Why is ''To Be'' verbs a thing even if the predicate is a verb?

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I know that in English there can't be a sentence without a predicate. So we use these ''To Be'' verbs to make a valid sentence. But I wonder why we use them even if the predicate is a verb?

What is the real difference between ''They eating'' and ''They are eating''?

Nerdvan

Posted 2018-04-23T11:04:18.530

Reputation: 7

Where have you seen "they eating"? – Lambie – 2018-04-23T13:12:36.687

Answers

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"Are eating" is the present progressive tense (third person plural) of the verb 'eat', and is also the predicate of the sentence. They: subject, are eating: predicate.

http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/tenses/present_progressive.htm

http://www.grammar-monster.com/glossary/predicate.htm

Michael Harvey

Posted 2018-04-23T11:04:18.530

Reputation: 31 750

Thank you for your response. I might to know why just ''eating'' can't be the predicate and need the ''are'' verb. – Nerdvan – 2018-04-23T12:29:51.390

The present present progressive tense is formed by am/is/are and the -ing form of the verb. "They eating" would be nonsense. – Michael Harvey – 2018-04-23T12:31:46.213

Note that they eating is "nonsense", but *them eating* could be a valid noun phrase. Compare I don't like chocolate and *I don't like them eating*, for example. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica – 2018-04-23T12:35:25.247