Verb + verb structures in English

Modal auxiliaries are followed by forms of other verbs.

  • I would like to go.
  • I can explain everything.
  • She may come.
  • You must follow my instructions.

Some other verbs can also be followed by forms of other verbs. This usually happens when we talk about our attitude to an action.

In this case, the first verb describes the attitude and the second verb refers to the action.

Study the examples given below.

  • I enjoy swimming.
  • I want to see him.
  • I hope to win the first prize.

Depending upon the particular verb different structures are possible. Some verbs are followed by infinitives with or without to. Some can be followed by –ing forms, some by past participles and some by clauses.

Many verbs can be followed by several different structures. There is usually a difference of use or meaning.

  • She seems to have a problem. (NOT She seems having a problem.)
  • It is not easy to give up smoking. (NOT It is not easy to give up to smoke.)
  • I don’t enjoy packing. (NOT I don’t enjoy to pack.)
  • I suggest that you hire an attorney. OR I suggest hiring an attorney. (NOT I suggest you to hire an attorney.)

Most verbs can be followed by an object as well as a verb structure.

  • I would like you to talk to him.
  • When are you going to get your carpet cleaned?
  • We all want you to be happy.