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I have the following question which Copilot, Gemini, and ChatGPT couldn't answer properly.

I understand that in American English, people drop and in "Come and Find," and say "Come find." In that case, which would be the proper 3rd person singular form?

  1. Everyday he comes finds me on the train.
  2. Everyday he come finds me on the train.
  3. Everyday he comes find me on the train.

One article says "not dropping AND after Come/go" sounds British.

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    I'd give #3 a pass, but come find me as imperative does not translate perfectly to 3rd person. "Every day, he came and found me on the train"? "Every day, he can come find me on the train if he wants"? Commented Jun 16 at 1:55
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    Thanks alot! So, "Come Find" should be avoided in non-imperative sentences, and I should simply say, like, "Everyday he comes and finds /comes to find" me on the train in the above example. It doesn't necessarily sound British in that case, am I correct?
    – mac
    Commented Jun 16 at 2:06
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    Don't know Brit. Me Yankee. Commented Jun 16 at 2:08
  • thank you so much!
    – mac
    Commented Jun 16 at 2:11
  • It’s not third person.
    – Xanne
    Commented Jun 16 at 2:32

1 Answer 1

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This appears to be a matter of dropping the and, not creating a new verb "come find". That is, if come and find makes sense then you can drop and. It's only used in the present tense, and only in the infinitive. If it's not present tense and infinitive form, you can't drop the and. [Note that the imperative mood satisfies both conditions.]

Come [and] find me on the train.
He can come [and] find me on the train if he wants.

...but not

*Every day he comes find me on the train.
*He came found me on the train.

Those would need some sort of particle: comes to find; comes and finds. Neither is both present tense and infinitive. Because the third-person singular inflects the verb, it's no longer infinitive and you can't drop the and. And even though other persons or numbers probably have the same word as the infinitive form, the verb is actually inflected, so you can't say "*They come find me on the train."

The phenomenon also occurs with go: "Go find me a tomato." It works in exactly the same way.

Standard British English does not drop and in this way; it is a shibboleth.

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  • Wow, Thank you so very much for the detailed explanation with examples.
    – mac
    Commented Jun 16 at 11:02
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    “It's only used in the present tense, and only in the infinitive” — That’s rather confusingly worded, since those are two different, mutually exclusive syntactic verb forms. What you’re really talking about when you say ‘infinitive’ is the base (or plain) form, which is the morphological form that is used for the infinitive and imperative (and also for the present tense outside the third person singular, except in the verb be). Commented Jun 16 at 14:52
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    @mac It’s not explicitly mentioned in the answer, but the pattern is not just for come/go + find – it’s the same for all come/go + [verb] constructions: “[you can] go tell your brother”, “[you should] come give me a hug”, etc. Commented Jun 16 at 14:55
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    @JanusBahsJacquet The problem is that the morphological form is not it. It does depend on the infinitive (as I wrote, "They come find me," which has the same morphological form, doesn't work here.)
    – Andrew Leach
    Commented Jun 16 at 19:37
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    @Andrew But the imperative is not infinitive either – the imperative is a finite form. And actually, I’d say ‘they come find me’ is acceptable. It’s not as frequent or neutral as in imperative or infinitive constructions, but I’ve definitely heard it, and judicious Google searches to limit to present-tense constructions do yield hits (try “if you go stand”, for example). Personally, I only perceive it as very colloquial – unlike ‘*he comes find[s?] me’, which is just utterly ungrammatical and impossible on every level. Commented Jun 16 at 20:39

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