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I'm embarrassed to admit that I'm struggling to explain to my 6 year old son why one of his answers was marked wrong in a recent test.

The test asked them to underline the verb in each sentence. For this example:

"Peter loves eating cookies."

My son underlined "eating", but the teacher corrected this to "loves".

Help!

Original Post

Hello, DME, and welcome to the Grammar Exchange.

Both loves and eating are verbs, but while the former is tensed (i.e. a finite verb), the latter is not (it is a non-finite, more specifically a gerund).

What the teacher expects your son to do is identify the verb that works with the subject. You can tell him that while it is grammatically possible to say Peter loves, you cannot say Peter loving.

What the teacher expects your son to do is identify the verb that works with the subject.

Hello, DME, and welcome to the Grammar Exchange.

I agree with Gustavo's answer. Your son was right that "eating" is a verb. It even has a direct object: "cookies." Only verbs have direct objects.

Furthermore, "eating (cookies)" could also be modified by an adverb: "Peter loves eating cookies slowly."

It would be helpful if the test that your son's teacher gave your son asked students to find the main verb of the sentences in question.

There can be many verbs in a sentence. The following short sentence has 5 verbs: "Being asked to dance made Peter jump for joy." (Main verb: "made")

Last edited by David, Moderator

Hello, DME, and welcome to the Grammar Exchange.

Both loves and eating are verbs, but while the former is tensed (i.e. a finite verb), the latter is not (it is a non-finite, more specifically a gerund).

What the teacher expects your son to do is identify the verb that works with the subject. You can tell him that while it is grammatically possible to say Peter loves, you cannot say Peter loving.

Thank you Gustavo. The explanation of "tensed" will be helpful for him, as they recently learned past/present tense.

Hello, DME, and welcome to the Grammar Exchange.

I agree with Gustavo's answer. Your son was right that "eating" is a verb. It even has a direct object: "cookies." Only verbs have direct objects.

Furthermore, "eating (cookies)" could also be modified by an adverb: "Peter loves eating cookies slowly."

It would be helpful if the test that your son's teacher gave your son asked students to find the main verb of the sentences in question.

There can be many verbs in a sentence. The following short sentence has 5 verbs: "Being asked to dance made Peter jump for joy." (Main verb: "made")

Thank you David. Yes, I do believe the question could have been written a little better!

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