Linked Verbs

“Linked verbs” are verbs governed by the same subject and which are used together without any punctuation or conjunction (such as “and” or “or”). This happens frequently in Spanish, and only the first of the two verbs may be conjugated; the second verb may be an infinitive or a gerund (-ndo form). There is no simple hard and fast rule as to how these verbs are joined together, and the situation is complicated by the fact that some verbs can be used in various ways, at times with various meanings, depending on which preposition if any intervenes. Nevertheless, a few generalizations may help when these linkages occur:

  1. Verbs meaning “to begin” and verbs of movement towards someplace or goal are normally followed by a plus an infinitive.
  2. Verbs meaning “to stop” or “to finish” are normally followed by de plus an infinitive.
  3. Modals (e.g., “should”, “can”, “may”) are normally followed by an infinitive with no intervening preposition.
  4. Verbs meaning “to continue” are normally followed by the -ndo form, with no preposition.

  1. Verbs followed by a plus an infinitive:

    acostumbrarse a    to become accustomed to
    aprender a to learn how to
    aspirar a to aspire to
    atreverse a to dare to, to be so bold as to
    ayudar a to help to
    comenzar a (ie) to begin to, to start to
    contribuir a to contribute to
    correr a to run to
    1decidirse a to decide to, to make up one's mind to
    dedicarse a to dedicate oneself to, to devote oneself to
    echarse a to start to, to burst out (doing something)
    empezar a (ie) to begin to, to start to
    enseñar a to teach how to
    invitar a to invite to
    ir a to go to, to be going to
    llegar a to come to
    negarse a (ie) to refuse to
    prepararse a to prepare to
    ponerse a to start to, to set about to
    1rehusarse a to refuse to
    salir a to go out to, to leave to
    venir a (ie) to come to
    volver a (ue) to do something again
         1 Note that the reflexive form is followed by a preposition plus an infinitive, but the non-reflexive form is followed by an infinitive without a preposition.

  2. Verbs followed by de plus an infinite:

    acabar de    to have just (done something)
    acordarse de (ue) to remember
    alegrarse de to be happy to
    arrepentirse de (ie) to regret, to repent of
    cansarse de to tire of, to grow tired of
    dejar de to stop (doing something)
    depender de to depend on
    jactarse de to boast of
    1olvidarse de to forget
    parar de to stop (doing something)
    pensar de (ie) to think about (i.e., to have an opinion about)
    quejarse de to complain of
    terminar de to finish, to stop (doing something)
    tratar de to try to
         1 Note that the reflexive form is followed by a preposition plus an infinitive, but the non-reflexive form is followed by an infinitive without a preposition.

  3. Verbs followed by en plus an infinitive:

    consistir en   to consist of
    convenir en (ie) to agree to
    insistir en to insist on
    pensar en (ie) to think about (i.e, to contemplate doing something)
    tardar en to delay in

  4. Verbs followed by con plus an infinitive:

    amenazar con   to threaten with/to
    contar con (ue) to count on
    soñar con (ue) to dream of/about

  5. Verbs followed by por plus an infinitive:

    acabar por   to end up (by doing something)
    terminar por to end up (by doing something)

  6. Verbs followed by que plus an infinitive:

    hay que   to have to, must (used impersonally)
    tener que to have to

  7. Verbs which are followed by an infinitive with no intervening preposition:

    2agradar    to please (to like)
    amenazar to threaten to
    anhelar to be eager to, to long to, to yearn to
    3deber must, should, ought to
    1decidir to decide to
    desear to desire to, to want to
    detestar to detest
    2doler (ue) to hurt, to ache
    esperar to hope to, to expect to
    2gustar to please (to like)
    2importar to matter, to be important
    intentar to try to
    lamentar to lament, to regret
    lograr to manage to, to succeed in
    2molestar to bother
    necesitar to need to
    odiar to hate to
    1olvidar to forget to
    parecer to seem to, to appear to
    4pensar (ie) to plan to, to intend to
    poder (ue) to be able to, can, may
    preferir (ie, i) to prefer to
    prometer to promise to
    querer (ie) to want to
    1rehusar to refuse to
    saber to know how to
    sentir (ie, i) to regret, feel sorry for
    soler (ue) to be accustomed to, to be used to
         1 Note that the reflexive form is followed by a preposition plus an infinitive, but the non-reflexive form is followed by an infinitive without a preposition.
         2 With verbs used like gustar, the following infinitive is technically the subject of the verb; therefore, no intervening preposition can be used.
         3 Deber may also be used with de plus an infinitive, particularly when it indicates conjecture.
         4 Pensar may be followed by en plus an infinitive when it means “to think about” (i.e, to ponder something) or by de plus an infinitive when it means “to have an opinion about”.

  8. Verbs which are followed by the gerund (-ndo form), with no intervening preposition. This group includes verbs meaning “to continue”, estar (used in the progressive tenses), several verbs of motion (to go somewhere doing something) and verbs meaning “to finish” (to end up by doing something).

    acabar + -ndo    to end up, finish up (by doing something)
    andar + -ndo to walk, to go around (doing something)
    continuar + -ndo to continue to, to continue (doing something)
    entrar + -ndo to enter, to go in (doing something)
    estar + -ndo to be (doing something)
    ir + -ndo to go (doing something)
    salir + -ndo to go out, to leave (doing something)
    seguir + -ndo (i, i) to keep on (doing something), to continue to
    terminar + -ndo to end up, finish up (doing something)
    venir + -ndo (ie) to come (doing something)

  9. Special case: (Im)personal expressions involving ser plus an adjective.

    When used impersonally, expressions with ser plus an adjective are normally followed by an infinitive, with no intervening preposition:

    Es fácil leer.     It's easy to read.
    Es difícil describir a mi madre. It's difficult to describe my mother.

    However, when this type of expression is used to modify something specific (rather than an impersonal “it”), de is used before the infinitive. This occurs most frequently with fácil and difícil.

    ¿Este libro? Es fácil de leer.   This book? It's easy to read.
    Mi madre es dificil de describir. My mother is hard to describe.

  10. Alphabetized list of the verbs given above in Sections I - VIII.

    acabar + -ndo    to end up (doing something)
    acabar de + inf. to have just (done something)
    acabar por + inf. to end up by
    acordarse de + inf. to remember to
    amenazar + inf. to threaten to
    amenazar con + inf. to threaten with
    anhelar + inf. to long to
    acostumbrarse a + inf. to be used to
    alegrarse de + inf. to be happy to
    aprender a + inf. to learn how to
    arrepentirse de + inf. to repent of
    aspirar a + inf. to aspire to
    atreverse a + inf. to dare to, be so bold as to
    ayudar a + inf. to help to
    cansarse de + inf. to get tired of
    comenzar a + inf. to begin to
    consistir en + inf. to consist of
    contar con + inf. to count on
    continuar + -ndo to continue to
    contribuir a + inf. to contribute to
    convenir en + inf. to agree to
    correr a + inf. to run to
    deber + inf. must, should, to ought to
    deber de + inf. must, should
    decidir + inf. to decide to
    decidirse a + inf. to make up ones mind to
    dedicarse a + inf. to dedicate oneself to
    dejar de + inf. to stop
    depender de + inf. to depend on
    desear + inf. to desire to
    detestar + inf. to detest
    doler + inf. to hurt to
    echarse a + inf. to bust out, start to
    empezar a + inf. to begin to
    enseñar a + inf. to teach how to
    entrar + -ndo to go in (doing something)
    esperar + inf. to hope to, expect to
    estar + -ndo to be (doing something)
    gustar + inf. to be pleasing [=like] to
    hay que + inf. have to
    importar + inf. to be important to
    insistir en + inf. to insist on
    intentar + inf. to try to
           
    invitar a + inf.    to invite to
    ir + -ndo to go along (doing something)
    ir a + inf. to be going to
    jactarse de + inf. to brag about
    lamentar + inf. to lament
    lograr + inf. to manage to
    llegar a + inf. to come to
    molestar + inf. to bother
    necesitar + inf. to need to
    negarse a + inf. to refuse to
    odiar + inf. to hate to
    olvidar + inf. to forget to
    olvidarse de + inf. to forget to
    parar de + inf. to stop (doing something)
    parecer + inf. to seem to
    pensar + inf. to plan to, intend to
    pensar de + inf. to think about (=have an opinion about)
    pensar en + inf. to thing about (= to consider)
    poder + inf. can, to be able to
    ponerse a + inf. to start to, set about to
    preferir + inf. to prefer to
    prepararse a + inf. to prepare to
    prometer + inf. to promise to
    quejarse de + inf. to complain about
    querer + inf. to want to
    rehusar + inf. to refuse to
    saber + inf. to know how to
    salir + -ndo to go out (doing something)
    salir a + inf. to go out to
    seguir + -ndo to keep on (doing something)
    sentir + inf. to regret
    soler + inf. to be used to, to usually
    soñar con + inf. to dream of
    tardar en + inf to delay in, take time to
    tener que + inf. to have to
    terminar + -ndo to end up (doing something)
    terminar de + inf. to stop
    terminar por + inf. to end up (by doing something)
    tratar de + inf. to try to
    venir + -ndo to come (doing something)
    venir a + inf. to come to
    volver a + inf. to return to, to (do something) again

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Contact: Fred F. Jehle

Home: http://users.ipfw.edu/jehle/

Indiana University - Purdue University Ft. Wayne
Fort Wayne, IN 46805-1499 USA

URL: http://users.ipfw.edu/jehle/courses/vrbsprep.htm