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  1. Ram is the man I thought to have killed my brother.
  2. Ram is the man I thought to kill my brother.
  3. Ram is the man I thought have killed my brother.
  4. Ram is the man I thought killed my brother.

Are theses sentences grammatically correct? Do they mean the same? Which one is more preferable? What's the meaning of each sentences. Please explain in detail. I'm so confused.

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  • 1
    Has Ram already killed your brother?
    – HandyHowie
    Commented Dec 8, 2022 at 15:28
  • Are you planning to get Ram to kill your brother? Commented Dec 8, 2022 at 15:50
  • 2
    Both (3) and (4) would be better with had killed. Commented Dec 8, 2022 at 15:52
  • 1
    Asking if something is correct is considered proofreading and off-topic here. Your question may be voted to be closed unless you can update it. Did you do some research? Can you include that research in your question? Is there a reason why you think what you've written might be wrong?
    – Astralbee
    Commented Dec 8, 2022 at 16:19
  • 1
    Oh please, Sahil. Couldn't you use another example? I find this odious.
    – Lambie
    Commented Dec 8, 2022 at 18:10

2 Answers 2

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1 and 4 are grammatically correct and mean the same thing. 2 and 3 are not grammatically correct.

Normally a person would just say, "Ram is the man who killed my brother" or "Ram killed my brother". Adding some variant of "have" doesn't really change the meaning and just adds unnecessary words.

If you were planning to hire Ram to kill your brother at some time in the future, you could say, "Ram is the man I thought to have kill my brother."

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  1. is grammatical, but rather formal or literary. It cannot be used with simple actions, but it can be used with descriptions, or the "state" of having done something, or doing something habitually:

So

She is thought to be highly intelligent. (a description)

They were thought to want to go to America. (a mental state)

He is thought to have killed somebody. (a past infinitive - meaning "in the state of having done whatever it was")

He was thought to be running a smuggling operation. (a continuous infinitive)

So your 2. could work if it didn't have a specific object:

This pesticide is thought to kill bees.

but thought to kill my brother doesn't make sense, because the construction has to be habitual.

  1. is not grammatical: thought in this way cannot be followed by the base form (or present form) of a verb: it must be the "to" infinitive.

  2. is grammatical, but has a different structure: it is not thought + "to"-infinitive clause, it's thought + finite clause, withthe subject "raised" two levels:

The man [(that) I thought [(that) (he) killed my brother]])

The first "that" is optional, but the second "that", and the "he" must be omitted.

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