Lesson 2 – Verbs

Lesson 2 – Verbs

Lesson 2 – Verbs

Lesson 2 - Verbs

Subsections in this lesson are:

  1. Principal parts of a verb
  2. Auxiliary Verbs
  3. Transitive and Intransitive Verbs
  4. Regular and Irregular Verbs
  5. Linking Verbs
  6. Finite Verb and Nonfinite Verb
  7. Other types of verbs
  8. Stative/state verbs
  9. Moods of the verb
  10. Conjugation of verb

A verb is a word or more than one word (verb phrase) that is used to express an action or a state of being of the subject. The verb is an essential element in the construction of a sentence as almost every sentence has a verb. Without a verb, a sentence is left incomplete.

Most sentences consist of a noun as the subject and a predicate. The predicate typically includes one or more verbs. The verb follows the subject, to which it must match in number, even if there are words intervening between them (see Lesson 8 – Subject-Verb Agreement). The verb in turn is followed by an object or a complement.

A verb takes the infinitive form which includes the word to (to paint, to walk) or a conjugated regular form (paint/paints, walk/walked) that is used in accordance with a grammatical classification such as person, tense or voice. The conjugated irregular verb form introduces a change in its spelling (go/went/gone), or a change in its ending (hide/hid/hidden). Such modification of a verb to express a different grammatical category is also called inflection.

A verb that is used in a sentence is usually an action verb or a linking verb. An action verb describes the physical or mental action of the subject. A linking verb links the subject to the rest of the sentence that provides information about the subject.

A verb can be just a word.

Examples:

  • She greets me.
  • They left early.

A verb can be more than one word.

Examples:

  • He is washing his car..
  • You have broken my window..
  • An action verb takes an object.

Examples:

  • Lee drives a car. (Subject: Lee / Object: car)
  • Someone has eaten my pizza. (Subject: someone / Object: pizza)
  • A verb may not have an object.

Examples:

  • The sun shines.
  • It is raining..

A verb connects the subject to a complement. The complement or subject complement can be a noun or an adjective.

Examples:

  • They are my brothers. (Subject: they / Complement: brothers)
  • She is beautiful. (Subject: she / Complement: beautiful)
  • Position of verbs

A verb usually follows the subject.

Examples:

  • She smiles.
  • The clown rides on a circus horse.

A word (intervening word) may come between the subject and the verb. It doesn’t affect anything. The usual grammatical rules still apply: the subject and verb must agree with one another in number (singular or plural).  If a subject is singular, its verb must also be singular; if a subject is plural, its verb must also be plural. The intervening words are in bold in these examples.

Examples:

  • I accidentally knocked my head on the bookshelf.
  • She never talks about God.

A word may come between the verbs that make up a verb phrase. The verb phrase is in bold as shown here.

Examples:

  • She had recently come out of a prison.
  • Her cottage was partially hidden behind some trees.
  • A verb may come before the subject.
  • If the word here or there begins a sentence, a verb will come before the subject.

Examples:

  • Here comes the king.
  • (The subject king comes after the verb comes.)
  • There was an eagle perched on his right shoulder.
  • (The subject eagle comes after the verb was.)
  • If a sentence begins with a phrase (underlined), the subject typically follows the verb.

Examples:

  • Across the mountain and through the narrow valley was a dried-up stream.
  • (The subject stream comes after the verb was.)
  • Waving to passing trains is his hobby.
  • (The subject eagle comes after the verb was.)

Sometimes a sentence can be reversed without affecting its meaning if the subject and its object are the same.

Examples:

  • That monkey was the one that snatched her bag.
  • The one that snatched her bag was that monkey.
  • My uncle is the village’s only professional wrestler.
  • The village’s only professional wrestler is my uncle.
  • In most questions, the verb comes before the subject.

Examples:

  • Is she ready to go?
  • (The subject she comes after the auxiliary verb is.)
  • Do you want to come along?
  • (The subject you comes after the helping verb do.)