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The Verb Phrase Page 1


  1. AGREEMENT is also relevant to the Verb Phrase, both in OE and PDE. Finite Verbs agree with their Subject in number and person (non-Finite Verbs, such as participles and the infinitive, do not so agree in PDE).

  2. NUMBER. Finite Verbs have two numbers: singular and plural. Which one is used depends on whether the Subject is singular or plural. Thus in PDE HE LOVES is 'correct' but *HE LOVE is not; THEY LOVE is 'correct', but *THEY LOVES is not.

  3. PERSON. Finite Verbs have three persons: first, second and third. 'First person' is used when the subject governing the verb is a first person pronoun, ie. the equivalent of PDE I, WE; 'second person' is used when the subject governing the verb is a second person pronoun, ie. the equivalent of Early Modern English THOU and PDE YOU; 'third person' is used when the subject governing the verb is a noun, or a third person pronoun, ie. the equivalent of PDE HE, SHE, IT or THEY.

  4. Finite Verbs in OE also have special forms depending on Tense and Mood.

  5. TENSE. Finite Verbs in OE and PDE have special forms depending on whether they are in the present or preterite tense, ie. concerned with present or past time respectively (the term 'preterite' is used here mainly because you will come across it in more advanced books).

  6. MOOD. OE had special forms of the finite verb to express indicative, subjunctive and imperative moods.

  7. Indicative verb forms are the 'normal' verb forms.

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