Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation


Communication Sciences and Disorders

First Advisor

Denise Finneran


Purpose. The purpose of this study was to conduct a detailed cross-examination of TO-infinitive use and TO-particle omission errors in typically developing children between the ages of 3;0 and 4;11 (years; months).

Method. The current study utilized 1294 language transcripts from the CHILDES database. TO-infinitive development and TO-particle omissions were examined at the sentence structure level and at the matrix verb level.

Results. Overall, significant growth in TO-infinitive knowledge is occurring during the preschool period. TO-Infinitive use increases across the preschool years, particularly with the WH/OBJ structure. Children are also increasing their use of matrix verbs, specifically in the NULL/OBJ and NP/OBJ-2SUB structures. Overall, TO-particle omission errors significantly decrease across this time frame, but errors persist with the matrix verb going in the NULL/OBJ structure.

Discussion. These results provide developmental information on TO-infinitive development that can be used to benefit children with language impairments who demonstrate difficulty with this complex grammatical construction.


© 2012, Jessica Kersting