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Which kind of stretchers is it. Passive infinitive + verb third form. As it is written here (may have been decimated). May have been is passive infinitive and decimated is verb third form.

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    I have never encountered the term "stretchers" -- I take it that you are asking for the name of the construction. Jan 8, 2019 at 17:19

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may have been decimated

May have been is not by itself a passive, but a modal perfect. Followed by a past participle it becomes a passive: in full, a present-tense (or non-past-tense) modal perfect passive construction.

  • may is the present-tense verb in the construction, a modal. Modals possess only two forms, both tensed.
  • have is the perfect auxiliary, cast in the infinitive form because it is the complement of a modal verb
  • been is the passive auxiliary, cast in the perfect participle form because it is the complement of the perfect auxiliary
  • decimated is the lexical verb, cast in the perfect participle form because it is the complement of the passive auxiliary.

Building the construction backwards, in the present tense: PRESENT: [SUBJ] decimates tensed lexical verb PASSIVE: [SUBJ] is decimated tensed BE + PaPpl of lexical verb PERFECT: [SUBJ] has been decimated tensed HAVE + PaPpl of BE + PaPpl of lexical verb MODAL: [SUBJ] may have been decimated tensed MAY + Inf of HAVE + PaPpl of BE + PaPpl of lexical verb

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  • Re "may is the present-tense verb in the construction, a modal. Modals possess only two forms, both tensed", can you explain what does it mean that modals are tensed? Does it mean that they have a time reference (either past, present or future), or that the morphological form of the verb corresponds to the present or the past tense? If the latter, how? // Additional reading on this topic would be appreciated! :) Mar 20, 2020 at 9:42

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