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Catenative Verbs

Posted: 06 Sep 2018, 05:19
by Lone
Dictionaries say that the verb 'tend' is intransitive when it means 'to be likely to do something or to happen in a particular way'. However, I was very puzzled to find the example sentence such as 'People tend to need less sleep as they get older.'

In the above sentence, I can see that the verb 'tend' takes an infinitive (to need) as its object... But shouldn't an intransitive take an object, right?

Trying to solve the paradox, I search the Internet and come across a term called 'catenative verbs'. The source says a catenative verb takes an infinitive as its complement. I get even more puzzled.

To sum up, I have the following questions on my mind?
1) Can an intransitive verb takes an infinitive as its object whereas it cannot for other objects?
2) Are catenative verbs transitive or intransitive?
3) If not all catenative verbs are transitive/intransitive, can I say that it is a special kind of verb that can take an infinitive as its object, no matter it is transitive or intransitive?
4) If the catenative verb takes an infinitive verb as its complement (instead of object), what kind of complement it is? Subject complement, or object complement? Neither of them seems fit... in my opinion.

Many thanks!


Re: Catenative Verbs

Posted: 17 Nov 2018, 12:33
by Joe
The normal structure is:

tend to do

There are other structures such as "tend towards sthg", but the above is the main one. Do you really need to lose sleep over that?

Re: Catenative Verbs

Posted: 15 Apr 2019, 05:19
by swara31
What are Catenative verbs ?

Re: Catenative Verbs

Posted: 15 Apr 2019, 08:36
by Joe
The word catenative comes from the Latin catena meaning "chain". Catenative verbs combine with and control other verbs, like a chain. In fact, catenative verbs are also called "chain verbs".

The verb governed by the catenative verb may be in infinitive form (with or without to) or in -ing form.

In "I like swimming" the verb "like" is catenative.

Other examples are:
I like to swim.
I saw a bird fly in the window.

A few examples of catenative verbs are:

I like to help her do the washing up.
In this three-verb chain you can see two catenative verbs (like and help).

We could make it a four-verb chain with three catenative verbs thus:
I like to help her finish washing up. :roll:

Re: Catenative Verbs

Posted: 15 Apr 2019, 08:55
by swara31
Thank you for answering my question

Re: Catenative Verbs

Posted: 22 Apr 2019, 10:38
by Joe
You can also look at these pages:

Simple catenative construction

Complex catenative construction