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Non-main verbs differ from main verbs in that they do not denote states of affairs, but express additional (e.g., aspectual) information about the state of affairs denoted by the main verb. This implies that non-main verbs are always accompanied by a main verb. In addition, constructions with non-main verbs are characterized by the fact that the embedded main verb is never finite; its projection functions as the complement of the non-main verb: [... Vnon-main [... V[-finite] …]]. This chapter discusses three types of non-main verbs that differ with respect to the form of the non-finite main verb they select. For example, perfect auxiliaries like hebben'to have' select past participles, semi-aspectual verbs like zitten'to sit' select te-infinitives, and aspectual verbs like gaan'to go' select bare infinitives.

a. Jan heeft dat boek gelezen.
perfect auxiliary
  Jan has  that book  read
  'Jan has read that book.'
b. Jan zit dat boek te lezen.
semi-aspectual verb
  Jan sits  that book  to read
  'Jan is reading that book.'
c. Jan gaat dat boek lezen.
aspectual verb
  Jan goes  that book  read
  'Jan will read that book.'

This chapter is organized as follows. Section 6.1 begins by reviewing a number of characteristic properties of non-main verbs and will further introduce the three subtypes illustrated in (1) above. Sections 6.2 through 6.4 will discuss these three subtypes in more detail.

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