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Why does the dove moan or the horse shake its mane? Or the lizard wait on the white wall then is gone?

Something about this, may seem strange to read, mostly near then is gone. Grammatically, and, maybe, in a proper sense, why may this seem, maybe, like this?

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  • 1
    What do you think is strange? Please let us know.
    – Peter
    May 29, 2017 at 2:17
  • (Native AmE) I think it's strange. Articulating why takes some effort. Explaining the feeling of strangeness may be very hard for a non-native.
    – Ben Kovitz
    May 29, 2017 at 11:23

1 Answer 1

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Because the auxiliary verb does governs the syntax, and does wants a non-finite form (moan, shake, wait), whereas is gone is finite. It could be "...then go?"

That statement about the dove, horse, and lizard is analogous to

Why does he ask then runs? ungrammatical

Grammatical would be

Why does he ask then run?

In contemporary standard English, does ... be is a no-go, so that "does ... be gone" is not a viable option:

Why does the dove moan or the horse shake its mane? Or the lizard wait on the white wall then be gone? non-standard

does...be is archaic in standard English, and is used now only in some (usually regional) dialects

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  • So, I guess, from does, you may look for a non-finite(?) verb. So, does may work, with wait. [G]one may not work maybe, with does, as it may seem a maybe different shift? [G]o may work, for a shift, gone may work for a shift? So, I guess this works? Why may does, and runs, not, maybe, work?
    – saySay
    May 30, 2017 at 0:13
  • When does is used as the auxiliary verb (as with questions), it combines with the bare infinitive: Why does the dove moan....why does the horse shake... why does the lizard wait. In the original passage , gone is the past participle of go; the relevant tensed verb is is: "...then is gone".
    – TimR
    May 30, 2017 at 0:53
  • I guess, I may not get, maybe, why does works with wait, and does may not work with goes. Maybe, why may this writer get to use gone, when I think you maybe stated, maybe. syntactically, does may request go.
    – saySay
    May 30, 2017 at 3:21
  • It is not the verb per se which is at issue; rather it is whether the verb form is finite or non-finite. The rule is: does + {bare infinitive}. So does + is is not grammatical. Moreover, the auxiliary is in present tense. It modern English, does + be appears in dialects only, so it is ungrammatical to say does be gone.
    – TimR
    May 30, 2017 at 10:59
  • does + go is viable, as I said. But does + is gone or does + went are not viable. Those forms are nonviable because they are finite (tensed). gone is the past participle used as predicate adjective/subject complement and is not relevant to the question here. But is is relevant in ... is gone.
    – TimR
    May 30, 2017 at 11:12

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