I know "they happen to are" doesn't sound correct but I don't know why it's happen "to be" when they is plural?

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    "to be" is the infinitive form. The infinitive dos not have grammatical number. "He happens to know my cousin." It's not "to knows".
    – TimR
    Commented Jul 2 at 10:52
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    The verb that gets inflected for tense and number is to happen. Hence He happens to be away, They happen to be here, I happened to be there,... Commented Jul 2 at 12:55

2 Answers 2


The verb that must agree (in number) with they is happen. Compare to We love to be on a sunny beach: it cannot be replaced by either

*We love to are on a sunny beach


*We love to is on a sunny beach

because the complement of the auxiliary verb love must be an uninflected (infinitive) form. (Okay, or a participle/gerund, as in We love being on a sunny beach.)


The infinitive particle "to" takes a plain form a verb. "Be" is the plain (infinitive) form of "be".

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