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The Compound Verb

Recognize a compound verb when you see one.

Every subject in a sentence must have at least one verb. But that doesn't mean that a subject can have only one verb. Some subjects are greedy as far as verbs go. A greedy subject can have two, three, four, or more verbs all to itself. When a subject has two or more verbs, you can say that the subject has a compound verb. Check out the following examples:

Before mixing the ingredients for his world-famous cookies, Bobby swatted a fly buzzing around the kitchen.

Bobby = subject; swatted = verb.

Before mixing the ingredients for his world-famous cookies, Bobby swatted a fly buzzing around the kitchen and crushed a cockroach scurrying across the floor.

Bobby = subject; swatted, crushed = compound verb.

Before mixing the ingredients for his world-famous cookies, Bobby swatted a fly buzzing around the kitchen, crushed a cockroach scurrying across the floor, shooed the cat off the counter, picked his nose, scratched his armpit, licked his fingers, and sneezed.

Bobby = subject; swatted, crushed, shooed, picked, scratched, licked, sneezed = compound verb.

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