What is a Verb in English Grammar?
A Verb is a word which describes the action or state of being of the subject in a sentence. It basically indicates what the Subject performs.
In simple words, it can also be defined as, “the action words”. It belongs to one of the 8 Parts of Speech.
For example walk, run, jump, slide, talk, sit, write, speak, listen, watching, eat, etc.
The Verb is also called as, “the heart of the Sentence” because it plays an important role in the sentences.
Now let us understand this topic with more examples.
More examples of Verbs
Note: The Blue coloured words are verbs.
- Why are you talking very slowly? (talking – action)
- I am very happy today. (am – state of being)
- I am not going to school today. (am – state of being, going – action)
- Daily, I wake up at 5 am. (wake – action)
- Today, I am planning to watch a movie in the theatre. (am – state of being, planning – action, watch – action)
- John works very hard every day to reach his goal. (works – action)
- Shaun is a successful businessman. (is – state of being)
- Rahul accepted the job offer. (accepted – action)
- He runs very fast. (runs – action)
- I am living in India from the past two years.
The basic forms of Verbs
There are 6 basic forms of verbs that are used in the sentences those are,
- Basic Form
- Past Tense
- Past Participle
- Present Participle
Basic simple words of the verb are called Basic Verb Forms. The examples of this type of form are given below.
- I read books every day.
- I swim every day.
- Children always run here and there.
Infinitive Form describes the action which is infinity in nature (anytime it can happen). Here, “to” should be added to the basic form word. For example,
“to” + Basic Form Word = Infinitive Form
- He needs to study well to get good marks.
- She needs to think about her career.
- Sita likes to dance alone.
Past tense verbs describe the action which is already done before in the past. Most of the Past Tense words has “-ed” at the end.
basic word + “ed” = Past Tense Word
- I already completed my preparation for tomorrow’s exam.
- I had watched this movie before.
- The boss fired an employee today.
The topic Past Participle is basically similar to Past tense. Here also “-ed” is added at the end like Past tense.
Then you might ask what’s the difference between these two forms?
Both are same interms of adding “-ed” to the end of the word.
But the main difference is Past tense expresses the action of the past and Past Participle is just a form of a word. It cannot be used alone as a verb in the sentence.
Past Participle is not a tense remember that.
had + verb + “-ed” = Past Participle
- Simple Past (Wrong): I eaten an apple. (X)
- Simple Past (Correct): I ate an apple. (_/)
- Past Participle: I had eaten an apple. (_/)
You can observe that Past Participle words like eaten, walked, spoken, etc cannot be used alone (1st sentence).
You need to add “had” before the verb/word (3rd sentence).
Past Tense words can be used alone in the sentence but Past Participle cannot.
The verb form of Past Participle describes the action which is continuing at present. We need to add “-ing” to the end of the words (verbs).
verb + “-ing” = Present Participle Form
- I am writing an article now.
- I am waiting to meet my friend.
- Children are playing football here.
The Verbs which function like a noun is known as Gerunds. Here are few examples of it,
- Meditating every day is good for your body and mind.
- Reading books is a good habit.
- Dancing is my hobby.
We can observe that the words act like noun in the above sentences.
Now let us understand the different types of verbs.
Different types of Verbs
There are basically 6 types of Verbs in the English Language. Those are,
- Finite Verbs
- Non – finite Verbs
- Action Verbs
- Linking Verbs
- Auxiliary Verbs
- Modal Verbs
Finite Verbs are those verbs which describe the action of Subject in the sentences. These words are actual words (which is also called as the root of the sentences).
These verbs uses any one of the tenses (depending on the condition of the Subject) in the sentences.
- Tina went to the hospital for her checkup.
- Arvind watches movies every day.
- She is playing tennis.
Remember that these verbs changes according to the Subject. If the Subject performed some action before, then the verb changes it’s tense to the past.
So, verbs change if the Subject performs an action in the past, present or future (according to the tense).
Non – finite Verbs
Non – finite verbs doesn’t function as verb in the sentence, but it works like nouns, adjectives, adverbs, etc.
These are not actual verbs and doesn’t have a direct relationship with Subject.
Sometimes these verbs can also function as Subject.
So the basic forms which comes under Non – finite verbs are Gerund, infinitive and participle.
- Ram went to a shop to buy groceries. (Infinitive)
- I had already passed this test. (Past Participle)
- Jogging is good for your health. (Gerund)
- We are planning for a Picnic today. (Present Participle)
Action verbs are those verbs which describe the actions of the Subject. These verbs are classified into two types. Those are,
- Transitive Verbs
- Non – Transitive Verbs
Transitive Verbs are used only when the Object is used in the sentence. That means the action should be done on the object.
- I played football. (Object – football)
- Sunil is watching TV. (Object – TV)
- I wrote the exam well. (Object – exam)
Whereas Intransitive verbs don’t need an object in the sentence. That means these verbs can be used without objects.
- I am tired.
- I am having a lot of work.
- She got good marks.
We can observe that the above sentences doesn’t have any objects.
Linking verbs describe the action of the Subject by linking it to its complements (more information). These verbs are also called as “be verbs”.
Here, Subject complements are the predicate’s noun, adjective, etc which adds more information about the Subject.
Few examples of Linking verb are am, is, are, was, where, has been, had been, can be, could be, etc.
Below are the examples of linking verbs and normal words written in between the brackets.
- She looks beautiful. (She is beautiful)
- Sunil has been living in Paris for a long time. (Sunil is living in Paris for a long time)
- We have been waiting here for an hour. (We are waiting here for an hour)
The verbs which help (modifies or describes) the main verbs in the sentences are known as Auxiliary Verbs. It is also called as “helping verbs”.
These verbs describe the action with reference to the time (whether the action happened in the past, present or future).
- He had a better career option.
- They did an amazing job.
- Suraj is going to his village next week.
Modal verbs are those verbs which indicates indicate possibility, potentiality, ability, permission, expectation, and obligation.
These verbs are a part of Auxiliary Verbs. Few examples are can, could, should, must, may, will, etc.
The main difference between Auxiliary and Model verbs are,
- Auxiliary verbs are used to indicate tense, mood, etc.
- Models verbs are used to indicate possibility, etc.
Even thought they may look similar but their usage is different.
Now, let us understand Modal verbs with below examples.
- May I come inside?
- Can you elaborate more on this topic?
- You must follow the traffic rules.
Quiz Time! (Test your knowledge here)
#1. I drink plenty of water. Which form of verb is used for the word "drink"?
#2. Gerund is a type of verb which functions like ___________.
Answer: Gerund functions like a noun.
#3. Which type of verbs are actual verbs?
Answer: Finite Verbs are actual verbs.
#4. You should not take any risk. Identify the type of verb used?
Answer: Modal verb is used in the sentence.
#5. He likes to talk with everyone. Which type of verb form is used? (Hint: to talk)
Answer: Infinitive Form is used. (“to” basic word = IF)
#6. A verb is ______________.
Answer: A verb is an action word.
#7. Auxiliary verbs are also called as ___________.
Answer: Auxiliary verbs are also called as “Helping verbs”.
#8. Transitive verbs are not used for Objects in the sentences. Is it true or false?
Answer: It is false.
#9. Teacher got angry on a student. Identify the verb.
Answer: The word “got” is the verb.
#10. Where you went yesterday night? Identify the verb.
Answer: The word “went” is the verb.
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Summary: (What is a Verb in English Grammar?)
- Verbs indicate the action of the Subject.
- The different forms of verbs are used depending on the condition.
- Without verbs, the sentence is said to be incomplete.
- There are 6 types of basic forms of verbs.
- Some verbs describe the action with the help of tenses.
If you are interested to learn more, then you can refer wikipedia from here.
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