Frame 41, Page 81 - Why is the word 'grow' not the verb phrase in the sentence "Absence makes the heart grow fonder"?

Why is the word "grow" not the verb phrase in the sentence "Absence makes the heart grow fonder"?

Is it because "the heart grow fonder" is not the independent clause? If so, then, how come "the heart grow fonder" is not the independent clause?

ANSWER:

This is a good question!

First, it may help to understand that if we were to write the phrase "the heart grow fonder" as an independent clause, then there would need to be subject-verb agreement between the subject (heart) and its verb (grow). That is, the independent clause would be: The heart grows fonder.

That is why our independent clause is "Absence makes the heart...(do something)," in which "absence" is the subject and "makes" is its verb phrase.

The rest of the predicate, "the heart grow fonder," is what we call a verb compliment, because without it, the meaning of the verb, "makes," remains incomplete. A verb compliment helps to complete the meaning of the verb. (You learn more about verb compliments in iEnglish® 203: The Simple Sentence.)

So what do we call this part of the sentence, "grow," if it isn't the verb phrase?

"Grow," here, is what we call a bare infinitive, an infinitive without the "to" in front. We can see this clearly if we were to write in the "to":

Absence makes the heart (to) grow fonder.

"Grow fonder" is the bare infinitive phrase that completes the meaning of "heart," which in turn helps to complete the meaning of "makes."

I hope this helps to provide you with some clarity. Let me know in a comment to this post if you have further questions about this proverb.

Work hard and be successful,

Professor iEnglish

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