What Are Pro-verb phrases?
Pro-verb phrases are short words or expressions that substitute the verb and everything that comes after.
A pro-verb phrase is a type of pro-form and is, therefore, anaphoric, which means that they refer back to other elements of the sentence.
Pro-verb phrases in English
In English, 'do and 'so' are common pro-verb phrases. 'Do' in the sentence 'Sam went to the toy store and Alec did too,' is a short form of the full verb phrase 'went to the toy store.' Let's take a look at some of the pro-verb phrases in English:
So as Pro-verb Phrase
So + Modals or Auxiliaries
We use 'so' with 'be' and with 'modal verbs' and 'auxiliary verbs' in order to avoid repeating a verb, especially in short responses with pronoun subjects.
When we use 'so' in this way, we invert the verb and subject, and we do not repeat the main verb.
So in Exclamatives
In exclamative responses, we use 'so' as a substitute before the subject and verb be, or subject and modal or auxiliary verb. In this case, we do not need to invert the verb and subjects.
Do as Pro-verb Phrase
We can use 'do' instead of repeating all the words in a verb phrase.
Do So as Pro-verb Phrase
'Do so' is used to refer to actions where the subject and verb are the same as the ones mentioned previously.
Nor, Neither and Either with Do
We can also use 'not … either', 'nor' or 'neither' when we want to avoid repeating a negative sentence. For example:
Do It and Do That as Pro-verb Phrase
We use 'do it' when the subject is different from the one already mentioned and we want to avoid repeating the whole clause.
We use 'Do that' for deliberate actions because it is more emphatic. We often use 'do that' for showing contrast.
Modal Verbs as Pro-verb Phrases
We can use a modal verb to avoid repeating the main verb and what comes after it. Take a look at examples:
We can also use 'a modal verb + do' to substitute for the main verb and what comes after it. But, note that do (so) could simply be omitted, and adding it would make the sentence formal.
The Particle To as Pro-verb Phrase
Since a to-infinitive is just the particle to plus a bare infinitive, and a bare infinitive can be elided, the particle to doubles as a pro-verb for a to-infinitive: