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Catenative verbs are English language verbs which can be followed directly by another verb, in either the to infinitive or present participle / gerund forms. For example He deserves to win the cup, where "deserve" is a catenative verb which can be followed directly by another verb, in this case in the to infinitive form.
They are called "catenative" from their ability to form chains. For example: We promised to agree to try practicing playing tennis more often.
Most of these verbs demand that the following verb be in one or the other form only. A few can take both forms, but sometimes there is a difference in meaning.
- Some catenative verbs are followed by a to infinitive: "He agreed to work on Saturday"
- Some catenative verbs are used in passive voice followed by an infinitive: "You are forbidden to smoke in here"
- Some catenative verbs are followed by a gerund: "He admitted taking the money".
- Some catenative verbs are followed by a to infinitive or a gerund:
- No difference in meaning:
- It began to rain.
- It began raining.
- Difference in meaning:
- I forgot to go to the shopping centre. (I remember that it is something I meant to do but didn’t do.)
- I forget going to the shopping centre. (I cannot remember the experience of going to the store.)
- Some catenative verbs may be followed by a bare infinitive:
- I helped to pack her bags.
- I helped pack her bags.
- Special construction:
- Go clean your room.
- I can’t go watch that movie.
In other fields, Catenation and Concatenation (disambiguation) refer to the joining of similar things in a series or chain.