Verb complementation

Different verbs can be followed by different kinds of word and structure. Some verbs can be followed by infinitives with or without to; some verbs can be followed by –ing forms; some by past participles; and some by clauses.

Many verbs can be followed by two or more of these structures. There is usually a difference of meaning.

Study the following sentences

  • She seems to have a problem. (NOT She seems having a problem. Seem cannot be followed by a to-infinitive.)
  • I must stop smoking. (NOT I must stop to smoke.)
  • I got my car stolen twice last year. (NOT I got my car stealing…)
  • I suggest consulting a specialist. OR I suggest that we consult a specialist. (NOT I suggest to consult a specialist.)

Many verbs can be followed by an object as well as a verb structure.

  • We all want you to be happy.
  • I must get the clock repaired.

Verb + object + complement

Some transitive verbs are followed by an object together with an expression that gives more information about the object.

  • She makes me nervous.
  • We thought him to be a fool.
  • She decided to paint her house pink.