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6.4.Non-main verbs selecting a bare infinitive

This section discusses a number of non-main verbs taking a bare infinitive as their complement. Section 6.4.1 starts with a discussion of the aspectual verbs gaan'to go', komen'to come' and blijven'to stay'; an example is given in (190a). While the aspectual verbs are generally taken to be non-main verbs, this is controversial for the verb zijn in the so-called absentive construction in (190b), which has also been analyzed as a copular construction. Section 6.4.2 will argue against analyzing zijn as a copular verb and provides some evidence in favor of the more traditional view that it functions as a non-main verb.

a. De kat gaat muizen vangen.
  the cat  goes  mice  catch
  'The cat is going to catch mice.'
b. De kat is muizen vangen.
  the cat  is mice  catch
  'The cat is off catching mice.'

We conclude this section with a discussion of the use of the verb doen'to do' in examples such as (191b); this use of doen is restricted to cases in which the verb that would normally appear as the finite verb of the clause is topicalized. We will argue that doen is like English to do in that it is inserted as a last resort: it saves the structure from ungrammaticality given that it allows the tense and agreement features of the clause to be expressed.

a. Ik wandel niet graag.
  walk  not  gladly
  'I donʼt like to walk.'
b. Wandelen doe ik niet graag.
  walk  do  not  gladly
  'I donʼt like to walk.'
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