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Thread: Verb or verbal?

  1. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #31

    Re: Verb or verbal?

    Nonfinite verbs?

    What next? Everlasting verbs?


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    #32

    Re: Verb or verbal?

    Wow. 4 pages in so I'm late to the party and loath to join in at all as I mostly teach "use of English", not convoluted grammar. However, I can honestly say that I've never heard anyone say that the infinitive is not a verb.

    For me, the infinitive is the verb and everything else that stems from it is a form of that verb. I do recall someone on this forum saying that the bare infinitive should be deemed the main verb and then everything else stemming from it (including the infinitive) is a form of that verb. My view of it might be outdated but it stems from my English grammar education and from learning three foreign languages, in which the infinitive was always the form given first.

    Feel free to kick me off this thread if I've misunderstood the point. I readily admit that my detailed knowledge probably isn't up to it.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  3. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #33

    Re: Verb or verbal?

    We use the bare infinitive (base form) of a verb to name it. However, when an infinitive is used in a sentence it does not function as a verb; it functions as a noun or a modifier. That is where the confusion starts.

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    #34

    Re: Verb or verbal?

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    Feel free to kick me off this thread if I've misunderstood the point..
    Welcome, ems. I don't think you have misunderstood any point.

    As I wrote in an earlier post, the infinitive "can show tense and aspect [(to) read, (to) have read, (to) be reading, (to) have been reading)], take a direct object [I want to read that book], and have an implied subject [I want him to read that book]". I said that to claim that such a form was not a verb was perverse. Mike made no case against that.

    Mike (post #33), "when an infinitive is used in a sentence it does not function as a verb; it functions as a noun or a modifier." I have said in other threads that an infinitive can function as a subject, object or complement (as can a noun), but it still retains the verb characteristics I noted above. It does not 'function as a noun' In October, I started a thread (https://www.usingenglish.com/forum/threads/231649-Form-and-Function) in the Linguistics forum to explain to Mike the difference between form and function. I did that to try to stop discussions such as this highjacking threads in the 'Ask a Teacher forum.

    In that thread, I quoted from five authoritative grammars published between 1985 and 2011. Mike shows no sign of having read this, though I did give him a link to it. In any case, as he has said in various threads he has little time for grammarians. Even in this thread (post #5) he has dismissed Quirk, one of the most respected grammarians of the second half of the 20th century, whose CGEL (co-authored with three other respected grammarians) was the grammar of the English Language for two decades (and is still on the required reading lists of virtually every university department of English/linguistics in the world) , as one guy with an opinion, and (post #11) Quirk and the other authors of the CGEL as people on the fringe.

    Mike has regularly pooh-poohed the grammarians I have cited, and never responded to my request for links to, or names of, established writers supporting his views. He prefers to label the ideas I put forward as simply the opinions of me and the fringe grammarian Quirk. I doubt if the fact that you, Tdol and bhai have agreed with at least some of the points I have made will make any difference to Mike's way of looking at things. His assertions are sufficient for him.

    You haven't misunderstood any points, ems.

    ps. I am off mother-minding in England for five days, so I may not be able to carry on in the fun and games here till Monday.

  5. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #35

    Re: Verb or verbal?

    I am quite content with the definition and implications of using "verbal" to label gerunds, participles, and infinitives. Evidently you are not. I can live with that.

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    #36

    Re: Verb or verbal?

    Fine. It's just that every time you comment in a thread that verbals are not verbs, I shall point out to members that this is not an opinion held by many teachers/grammarians - on this side of the Atlantic at least.

    I still would really like a link to a serious article/chapter on this idea. I am surprised that you, an academic according to your profile, seem unwilling to provide this.

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    #37

    Re: Verb or verbal?

    You are free to post anything that you like. And I will respond as needed. One cannot turn a verbal into a verb just because one wants it to be one. The system does not need to be that complex. The verbal, as a concept, has been around for many years. I am surprised that it seems to be a mystery to you. If I were to take the time to find the "serious" article that you asked for, you would simply turn the discussion into a battle of the "experts". You wrote "an infinitive can function as a subject, object or complement (as can a noun), but it still retains the verb characteristics I noted above." It is odd that a "verb" (as you call it) retains only some characteristics of a verb. That statement is self-contradictory.

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    #38

    Re: Verb or verbal?

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork View Post
    "You can't really say that finite forms are verbs but non-finite forms are not."

    Of course I can.
    You can, but will that help, say, a Chinese learner, who comes from a languages where verbs behave very differently from ours and don't do things like show tense or form? I think that arguing that an infinitive is not a verb, especially without saying it is a verbal will not lead to a greater understanding for many.

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    #39

    Re: Verb or verbal?

    I usually say that it is a verbal. It seemed to be redundant in the discussion with Piscean. We both tend to repeat ourselves.

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    #40

    Re: Verb or verbal?

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork View Post
    ... in the discussion with Piscean. We both tend to repeat ourselves.
    That is because you rarely give a straight answer to any question I ask, and never give any outside support (apart from numbers of Google hits) for the claims you make. I am constantly surprised that somebody who says he is an academic should appear to feel that simple assertion is as acceptable as reasoned and supported argument.

    I note that the four people in this thread (Tdol, bhai, ems and I) who do not agree with at least some of your views are all qualified teachers of EFL/ESOL with many years' experience. Believing you to be honest (if on occasion misguided), I have accepted that your not adding 'not a teacher' to your responses in the Ask a Teacher forum means that you are a teacher, and probably a teacher of English.

    So, let's test my idea that you don't give straight answers to straight questions with two straight questions:

    1. Are you a qualified teacher of English/EFL/ESOL?
    2, Have you any qualification(s) in English language/grammar and/or linguistics gained after secondary/high school?

    ps. I should add that I am willing and able to PM the administrators of this site verifiable evidence of my degree in English, of those teaching qualifications of mine that are recognised by the British Department for Education and/or the British Council, of my TEFL teaching career and of the course books and student grammar to which I have contributed.

    pps. If you are indeed a teacher of English/EFL/ESOL/linguistics with a recognised qualification and/or if you have a recognised degree-level qualification in English/linguistics, then I shall have no hesitation in apologising to you in this forum for any suggestion/implication I may have given that this is not the case.

    Over to you, Mike.

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