, and why. At the same time, however, we know that artists usually restrict themselves quite forcefully by choice of material and form of expression. To make the choice to express a feeling by carving a specific form from a rock, without the use of high technology or colors, restricts the artist significantly.

In the last sentence, the subject is "To make the choice to express a feeling by carving a specific form from a rock, without the use of high technology or colors," and the predicate is "restricts the artist significantly."

Is it possible to use "Making" instead of "To make" in the last sentence as follows?

Making the choice to express a feeling by carving a specific form from a rock, without the use of high technology or colors, restricts the artist significantly.

Also, how does this gerund subject compare with the to-infinitive subject? Are they both natural in context? Or is one more natural than the other?

JK2

Posted 2016-07-05T18:09:58.510

Reputation: 1 055

Question was closed 2016-11-24T05:50:59.020

I'd prefer "Having to make the choice ..." – BillJ – 2016-07-05T18:59:21.587

1To err is human, to forgive, divine. – Tᴚoɯɐuo – 2016-07-05T19:26:58.060

@BillJ I think not: while it is true that the artist must choose some medium, the point of this sentence is that the artist voluntarily chooses a specific medium, viz a rock. ... Me, I'd just say Choosing .... – StoneyB on hiatus – 2016-07-05T21:04:48.070

Answers

1

The to-infinitive is more likely to be found as subject in a piece of writing that tends towards the formal; the gerund, in conversation.

Doing that will get you in big trouble.

To do that would bring the wrath of the law down upon your head.

Tᴚoɯɐuo

Posted 2016-07-05T18:09:58.510

Reputation: 116 610

Why 'will' for 'doing' and 'would' for 'to do'? Is it also natural to say this? Doing that would get you in big trouble. (informal) To do that will bring the wrath of the law down upon your head. (formal) – JK2 – 2016-07-06T01:11:11.667

will and would are more-or-less interchangeable there. I did not make that choice consciously but noticed afterwards that I had done so and decided to leave it. The to-infinitive, to my mind, is a tad better suited than the gerund to future possibility, quasi-conditional use. Ngram seems to bear this out. – Tᴚoɯɐuo – 2016-07-06T09:43:48.753