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Unread Nov 18th, 2008, 05:13 pm
susan53 susan53 is offline
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Default Re: Two base verbs after a modal

I think you're a bit confused here .. take it step by step .

a) first of all the final verb phrase is to shed light on, meaning to throw light on. So shed here is the infinitive or base form - which is by chance unchangeable in the past (2nd form) and past participle (3rd form) - shed, shed, shed - similar to put, put, put

b) then you have the verb to help which can be followed by two constructions : 1) the infinitive with to : It helps to shed light on ... or 2) the bare infinitive : it helps shed light on ...

c) and then you have may, which must be followed by the infinitive - in this case help : it may help ..

so : put it all together and you have ...

may + infinitive (ie help)
help + infinitive (ie shed)
may help shed

Compare it with other examples :

This helps to clarify the problem or This helps clarify the problem becomes This may help to clarify the problem or This may help clarify the problem (I hope!)

The form clarify has nothing to do with may - it's dependent on help - and certainly isn't a third form (ie past participle). It's the infinitive.

I hope that helps to shed light on the structure
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