Verb: Definition & Types

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Verb: Definition & Types

A verb is a word or a combination of words that indicates action or a state of being or condition. A verb is the part of a sentence that tells us what the subject performs. Verbs are the hearts of English sentences.

Examples:

  • Jacob walks in the morning. (A usual action)
  • Mike is going to school. (A condition of action)
  • Albert does not like to walk. (A negative action)
  • Anna is a good girl. (A state of being)

Verbs are related to a lot of other factors like the subject, person, number, tense, mood, voice, etc.

Basic Forms of Verbs

There are six basic forms of verbs. These forms are as follows:

  • Base form: Children play in the field.
  • Infinitive: Tell them not to play
  • Past tense: They played football yesterday.
  • Past participle: I have eaten a burger.
  • Present participle: I saw them playing with him today.
  • Gerund: Swimming is the best exercise.

  

Different Types of Verbs

Finite Verbs:

Finite verbs are the actual verbs which are called the roots of sentences. It is a form of a verb that is performed by or refers to a subject and uses one of the twelve forms of tense and changes according to the number/person of the subject.

Example:

  • Alex went to school. (Subject – Alex – performed the action in the past. This information is evident only by the verb ‘went’.)
  • Robert plays
  • He is playing for Australia.
  • He is one of the best players. (Here, the verb ‘is’ directly refers to the subject itself.)

Non-finite Verbs:

Non-finite Verbs are not actual verbs. They do not work as verbs in the sentence rather they work as nouns, adjectives, adverbs, etc. Non-finite verbs do not change according to the number/person of the subject because these verbs, also called verbals, do not have any direct relation to the subject. Sometimes they become the subject themselves.

The forms of non-finite verbs are – infinitive, gerund, and participle (participles become finite verbs when they take auxiliary verbs.)

Example:

  • Alex went abroad to play (Infinitives)
  • Playing cricket is his only job. (Present participle)
  • I have a broken (Past participle)
  • Walking is a good habit. (Gerund)

Action Verbs:

Action verbs indicate what the subject of a sentence performs. Action verbs can make the listener/reader feel emotions, see scenes more vividly and accurately.

Action verbs can be transitive or intransitive.

Transitive verbs must have a direct object. A transitive verb demands something/someone to be acted upon.

Example:

  • I painted the car. (The verb ‘paint’ demands an object to be painted)
  • She is reading the newspaper. (The verb ‘read’ asks the question “what is she reading?” – the answer is the object)

Intransitive verbs do not act upon anything. They may be followed by an adjective, adverb, preposition, or another part of speech.

Example:

  • She smiled. (The verb ‘smile’ cannot have any object since the action of ‘smiling’ does not fall upon anything/anyone)
  • I wake up at 6 AM. (No object is needed for this verb)

Note: {Subject + Intransitive verb} is sufficient to make a complete sentence but {Subject + Transitive verb} is not sufficient because transitive verbs demand a direct object.

Linking Verb:

A linking verb adds details about the subject of a sentence. In its simplest form, it connects the subject and the complement — that is, the words that follow the linking verb. It creates a link between them instead of showing action.

Often, what is on each side of a linking verb is equivalent; the complement redefines or restates the subject.

Generally, linking verbs are called ‘be’ verbs which are - am, is, are, was, were. However, there are some other verbs which can work as linking verbs. Those verbs are:

Act, feel, remain, appear, become, seem, smell, sound, grow, look, prove, stay, taste, turn.

Some verbs in this list can also be action verbs. To figure out if they are linking verbs, you should try replacing them with forms of the be verbs. If the changed sentence makes sense, that verb is a linking verb.

Example:

  • She appears ready for the game. (She is ready for the game.)
  • The food seemed (The food was delicious.)
  • You look (You are happy.)

Auxiliary Verbs:

Auxiliary verbs are also called helping verbs. An auxiliary verb extends the main verb by helping to show time, tense, and possibility. The auxiliary verbs are – be verbs, have, and do.

They are used in the continuous (progressive) and perfect tenses.

Linking verbs work as main verbs in the sentence, but auxiliary verbs help main verbs.

Do is an auxiliary verb that is used to ask questions, to express negation, to provide emphasis, and more.

Example:

  • Alex is going to school.
  • They are walking in the park.
  • I have seen a movie.
  • Do you drink tea?
  • Don’t waste your time.
  • Please, do submit your assignments.

A modal verb is a kind of an auxiliary verb. It assists the main verb to indicate possibility, potentiality, ability, permission, expectation, and obligation.

The modal verbs are can, could, must, may, might, ought to, shall, should, will, would.

 Example:

  • I may want to talk to you again.
  • They must play their best game to win.
  • She should call him.
  • I will go there.
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