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    #1

    Multi verb clauses

    I was just told a clause can only have one verb in it but this sentence sounds perfectly fine to me even though it has two verbs in a single clause. This is a problem for me because a lot of the sentences I write are just like this example.

    We like staying up late to watch stars rotate around the northern sky.

    Is this type of sentence structure wrong and what would be the suggestion to fixing this sentence and the hundreds of others I have?

    Thank you,

    LindaTyler

  1. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Multi verb clauses

    First, there is no rule against more than one verb in a clause.

    I went to the barn and fed the cows.

    Second, there is only one verb in your main clause -- "like".

    "Staying is a gerund that functions as noun. "To watch" is an infinitive. "Rotate" is part of a reduced relative clause: "(that) rotate around the northern sky or a bare infinitive (no to). At least, that is my take on it.

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    #3

    Re: Multi verb clauses

    Alright, thank god, this is my first protest against my wife about grammar that didn't leave me weeping into my favorite pillow.

    I just looked up what an infinitive and reduced relative clause was and it seems like my native English isn't as hopeless as I thought.

    Thank you for your response!

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    #4

    Re: Multi verb clauses

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork View Post
    there is only one verb in your main clause -- "like".

    "Staying is a gerund that functions as noun. "To watch" is an infinitive. "Rotate" is part of a reduced relative clause: "(that) rotate around the northern sky or a bare infinitive (no to). At least, that is my take on it.
    I consider that there are four verbs in that sentence:

    LIKE - this is the main verb. It appears in the first person present simple form like;
    STAY - this appears in the gerund form staying;
    WATCH - this appears in the infinitive form (to) watch;
    ROTATE - this appears in the bare infinitive* form rotate.

    *I think that this is a bare infinitive, not a reduced relative clause. If we had a singular noun, the verb would still be in its base form, not with a third person singular -s ending - I watch the wheel rotate.

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    #5

    Re: Multi verb clauses

    That would be one verb and three verbals.

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    #6

    Re: Multi verb clauses

    They are all forms of verbs. Why is the first person singular present simple tense active not also a verbal in your view?

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    #7

    Re: Multi verb clauses

    Verbs take subjects; verbals do not. Verbs form an integral part of a complete sentence; verbals do not. verbals act as nouns and modifiers; verbs do not. The differences are well-known.

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    #8

    Re: Multi verb clauses

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork View Post
    Verbs take subjects; verbals do not. Verbs form an integral part of a complete sentence; verbals do not. verbals act as nouns and modifiers; verbs do not. The differences are well-known.
    So, when you look up the meaning of DISAGREE in a dictionary, you are looking up the meaning of a verbal, not a verb, are you? That's news to me.

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    #9

    Re: Multi verb clauses

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork View Post
    The differences are well-known.
    I considered these simply the differences between finite and non-finite forms of the verb. Worried by my ignorance, I checked with two of the major grammars published in the last thirty years, Quirk et al (1985), A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language, OUP and Huddleston and Pullum (2002) The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language, CUP.

    The first says (pp 96-97) that regular full verbs have four morphological forms. "These verb forms have different functions in finite and nonfinite verb phrases". The second says (p 50) "Most verbs have six inflectional forms". These include the secondary (non-finite) forms.

    I can find no mention in either grammar of verbals or verbids.

    So, these two grammars, and a few others I have on my shelves, would say that there were four verbs in the sentence we were discussing.

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    #10

    Re: Multi verb clauses

    I have no idea what that means. Disgree can take a subject and it can form a complete sentence.

    I disagree with you about verbals. Note the subject and the complete sentence.
    To disagree with you about verbals. Note the lack of a subject and the absence of a complete sentence.
    Disagreeing about verbals. Note the lack of a subject and the absence of a complete sentence.

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