Supposing that I would like to mark a sentence's verb, should I mark its modal verb as a part of the main verb?

Let's say:

You must calculate...


You should go...

Should the verbs be marked as must calculate and should go or just calculate and go?

  • I think you would have to check which is expected on your particular course.
    – rjpond
    Nov 20 '21 at 10:05
  • @rjpond There are no courses I'm going through. I was just wondering about it.
    – JOUA
    Nov 20 '21 at 10:29

[1] [You must [calculate ...]]

[2] [You should [go ...]]

Some grammars claim that "must calculate" and "should go" are verb groups, and thus are single grammatical units, or constituents, called the verbs.

But this isn't a very satisfactory analysis. It's better to say that for every verb there is a clause, and as there are two verbs there must be two clauses. For example, [1] consists of a matrix clause (the sentence as a whole in outer brackets), and a subordinate clause, "calculate ...", in inner brackets.

In other words, the sequences "must calculate" and "should go" each consist of two verbs, not just one. Thus, "must" and "should" are the matrix verbs and "calculate" and "go" are the subordinate verbs

  • That's understandable. Thank you for the information. So do you think that if it were, let's say in an exam, it's better that I mark the whole blended verb as the sentence's verb, right?
    – JOUA
    Nov 20 '21 at 10:31
  • 2
    If it's possible, I would point out both analyses.
    – BillJ
    Nov 20 '21 at 10:45

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