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Verbs + Other Verbs (#1), by Dennis Oliver

 

Verbs + Other Verbs (#1):
Verb + to + Verb

 

It often happens, when writing or speaking in English,
that you need two or more verbs, one after another.
When this is the case, there are often questions about
the form of the second (third, etc.) verb. Should it be
an infinitive (to + simple form)? Should it be a gerund
(-ing form)? Should it be a base (simple) form? If there
is an object, where does the object go? etc.

We hope to provide some answers for these questions
in the next several Hints of the Day.


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Verb + to + Verb

 

In English, verbs often connect to other verbs by using to:

I need to try to continue to work very hard.

In the sentence above, three verbs--try, continue, and
work--connect to need by using to. There are many
English verbs that connect to other verbs in this way.
Here are some of the the most common ones:

afford
agree
appear
arrange
ask
attempt
be
beg
can't bear
can't stand
beg
begin
care
choose
claim
consent
continue
decide
demand
deserve
desire
  expect
fail
forget
get
hate
hesitate
hope
intend
learn
like
love
manage
mean
need
offer
opt
plan
prefer
prepare
pretend
profess
promise
  refuse
regret
remember
seem
start
stop
strive
struggle
swear
tend
threaten
try
venture
volunteer
wait
want
wish
would like
yearn

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Special Notes:

1.   All of the verbs above may be followed by to +
another verb. Some of them (attempt, can't bear,
begin, continue, forget, hate, like, love, prefer,
regret, remember, can't stand, start, try) may also
be followed by a gerund (an -ing form).
   
2.  

To make verbs connected by to negative, use an
auxiliary + not for the first verb, but make the
"connected" verbs negative by using only not:

Examples:

He doesn't (didn't, won't) need to try to
continue to work
so hard. / He hasn't (hadn't)
needed to try to continue to work
so hard.

He needs to try not to continue to work so hard.

He needs to try to continue not to work so hard.

   
3.  

When verbs are connected with to, the first verb
can be in any tense, but the others are in simple
form because they follow to:

Examples:

I'm planning to arrange to take some time off.

I plan to to arrange to take some time off.

I planned to to arrange to take some time off.

I planned to to arrange to take some time off.

I've planned to arrange to take some time off.

I'd planned to arrange to take some time off,
but I had to change my plans.

I'll want to arrange to take some time off
next Spring.

   
4.  

Some of the verbs above have special meanings
or uses when they follow to:

be to ( + verb) = be expected to + verb;
get to ( + verb) = be permitted to + verb;
opt to ( + verb) = choose to + verb.

Examples:

You're to be here no later than 10:30 AM.

It's too bad that you didn't get to go to the party.

He opted to take an early-morning flight so that
he could get a lower price.

   
5.  

Some of the verbs above have different meanings
when they are followed by to + verb and when
they are followed by a verb + -ing:

regret to (verb) = be sorry to (verb), but
regret (verb + -ing) = be sorry about (verbing);

remember to (verb) = not forget to (verb), but
remember (verb + -ing) = have a memory of
(verb + -ing).

stop to (verb) = stop in order to (verb), but
stop (verb + -ing) = quit (verbing) / no longer (verb).


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Next: more on verbs + other verbs
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