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I'd like a simple explanation as to why we use present continuous in some phrases and present simple in others. For example 'I recommend you consider having it remodeled' vs 'I'd rather not have it...' or 'I recommend putting it...' vs 'I recommend you to put it..'


marked as duplicate by FumbleFingers, choster, Hellion, Scott, Laure Jun 6 '17 at 8:02

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  • Consider the possibility of having it remodeled. – Hot Licks Jun 2 '17 at 11:15

These are not finite (tensed) forms but non-finite (untensed) forms heading subordinate non-finite clauses. Which specific form is required is determined by the verb heading the superordinate clause in which the subordinate clause is embedded.

I recommend you consider having it remodeled

Having here is not "present continuous"—that construction requires some form of BE before the -ing form. The -ing form having, without BE, is the non-finite form which the verb consider (when it is used in this sense) requires as head of its subordinate complement clause.

Traditional grammar, which characterizes the verbs heading non-finite clauses according to the syntactic role the clause plays, gives this use of the -ing form the name gerund—a non-finite form acting externally as a noun.

I'd rather not have it

Have here is not "present simple", but an infinitive, the non-finite form required by the modal verb would as head of its subordinate complement clause. The complement of any modal verb is always an infinitive unmarked with to.

I recommend putting it...
I recommend you to put it ...
I recommend you put it ...

Recommend licenses three sorts of complements:

gerund (putting)
marked infinitive (to put)
unmarked infinitive (put) — traditional grammar calls this a 'present subjunctive', but the form is identical with the infinitive in every verb. Since in present-day English this form complements only verbs which 'require' or 'urge' some action, it might plausibly be considered an imperative—which is also identical with the infinitive.

  • +1 You can't say that too often. It's the Verb that determines almost everything in a clause, or a sentence. Find the verbs and their relationships and you have the skeleton of the sentence. – John Lawler Jun 2 '17 at 13:50

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