A verb refers to a word that depicts action or being. Types of verbs include:
Dynamic (Action) Verbs
These portray actions such as walk, run, jog and dance. They are typical verbs and are easy to come across.
- I jog.
- She jogged.
- He will jog.
These verbs comprise transitive and intransitive verbs.
Transitive verbs take an object and respond to whom or what to the verb in a sentence. A transitive verb exists if you can answer what or whom to the verb in a sentence.
Intransitive verbs do not refer to any object especially as they do not answer whom or what in the sentence.
- She picked the pencil on her way out. (Here, “picked” is transitive as it picked whom or what is the question asked, whereas the answer being “pencil“.)
- She drowned in the pool slowly. (Since there is no answer for drowned whom or what, “drowned” is an intransitive verb in this sentence).
Static (State-of-Being Verbs)
These verbs have the form of the verb be – am, is, are, was, were, be, being, been. Other conditions also include: has been, should have been, maybe, and might be.
- She is riding to school.
(“is” is a present tense of be)
- She was sitting on the floor.
(“was” is a past tense form of be)
Some verbs act as both linking or acting verbs; they are also called copulative verbs.
Many can act as dynamic or stative.
become, appear, feel, grow, look, prove, remain, seem, smell, sound, stay and taste.
When used involuntarily for inactive or unintended actions, they are stative. This exists when these verbs appear in the broad sense, a state of being that always occurs.
When they act like action verbs, use this test to identify linking verbs.
Substitute a form of be (am, is, was, and so on), and if the sentence makes sense, you have a linking verb.
- The cake tasted too salty for me. (substitute was with tasted).
The above sentence makes sense, so tasted is a linking verb.
- I tasted the salty cake.
Replace was or is for “tasted”, and your sentence reads like this:
- I was/is the spicy soup.
Lexical Vs Auxiliary Verbs
Main verbs or lexical verbs are open class verbs and show the main action occurring in any sentence. They can stand independently and give complete meaning to a sentence. Also, lexical verbs don’t require the presence of the auxiliary verb, but they can involve auxiliary verbs.
- She plays
- He plays with her son.
- They are playing. (Here, “are” is an auxiliary verb and “playing” is a lexical verb).
Auxiliary verbs, or “helping verbs,” function to join the principal verb to form the verb’s tense, mood, and voices of other verbs. Some examples: be, do, have, can, may and so on. Nevertheless, the auxiliary verb must still be conjugated correctly.
Primary Auxiliary Verbs
The primary auxiliary verbs are be, have, and do.
Be is utilised with other verbs to construct continuous tenses and the passive voice:
- She is cooking a meal.
- The chaps were amazed.
Have is used to complete perfect tenses:
- Her boss had asked to go to the meeting.
In three years, the company will have established its new policies.
Do is used for emphasis:
- He did look exhausted.
to ask questions:
- Do you want some sea?
to compose negative statements or questions:
- I don’t like vegetables.
- Didn’t he know how to play the game?
Modal Auxiliary Verbs
These auxiliary verbs express ability, possibility, permission and obligation. Typical examples are may, might, can, could, shall, should, will, would, ought, must.
- He must be the fastest person in the race.
- I might go to the event.
Phrasal verbs are phrases that function as distinct verbs, frequently combining two or more words, at times with prepositions, to alter their meaning. One critical thing to note is that they work as single verbs, so one can still add other verbs and prepositions. Only the verb part is inflected.
- When the journey ends, children rush out to the toilets.
- After sleeping all night, she is picking up on her assignment.
Finite Vs Non-Finite Verbs
These verbs are actions in a sentence, whether a person, place or thing. The usage of the verb occurs as long as it meets the following criteria in a sentence:
- It has a subject and displays tense.
These verbs do not need the presence of another verb in the sentence to be grammatically correct. Every sentence usually has at least one verb, either present or past tense. Such verbs are called ‘finite’. The imperative verb (a verb that issues an order or command) is also finite.
- Peter cooks lunch every day. [The subject is Peter and the present tense of the verb is cooks.]
- Bryan was happy yesterday. [was is the finite verb in the past tense while Bryan is the subject]
- Cook breakfast, Victor! [Imperative sentence with a finite verb cook.]
Non-finite verbs cannot stand independently. The three types of non-finite verbs are infinitives, gerunds and participles. They link to another verb in the sentence.
Gerunds end in “-ing.” They are nouns sprung from verbs.
- Peter likes frying. (The gerund “frying” combined with the finite verb “likes”).
An infinite verb is a word “to” plus the verb. Also, you can find the infinitive verb after modal verbs.
- I want to walk. (The infinitive “to walk” combined with the finite verb “want”)
- Dan hates to play. (The infinitive “to play” combined with the finite verb “hates”)
Participles function as adjectives. The types of participles consist of:
- Present participles (end with -ing)
- Past participles (end with -d, -ed, -t, -en, -n)
- This calming storm is deceitful. (Present; the finite verb is “is” as the non-finite verb “calming” is acting as an adjective)
- They melted the frozen meat. (Past; the non-finite verb “frozen” functions as an adjective while the finite verb is “melted”)
What is a Verb?