that she should <behave /be behaving /have behaved> [infinitive question]

Antja

Member
Russian
Hello,

is there any difference between the two sentences?

It's strange that she should be behaving like that.

It's strange that she should behave like that.

One sentence more:

It's strange that she should have behaved like that.
 
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  • Antja

    Member
    Russian
    These sentences are all made up. I didn't take them from any book so there's no additional context I can provide. Here is how I understand the sentences.
    In 1) the action is in progress i.e. she is behaving strange now. Sentence 2) is a general statement about her behaviour. The last sentence suggest that the action happened in the past.

    What do you think?
     

    Beryl from Northallerton

    Senior Member
    British English
    These sentences are all made up. I didn't take them from any book so there's no additional context I can provide. Here is how I understand the sentences.
    In 1) the action is in progress i.e. she is behaving strange now. Sentence 2) is a general statement about her behaviour. The last sentence suggest that the action happened in the past.

    What do you think?
    I think that shows that you have a pretty good understanding of these tenses!
     

    Antja

    Member
    Russian
    I beg to differ. "Behave", "be behaving", and "have behaved" can be classified as bare infinitives (ones without to).
     

    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    If they were used as infinitives, they could be classified as bare infinitives, but in these sentences each of them is used as part of the main verb. They can only do one job at a time.
     

    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    Well it seems to me that only makes sense once you take the verb apart into its components, so that it no longer functions as part of a sentence.
     

    Antja

    Member
    Russian
    I find it quite useful to analyse sentences such as I want to do it in the same way as I should do it.
     

    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    I see a difference between the sentences posted above on the one hand and the following ones on the other:
    'To be or not to be: that is the question'. (Shakespeare)
    'The Americans were in a 'fish or cut bait' mood'. (Churchill)
     

    Antja

    Member
    Russian
    I can see the difference too but this does not mean that "be doing" in "should be doing" cannot be conseidered a bare infinitive. Most grammar books see it that way.
     

    lucas-sp

    Senior Member
    English - Californian
    Yeah, I'm a bit surprised here. I learned that modal verbs take infinitives - sometimes full ones (You dare to question me?), sometimes bare ones (Could you turn up the heat?).

    What's the alternative? Arguing that the full verb is "should behave" as a conjugation of the verb "behave"? That's patently absurd.

    Antja, I think your analysis is totally correct. And if it's working for you, all the better! Keep it up.
     
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