Appendix talk:English catenative verbs

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Catenative Verbs Used in Passive Voice Followed by an Infinitive[edit]

Note These verbs are not found with to infinitive except in the passive voice.


  • You are allowed to wear jeans here.


  • We were asked to leave by the back door.


  • You are forbidden to smoke in here.


  • But you are permitted to smoke in here.

You can of course say: allow/ask/forbid/permit someone to do something. That is, SVOC with C a to-infinitive. So the "Note" statement as it stands is incorrect. The active voice presumably is not considered "catenative" because it's SVOC instead of SVC. Does this really matter? In any case, the description needs to be amended. Additionally "ask" is already listed earlier "He asked to leave early." There are other verbs of the same type as "ask": request, order, command, etc. Jnestorius 15:12, 15 August 2008 (UTC)

Well, if there is an object in between one verb and another, then it is no longer an example of catenative use, is it. The examples you give are good grammatical uses of the verbs, but not catenative uses. -- ALGRIF talk 11:17, 20 August 2008 (UTC)
  1. "Note These verbs are not found with to infinitive except in the passive voice." should say something like "Note These verbs are not found in catenative use with to infinitive except in the passive voice.".
  2. Ask is found in catentative use with the infinitive in the active voice, as in "He asked to leave early"
  3. Other verbs are found in catenative use with to infinitive in the passive voice, including "we were requested/commanded/ordered to leave by the back door"
Jnestorius 06:14, 10 September 2008 (UTC)


there's much more to these verbs than the page suggests. Some verbs allow for a noun phrase to occur between the main verb and the subordinate verb while others do not:

  • Joe expected [ to impress them ].
  • Joe expected [ her to impress them ].
  • Joe helped [ fix it ].
  • Joe helped [ her fix it ].
  • *Joe let [ fix it ].
  • Joe let [ her fix it ].
  • Joe seems [ to be happy ].
  • *Joe seems [ her to be happy ].
  • Joe likes [ doing his work] .
  • Joe likes [ her doing his work] .
  • *Joe believes [ to be happy ].
  • Joe believes [ her to be happy ].

There's also the issue with the presence/absence of complementizer for:

  • Joe intended [ the chicken to be eaten ].
  • Joe intended [ for the chicken to be eaten ].

Additionally, the predicates that require nonfinite clausal complements are not only verbs but also adjectives:

  • He is likely [ to win ].
  • It is likely [ for him to win ].

Ishwar 08:44, 13 January 2009 (UTC)


I'm not sure if it is directly relevant to this article, but it might be interesting to include words like "succeed". e.g. "He succeeded in obtaining" vs. "He managed to obtain". Sometimes the necessary preposition is not entirely clear. - Francis Tyers 08:54, 3 November 2010 (UTC)


What a fantastic resource! Thanks to everyone who helped create it! :) ---> Tooironic 23:05, 5 May 2011 (UTC)

forget, remember[edit]

Remember writing that the verb "remember" can only take the "to" infinitive? And don't forget writing this about "forget"! Aren't such statements incorrect in light of the sentences I just wrote? Also imagine that you wanted someone to remember a particular experience. You could command them:

Remember swimming to Milan Venice! Whatever happens, always remember swimming to Milan Venice!
Don't forget swimming to Milan Venice! Never forget swimming to Milan Venice!

The "-ing" form of a verb is commonly used with "don't forget" whenever one wishes to remind someone of something they have left off a list:

"What experiences have we had together? We've swam down a river, we've run a marathon..."
"Don't forget climbing that mountain."

Longer chains can of course follow:

"If this were a horror film, what mistakes would we have made so far? We decided to camp in a cabin in the middle of nowhere, we left all our cell phones at home to get away from technology for a week..."
"Don't forget thinking stopping to help that motorist whose vehicle was broken down on the side of the wooded road was a good idea!"

- -sche (discuss) 14:15, 29 October 2012 (UTC)

I have to say outright that you are not correct in what you are saying. Please understand that there is a DIFFERENCE IN MEANING here. That is the whole point of these two sections. "Remember" and "Forget" are in both.
"Remember" and "Not Forget" + "verb-ing". "I remember locking the door" "I remember swimming to Milan" (off topic, but couldn't you pick a a city by the sea for this example?) of course, I remember the experience of these activities. But these are NOT the same as imperatives about something that must be done. "You must always remember swimming to Milan!" is NOT the same as "Remember to swim to Milan". I mean, is it? Of course not.

I am putting my original notes back as they were. Cheers -- ALGRIF talk 16:03, 5 November 2012 (UTC)

Milan was a brain fart on my part, sorry. (I guess one could swim the w:Lambro.) :b As for "remember"/"forget"+"_-ing", I've asked others to comment. - -sche (discuss) 05:26, 8 November 2012 (UTC)
There are canals from the Po. I'm sure such swimming would be unforgettable.
Algrif is definitely on to something, but I don't think it is complete. I can form a negative imperative using forget:
"What do I have to do today? get gas, batteries, generator; hook the generator up, shovel the snow. Anything else?"
"Don't forget shopping for food."
-- DCDuring TALK 13:03, 8 November 2012 (UTC)
Isn't "shopping" a noun in this example? Whereas from the previous sentence all the verbs would render as "to" infinitives; Don't forget to (get gas, hook up the generator, shovel the snow), rather than; Don't forget (getting gas, hooking up the .. , shoveling ..) -- ALGRIF talk 17:06, 8 November 2012 (UTC)
I'm not sure, but I think it's the phrase 'shopping for food' that's a noun (a quasi-metalinguistic use: it treats food-shopping as a list item rather than as an action), rather than the specific word 'shopping'. Note that we'd say "Don't forget picking up food" (gerund acting verbishly within its phrase), not *"Don't forget picking up of food" (gerund acting nounishly). —RuakhTALK 20:27, 8 November 2012 (UTC)
Whatever it is, it seems to work the same whether it is imperative or not - "Don't forget swimming in the Lethe," "I forget swimming in the Lethe" - so if it is a gerund acting nounishly in the imperative it would also be a gerund acting nounishly in the indicative.
Also, why is "ask" listed as a verb which is found in the catenative form with to-infinitive in the active and as one which is "not found in catenative form with to-infinitive except in the passive voice"? Furius (talk) 02:48, 9 November 2012 (UTC)
to Furius. A) Yes. Exactly. This appendix is looking at catenative verb patterns peculiar to English. So a noun or noun phrase is of no interest to this appendix whether or not the preceding verb is imperative or indicative, negative or affirmative. However; "Don't forget to swim ..." or "Don't forget to go swimming ..." or "Don't forget to ((do the) or (go)) shopping." are catenative verb patterns.
And B) Well spotted, and removed. -- ALGRIF talk 14:58, 9 November 2012 (UTC)
So, do you continue to dispute that one can say "don't forget swimming" and that the note about how the verbs can only be used with the "to infinitive" should be removed? - -sche (discuss) 22:10, 9 November 2012 (UTC)
Yes. Very much so. It is clear that you have not yet grasped the issue here at all. The point you are desperate to try to make is ALREADY COVERED, and so the changes you propose can only serve to muddy the waters. The point that this section is talking about is that there are a very few verbs that CAN take "to" or "-ing" BUT there is a difference in meaning. If you read the entries carefully, you will see in the parentheses ; For "to" (I remember that it is something I meant to do but didn’t do.) For "-ing" (I cannot remember the experience of going to the store.). Don't let this fact escape you; that this is simply an appendix that is supposed to help people such as Eng L2 learners to use these verb patterns correctly. It is to help them not to sound "foreign" by saying things like "Don't forget taking the car to the garage later, Jake" like Gloria in Modern Family, or something. The note is just a way of indicating this. It is a help. Your note would be a hindrance. -- ALGRIF talk 12:40, 10 November 2012 (UTC)
And that would be perfectly good, but that is not what the two notes say. At the moment they do not say that "don't forget" or "remember" have a different meaning when they take a gerund in the imperative - they say that "don't forget" and "remember" cannot take a gerund and be in the imperative. at all. ever. under any circumstances. That's not helpful when an Eng L2 learner wants to order someone to remember a past event and takes it from this page that it cannot be done in English. Furius (talk) 08:00, 11 November 2012 (UTC)
Ironically, I think that it is actually your note which muddies the waters. The page actually gets your point across better by having only the positive examples and no note, rather than a note that is incorrect by most normal readings. (Of the 5 speakers who've commented on this, you're the only one who seems to think your note is a help, rather than a hindrance.) - -sche (discuss) 07:23, 12 November 2012 (UTC)

I forget + gerund[edit]

Hey there, for me somehow the sentence I forget going to the shopping mall has a flaw in the sequence of tenses. Shouldn't it rather be "I forget having gone to the shopping mall" ?! -andy 00:58, 10 July 2013 (UTC)