# two verbs

#### Mike12345

##### Member
1 The only thing that we can do is give you some advice.
2 The only thing that we can do is to give you some advice.
3 The only thing that I've learned is to respect the old.
4 The only thing that I've learned is respect the old.

Could you tell me which one is correct? In my opinion, I think No. 2, No.3 are correct, in that my teacher told us we can not put two verbs in a sentence. Thank you!

#### Raymott

##### VIP Member
1, 2 and 3 are correct.
Your teacher almost certainly did not tell you that you couldn't put two verbs in one sentence. If the sentence has two clauses, it requires two verbs. All of your sentences have two clauses.

#### Tarheel

##### VIP Member
Mike12345, what word can be left out of those sentences?

#### GoesStation

##### No Longer With Us
A properly-placed colon would make number 4 correct. Can you tell where it would go?

#### shimacatu_sa

##### VIP Member
Hi, I’d like to know what the difference between (1) and (2) is. Is (1) just a short version of (2)?
Thank you.

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#### Matthew Wai

##### VIP Member
I think 1 is more natural than 2.

#### Mike12345

##### Member
1, 2 and 3 are correct.
Your teacher almost certainly did not tell you that you couldn't put two verbs in one sentence. If the sentence has two clauses, it requires two verbs. All of your sentences have two clauses.

My teacher said the sentence like this: I like reading. which will never be: I am like reading. One more example, we can never say He is runs every day. As for a clause, we can regard it as another sentence. So I think 1,4 are wrong, for "is give", "is respect" are two verbs. However, you said 1 is correct. So why is 4 wrong? I think both 1 and 4 have the same structure. Thanks for answering!

#### Mike12345

##### Member
Mike12345, what word can be left out of those sentences?
Tarheel, I think we can not leave out any word.

#### Matthew Wai

##### VIP Member
I think we can leave out the relative pronoun.

#### Mike12345

##### Member
A properly-placed colon would make number 4 correct. Can you tell where it would go?

The only thing that I've learned is respect the old. Am I right？

#### Mike12345

##### Member
I think we can leave out the relative pronoun.

Do you mean we can leave "that"?

Yes, I do.

#### Matthew Wai

##### VIP Member
So why is 4 wrong? I think both 1 and 4 have the same structure.
I think they are not the same.

In 1, we can give you some advice—'to' is not needed before 'give'.
In 4, I've learned to respect the old—'to' is needed before 'respect'.

#### Tarheel

##### VIP Member
You can leave the word "that" out of all of them.

#### Matthew Wai

##### VIP Member
The only thing that I've learned is respect the old. Am I right？
Do you know you have used a Chinese colon rather than an English colon?
A Chinese colon
An English colon:

#### tzfujimino

##### Key Member

A Japanese colon?
:-D

#### Rover_KE

##### Moderator
Staff member
And what's in your colon is nobody's business but your own.

#### emsr2d2

##### Moderator
Staff member
If I remember rightly, former US president Ronald Reagan had surgery to have half of his colon removed while he was in office. My mum asked, on reading the news, "Does that mean he now has a semi-colon?"

#### Raymott

##### VIP Member
However, you said 1 is correct. So why is 4 wrong? I think both 1 and 4 have the same structure. Thanks for answering!
1. The only thing that we can do is give you some advice.
4. The only thing that I've learned is respect the old.

It's possibly because 1 contains "do".
Compare:
A. "What I can do is give you advice." = "I can give you advice."
B. "What I have learned is to respect the old." = "I have learned to respect the old." 'To' is necessary here.
In 1, 'do' is a placeholder for 'give'. You can delete it as in my rewriting example A. In 4, 'learned' is not a placeholder for 'respect'.

#### Roman55

##### Key Member
So why is 4 wrong? I think both 1 and 4 have the same structure. Thanks for answering!

It doesn't have the same meaning, but this sentence works.
"The only thing that I've learned to do is respect the old."