I never knew this watch (to) stop.

sitifan

Senior Member
Hokkien & Mandarin Chinese
I never knew this watch (to) stop.
(Ho's Complete English Grammar, Book 5, page 21)

Is the quoted sentence acceptable to native speakers?
 
  • Florentia52

    Modwoman in the attic
    English - United States
    Are you including "to"in the sentence, or not? It is not correct with "to" in parentheses. In what situation would you use the sentence?
     

    sitifan

    Senior Member
    Hokkien & Mandarin Chinese
    Are you including "to"in the sentence, or not? It is not correct with "to" in parentheses. In what situation would you use the sentence?
    The author, Ho Limin, says that "to" is optional. There is no context. The quoted sentence is used as an example of the structure below:
    S + know something (to) V ...
     
    Last edited:

    sitifan

    Senior Member
    Hokkien & Mandarin Chinese
    We've known him to work all night to meet a deadline.
    He's been known to work all night to meet a deadline.
    (quoted from Merriam-Webster's Advanced Learner's English Dictionary)
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    It’s a bad example of that construction. The to can be omitted in some cases, but not all. I agree that the OP example sounds infinitely better with it. To me, it would sound better still in the present perfect:

    I’ve never known this watch to stop before (except when it needed a new battery!). :thumbsup:

    I think also it maybe makes a difference whether you’re using a noun phrase or a pronoun:

    Our cat has been known to wander much further than that in the past. :tick:
    We’ve known our cat to wander much further than that in the past. :tick:
    but:​
    We’ve known him wander much further than that in the past. :tick:
     
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