This is simple a question based on curiosity. I have tried to research different combinations of helping verbs and action verbs that contain more than four consecutive verbs, but I can't seem to find any. Here are the constraints for what I am looking for:

  • The verbs must be consecutive.
  • no compound verbs (So you can't have the following sentence or something like it: I ate chips, watched the telvision, went to the park, came home, and slept.)
  • The verbs can be in any tense as long as they are grammatically correct.
  • The verbs must be part of the same verb phrase (Joan, I know, will push herself as much as she can to accomplish her goals. "Know" and "will push" are not part of the same verb phrase.

Here's an example of what I am looking for:

If you get out of the water now, you will have been afloat for a total of twenty minutes.

Does anyone think they know a verb phrase that has more than four consecutive verbs?

  • It's like puns vs. homophones: the sentence must make conceptual sense as well if you want full points – Richard Haven Dec 4 '17 at 5:42
  • @RichardHaven To be honest, I don't care how crazy the sentence is. As long as the grammar is correct, semantics don't matter to me. Although, I see what you are saying. – Jonathan Harbaugh Dec 4 '17 at 6:43
  • You might get more responses if you have this question migrated to Puzzling.SE. – Lawrence Mar 10 '18 at 17:44
  • @Lawrence Good idea! – Jonathan Harbaugh Mar 13 '18 at 16:30
  • Can't be migrated for two reasons: (1) technical: too old to migrate. (2) substantial: Puzzling.SE looks for challenges 'with a “best answer” criteria (as opposed to an open ended “Does anyone think they know of [any examples of]...”)'. Puzzling.SE say they can accept the puzzle if suitably reworded. If you want to try that, simply delete the question here and re-ask there. – MetaEd Mar 15 '18 at 18:51

Yes, it is possible:

You should have dared go run help start trying to ask better questions.

It’s called using catenative verbs.

Don’t try this at home.

  • 1
    For anyone who doesn't understand this sentence, let me try to make it clearer. "You should have dared [someone] to go and run to [see if they can] help [someone] start trying to ask better questions." Unfortunately, there are not five consecutive verbs anywhere in this sentence as it contains many infinitives. Since infinitives are never verbs, this sentence doen't have five consecutive verbs. In fact, it doesn't even have four consecutive verbs in it. After reading the Wikipedia page on catenative verbs, I found no sentences with five consecutive verbs, but I did learn something new. Thanks! – Jonathan Harbaugh Dec 4 '17 at 6:51
  • 2
    First, you've misparsed the sentence: there's no someone involved. Second, I have no idea what you are talking about by pretending that infinitives "are not verbs"; that's crazy talk. Third, the only words in that sentence that are not verbs are you, better, and questions — and arguably to. The rest are all verbs, all nine of them in a row. – tchrist Dec 4 '17 at 7:06
  • 1. chompchomp.com/terms/infinitive.htm 2. webapps.towson.edu/ows/verbals.html 3. grammar-monster.com/glossary/verbals.htm Those are just a few sources stating that infinitives are not verbs. Also, the [someone] was only added to help anyone else who read your sentence. All I did was make it more normal sounding. Also, although the infinitives aren't verbs, "to" is certainly not a verb. So, even if the infinitives were verbs, "to" would not be. So, that would not be nine in a row. – Jonathan Harbaugh Dec 4 '17 at 7:53
  • 1
    @JonathanHarbaugh Grammar monster says: “An infinitive is a verb form (often preceded by to, e.g., to dance, to sing) which can function as a noun, an adjective, or an adverb.” and Towson University says “An infinitive is a verbal formed by placing to in front of the simple present form of a verb.” Where did you get the impression that infinitives are not verbs? – Mari-Lou A Dec 4 '17 at 10:46
  • 1
    Eleven ?? "You should have dared to go run find help to start trying to resuscitate dying man." – ab2 Dec 4 '17 at 11:06

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.