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    #1

    Question about two verbs in a sentence (Compound Subject, Phrase?)

    Hi forum!

    I have difficulty with the following sentence:


    I don't want them to know my personall stuff.


    The first thing that confuses me are the verbs. There are two of them.

    1. Does the sentence consist of one clause?
    2. Is 'I don't want' a compound subject? Is it a phrase? How do the two verbs function in this sentence? Confuses me!


    Thanks for helping me with that grammar sturcture!

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    #2

    Re: Question about two verbs in a sentence (Compound Subject, Phrase?)

    "I don't want" is the main sentence. "Want" is the main verb.

    "Them to know my personal stuff" is a clause acting as a direct object of the verb "want."

    Compare to "I don't want french fries."

  2. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Question about two verbs in a sentence (Compound Subject, Phrase?)

    Quote Originally Posted by virus99 View Post
    Hi forum!

    I have difficulty with the following sentence:


    I don't want them to know my personall stuff.


    The first thing that confuses me are the verbs. There are two of them.

    1. Does the sentence consist of one clause?
    2. Is 'I don't want' a compound subject? Is it a phrase? How do the two verbs function in this sentence? Confuses me!


    Thanks for helping me with that grammar sturcture!
    My analysis is different from Dave's.

    "I" is the subject of the sentence. "Don't want" is the main verb. "To know my personal stuff" is an infinitive phrase which acts as the direct object of the verb "don't want". An infinitive is a verbal, not a verb. An infinitive can act as a noun (as in this case) or a modifier (adjective or adverb). It maintains some of the characteristics of a verb, such as taking a direct object and taking an adverbial modifier, but it cannot act as the main verb of a sentence or a clause. That is why I referred to the words "to know my personal stuff" as a phrase, not a clause. "My personal stuff" is the direct object of the infinitive "to know". So there is really only one "verb" in your sentence.

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    #4

    Re: Question about two verbs in a sentence (Compound Subject, Phrase?)

    Quote Originally Posted by virus99 View Post

    The first thing that confuses me are the verbs. There are two of them.
    A lot of students seem to think there can be only one verb in a sentence. It is not so.

    'John likes butter but his sister prefers margarine'.

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