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Somebody mentioned me on stackexchange(link is provided in the end) that we can have only one conjugated verb per subject in a clause. I typed these sentences in Gmail just to check gmail AI 🙂 and it shows these results.

  1. I had known soldiers die. (correct)
  2. I had known soldiers died.(correct)
  3. I had seen soldiers die.(correct)
  4. I had seen soldiers died.(error)

Why with 'had known' both 'die' and 'died' are okay?

Freeze up or Froze up

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  • …and your question is… Jun 23, 2023 at 15:36
  • If your question is something like "then why is either die or died correct", have you considered that "I had known" and "soldiers die/died" are separate clauses? Think of it as "I had known that..."
    – stangdon
    Jun 23, 2023 at 16:21
  • (2) doesn't look correct to me unless, as Stangdon suggests, you insert that. Jun 23, 2023 at 16:54
  • The most salient interpretation of your examples is that only 1. and 3 are correct. "Know" is a catenative verb and "(to) die" is its catenative complement.
    – BillJ
    Jun 23, 2023 at 17:11

1 Answer 1

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The grammar of "know" is different from the grammar of "see", and the form of "die" in 1 and 3 is not the same.

"Know" can take any declarative clause (with optional "that") as a complement:

I know (that) soldiers die(d).

This means I know the fact that soldiers die(d).

"Die" can be simple present or simple past or any other tense because any clause works after "know".

"See", however, takes a complement in the form [ object + base form ]:

I saw [him die].

To really convince ourselves that "die" is base form and not present simple, let's use the verb "be":

I saw [him be killed].

  1. is an error because "died" is not base form.
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