cat·​e·​na·​tive | \ ˈkatəˌnātiv, ˈkatᵊnˌātiv, -atə-, -ātiv \
variants: or catenative verb or less commonly catenative auxiliary
plural -s

Definition of catenative

: a verb often followed by a function word (such as to or on) that occupies a position other than final in a succession of two or more verbs together forming the main part of the predicate of a sentence (such as ought in “I ought to go home now” and try and keep in “they tried to keep on working”)

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History and Etymology for catenative

catenate entry 1 + -ive entry 2

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Cite this Entry

“Catenative.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Apr. 2021.

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