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Compound predicate

Compound predicate is a great structure of two verbs which in combination convey more complicated meaning that if they would be separately. Moreover, if we deal with a compound predicate, we can't divide it into parts because its meaning will be changed. Every verb fulfills its own function and complies with certain rules in the frame of a compound predicate. The lexical meaning is expressed with a main verb (indefinite form - infinitive), the grammatical one - with auxiliary one (we can decline this verb). Here is the example of declension of a compound predicate.

Он начал (что делать?) танцевать - He started (doing what?) dancing.
Он мечтал (что делать?) танцевать - He wanted to (do what?) dance.
Он боялся (что делать?) танцевать - He was afraid of (doing what?) dancing.

The point of a compound predicate is that you cannot use the half of it not losing the meaning. Besides, the action of a verb in infinitive form is always directed to a subject - this is one of conditions of forming a compound predicate. If infinitive is referred to another part of speech, you cannot say that infinitive is a part of a compound predicate.

The main meanings of auxiliary part of a compound predicate are the phase (beginning, continuation, ending) and modality (necessity, ability, evaluation).

Phase
Он бросил курить - He quitted smoking.
Она начала готовиться к экзамену - She started studying for an examination.
Мы продолжали работать над докладом - We kept working on our research.

Modality
Они могут бегать марафоны - They can run marathons.
Она умеет играть на рояле - She can play piano.
Он любит летать на самолете - He likes flying.
Я хочу участвовать в конкурсе - I want to participate in a contest.
Сестра ненавидит готовить - My sister hates cooking.
Дети привыкли жить самостоятельно - Children are get accustomed to live on their own.

Pay attention how the auxiliary parts are changed in these examples.

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