In an answer to another question, I erroneously said:

Each sentence sentence normally be one complete thought, with a noun and a verb. You should generally not have two verbs per sentence

What I was trying to say was that each sentence should have one... "primary verb", but I'm looking for the actual term to describe this. I am sure "primary verb" is not it.

As an example, user brilliant commented on that question and gave this example:

As for those who like to place a lot of commas in the sentence and think that they do the right in acting that way, I would tell them that each sentence should be one complete thought, with a noun and a verb, and, therefore, there should be generally only one verb in it.

In that sentence, there's a lot of verbs... What is the way to describe the verb "would", as used in "I would tell", and only that verb?

1 Answer 1


This is called a finite verb, as opposed to participles and infinitives.

  • Ah ha, that seems to be exactly it. Thanks again!
    – Josh
    Jan 20, 2011 at 23:54
  • @Josh: Wait, I misread your question... I have edited my answer. Jan 20, 2011 at 23:57
  • Ok. His comment confuses me. Maybe I don't mean "tell", maybe I mean "would". I am pretty sure I am looking for the finite verb. In your examples I am looking for "heard" and "like"
    – Josh
    Jan 21, 2011 at 0:00
  • @Josh: Right, those are the finite verbs. Jan 21, 2011 at 0:04

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