3 verbs in a sentence?

by keith
(Hong Kong,China)

I watched a cartoon yesterday. One of the characters said "all you have to do is report to me".

It seems like there are 3 verbs in this sentence(have, is, report).

Is the sentence correct or not? Could you explain why?

Comments for 3 verbs in a sentence?

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Jul 17, 2014
Head subject & Verb
by: K.Bala

Yes. The sentence is exactly correct.

Even though there we find 3 verbs (in fact, there are 4 verbs in this sentence, i.e., have, do, is, report), only one verb could be the predicate verb.

To know the predicate of the sentence, we must know which is the subject of this sentence. In this sentence, the (phrasal) subject is "all you have to do is". but, 'you' is the 'head subject' of this phrasal subject without which this sentence would sound awkwardly. The simplified sentence is " you report to me". all the other words in the phrasal subject are performing the role of modifiers. Even if we remove them from this sentence, it will not make any damage to the concept of the sentence.

to know the real verb (predicate verb) of a sentence, we have to move our fingers from right to left of the sentence. Which verb catches your eyes firstly is the real verb of the sentence. Remaining verbs are dummy verbs.

Hope you all understand. Any disagreement?

Aug 10, 2012
by: Anonymous

Yes, it is correct. :) As a previous comment already said, there is no limit to verbs. The only main rule to verbs in English is that they have to "agree" with your subject; for instance, if you have a plural subject, like "we", you cannot put it with a verb that is used for a single subject, like "is". "We is" is incorrect. It is either "We are" or "He is".

As for the sentence... "All you have to do is report to me."

The main verb that drives the sentence is "report". That is the action that will be performed by the character in the cartoon. "All you have to do" is being used as a phrase to give importance to a specific, limited action, essentially saying, "This is exactly what I want done, and nothing more."

So you could simplify it to two verbs: "I just want you to report to me."

Or even to one verb: "Just report to me."

The meaning is mostly the same in all three of those, but is more clearly understood in the sentence with three verbs.

I'm sorry that was so long, and I hope it was easy to understand!

Jul 02, 2011
by: Ola Zur

Hi Keith,

Yes, this sentence is correct.

The reason is that there is simply no rule regarding the maximum amount of verbs you can have in a sentence.

For example, you can have 1 verb in a sentence:

"I read books."

You can have 2 verbs in a sentence:

"I read books that describe animals."

You can have 3 verbs in a sentence:

"I read books that describe how to feed animal."

Or you can have 6 verbs in a sentence:

"I read books that describe how to feed animal, and Joe read books that describe how to raise plants."

There is no limit :)

Jul 01, 2011
My responce...
by: Tu

I think this sentence is not really correct, because, in cartoon, the correct grammar is not high require!

I think report should be change to reporting!
But in cartoon, this may be enough for you to understand!

In other case, are you sure you listen completely correct, every words?

Jun 28, 2011
3 verbs in a sentence ?
by: Anonymous


There are many different forms of subjects, here it's called a noun phrase,

"all you have to do" is the subject here,

is : auxiliary verb,

report : main verb

to me: Object

I hope this is useful!

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