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He has never seen his mother make a cake.

Why is make correct? I got corrected because I wrote makes.

Why isn't "He has never seen his mother makes a cake" a correct sentence?

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  • It's because "make a cake" is a non-finite verb phrase headed by the plain (infinitival) form of the verb "make". A non-finite VP is required because it is complement of another verb, in this case "seen". Note that "His mother make a cake" cannot stand alone as an independent main clause in the same way that "His mother makes cakes" can
    – BillJ
    Apr 6, 2017 at 8:26
  • @BillJ thank you for your advice. The reason is "make" complements "seen" in this sentence.
    – Pharr
    Apr 6, 2017 at 13:56
  • Yes, that's right. When two or more verbs occur consecutively, even if they have an intervening noun, as in your example, the second and subsequent verbs are always non-finite, such as infinitival or gerund-participle (the ing form).
    – BillJ
    Apr 6, 2017 at 14:28
  • @BillJ Thank you so much for the explanation. I could understand my mistake better.
    – Pharr
    Apr 9, 2017 at 11:24

1 Answer 1

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"He has never seen his mother make a cake" is a correct sentence.

Here make is an infinitive without to.

The infinitive is used without to after certain verbs like bid, let, make, see, hear, need, dare etc. (EnglishGrammar.org)

Infinitives come in two types: the to infinitive and the bare infinitive (infinitive without to). Either form of the infinitive is the base form of the verb, which does not inflect according to the tense or the number or person of the subject.

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  • Thank you for your explanation. Would you please let me know why "make" used without "s" in this sentence?
    – Pharr
    Apr 6, 2017 at 6:57
  • Infinitives are two types - to infinitive and bare infinitive ( infinitive without to). Either form of infinitive is the base form of verbs but it does not inflect in accordance with the tense or number or person of subjects. Apr 6, 2017 at 7:19
  • Thank you again for helping me. I carefully read your explanation and the link you sent.
    – Pharr
    Apr 6, 2017 at 13:46

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