In book "Agents of Empire: Knights, Corsairs, Jesuits and Spies in the Sixteenth-Century Mediterranean World" Written by: Noel Malcolm, there is this sentence:

Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent was apparentlly spoiling for a fight with Venice, and may even have welcomed an incident in early 1537 when a hot-headed Venecian naval commander, Alesandro Conferini, attaced three Ottoman ships and sank two of them, the realy giving Suleyman a pretext for war.

My question is: Why author, british-english native, write "have welcomed", but no "has welcomed".

  • 5
    The author wrote a form of may have welcomed – the may is a modal verb.
    – J.R.
    Commented Mar 4, 2017 at 22:00
  • 2
    The verb which follows a modal verbs is always in the infinitive form. Commented Mar 5, 2017 at 0:39
  • 1
    The "have" is associated with "may", as in "may have", rather than with "welcomed", as you have it bolded.
    – fixer1234
    Commented Mar 5, 2017 at 3:05

1 Answer 1


Apparently you don't see that the whole verb in the sentence is may have welcomed. We usually use an infinitive after modal verbs. May is a modal verb and have welcomed is a perfect infinitive.


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