Questions tagged [defective-verbs]

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"must + [verb]" past simple

Is there a way to use must in past simple? Present simple: You must run. Past perfect: You must have ran. Past simple doesn't work: You must ran. Not even with another word to indicate past (since ...
i'm a girl's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers

'be sick' : defective verb [closed]

George is being sick means 'George is bringing up food from his stomach'; George is sick means 'George is ill'. However, George was sick can mean either George brought up food from his stomach or ...
GJC's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer

What are the defective verbs? [closed]

Apart from modals what defective verbs exist? For example beware and begone.
Tom B's user avatar
  • 459
0 votes
1 answer

“I can't be available” vs “I will not be available”

I had written “I can't be available from 9-10.” My friends suggested that I rewrite it as “I can't be available from 9-10”. Both answers were not satisfying me. I had searched on the internet for ...
kvk30's user avatar
  • 111
38 votes
6 answers

What is the infinitive of "can"?

Like the title says: I don't think "to can" is right :) I mean "can" as in to be able to. I'm aware of other meanings. I can't find the answer here. (There's What is an "infinitive"? which ...
sehe's user avatar
  • 1,112
4 votes
3 answers

What causes a verb to be infinitive only?

Why are some verbs only usable in the infinitive? The one example I can think of is "to spite" (see "to wit in the accepted answer). While wiktionary claims that spited is a word, that doesn't match ...
Lawton's user avatar
  • 1,174
6 votes
2 answers

Why is "can" such an odd verb?

The English verb can is very strange for several reasons: It drops the to on any infinitive verb forms that follow it. That is, unlike in the verb want in the sentence I want to eat, you would not ...
Peter Olson's user avatar
  • 6,081
4 votes
3 answers

Progressive form of "beware"

I am reading a book, called Minimalist Syntax: Exploring the Structure of English. At the beginning of chapter 2, when discussing the inflectional morphology of English verbs, the author says: The ...
Otavio Macedo's user avatar
4 votes
3 answers

Infinitive of “may” and “might”?

What’s the infinitive of the verb I use when I say “I might go” or “May I come with you”? I think in German it’s dürfen. Is there one in English? If not, why not?
Claudiu's user avatar
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