General Writing and Grammar Help/use of two verbs

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Question
Dear Ted,

I am trying to understand the use of two verbs in the sentence:

“Pewter is composed of an alloy based on tin and other metals.”

Can you please tell me if there is a grammatical name for a sentence that has two verbs.

Or, is the above sentence actually two clauses that each has a verb?

Thank you


Sincerely,

Rich

Answer
Dear Rich:

I am trying to understand the use of two verbs in the sentence:

“Pewter is composed of an alloy based on tin and other metals.”

Can you please tell me if there is a grammatical name for a sentence that has two verbs.

Or, is the above sentence actually two clauses that each has a verb?

*****

Your sentence might be easier to understand if it is rephrased slightly:  Pewter, an alloy,  is based on tin and other metals.

By revising the sentence, we eliminate one verb "composed" and one prepositional phrase "of an alloy."  The word "alloy" is an appositive explaining "pewter."  You are then left with one verb with which to deal, and that verb, is based on, is a phrasal verb.  "Is" and "is based" CANNOT be used without the "on tin and other metals."  So, the preposition "on" and its phrase "tin and other metals" are needed to understand the meaning of the sentence.  Phrasal verbs are exactly what they are called -- they MUST be part of a larger phrase.

I know of no specific name for this kind of sentence, other than the obvious -- simple sentence or independent clause.  

You CAN make your sentence into two independent clauses, without changing the meaning:

Pewter is composed of an alloy.  The alloy is based on tin and other metals.  

Many people would choose this method.  You, however, tend to write more complicated or complex sentences, which is not a problem for READING.  Parsing the sentences, however, is also complex.

Your original sentence contains just ONE independent clause, and that is all that is needed.

If you changed the sentence to "Pewter IS COMPOSED . . . . and IS BASED . . . . ," you would still have a simple sentence, WITH A COMPOUND VERB.  One of the verbs is "simple" and the other is "phrasal."

At one of the site I sent you, there is a statement that only PART of a long list of phrasal verbs is given.  There are hundreds more.

So, the final answer to your question is that you have ONE independent clause containing TWO verbs, and the second verb is a PHRASAL VERB.

Ted

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Ted Nesbitt

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I am the bibliographic instruction and reference librarian at a public college. Some members of the English department recommend me to their students. I offer assistance in grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and paragraph development. My master`s thesis concerns William Faulkner`s tragic novels. I formerly taught advanced placement English at two schools in the Philadelphia area.

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I have been one of the highest-ranked volunteers in this category for more than a decade.

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B. A. and M. A in English; MSIS in Library & Information Sciences; graduate study in philosophy

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