Verbs are the heartbeat of a language. They make sentences alive. Without verbs, sentences would be like empty picture frames. Every sentence needs a verb to make sense and tell a complete story.
What is a verb?
A verb is a word that describes an action, experience, or state of being. It tells us what someone or something is doing, has done, or will do. We cannot have a sentence without a verb. The shortest sentence contains a verb, for example: "Help!"
Types of Verbs
There are different types of verbs that help us understand how actions happen. Let's explore these types of verbs to learn more about them.
Action verbs (also known as dynamic verbs) are like the engines that drive sentences. They describe actions, activities, or occurrences that people, animals, or things perform. From single physical movements like "run" and "jump" to mental processes like "think" and "imagine", action verbs cover a wide range of actions.
- She runs in the park every morning.
- The mechanic fixes the car's engine.
- Geese fly south in the spring.
Stative verbs (also known as state verbs) describe a state or condition rather than an action. They express how things are, feel, appear, or exist. One thing to remember is that stative verbs aren't usually used in continuous tenses. Continuous tenses emphasize ongoing actions.
- She loves chocolate ice cream.
- We have a lot of work to do.
- They believe in fairy tales.
A transitive verb is a verb that requires a direct object to complete its meaning in a sentence. A direct object is a noun, pronoun, or noun phrase that receives the action of the verb. Remember that every transitive verb needs a direct object to make sense. Without a direct object, the sentence might feel incomplete. To identify a transitive verb, ask yourself who or what is receiving the action. If you can find a direct object, you've found a transitive verb.
- She baked a delicious cake for the party.
- I bought fresh flowers for the vase.
- We watched the game together.
It's important to note that not all verbs are transitive. Some verbs, called intransitive verbs, do not require a direct object to make sense. Intransitive verbs are like independent adventurers – they can stand alone without needing someone or something to receive their action.
- The baby is sleeping in my room.
- He voted in the local election.
- She cried during the sad film.
Linking verbs (also known as copulas or copular verbs) are used to describe the state of being of the subject of a sentence. They act like bridges between the subject and additional information that tells us more about the subject. To check if a verb is linking, replace it with "am", "is", or "are" and see if the sentence still makes sense.
- She is very tired after a long day at work.
- The cake tastes delicious.
- The ocean looks calm and peaceful.
Helping verbs, also known as auxiliary verbs, work alongside main verbs to help form different tenses, moods, voices, or more. They "assist" the main verb to change the meaning of a sentence.
- She is singing a beautiful song.
- They have completed their homework.
- He will arrive at the airport in the morning.
Modal verbs are a specific type of helping verbs. They work hand in hand with the main verb in a sentence to express different attitudes like possibility, necessity, ability, permission, and more. For example, "I can swim" indicates an ability to swim, while "I must swim" suggests a sense of necessity or obligation to swim.
- She can speak three languages fluently.
- I should study for the upcoming exam.
- She may be a bit late for the party.
All English verbs are either regular or irregular. A verb is considered regular when it follows a simple pattern to change its form when talking about the past. This pattern is usually adding "-d" or "-ed" to the verb's base form to conjugate both the past simple tense and past participle forms. Most verbs in English are regular verbs.
- He played football with his friends yesterday.
- They listened to their favourite songs on the radio.
- We have visited our grandparents many times.
Irregular verbs are like the rule-breakers in the verb family. Unlike regular verbs, they don't follow the usual "add -ed" rule to make past tense forms. Instead, they have their unique forms for the past tense, and you need to learn them individually because there's no consistent pattern.
- He ate a delicious sandwich for lunch.
- We saw a shooting star last night.
- She has broken her phone twice this year.
A phrasal verb is a special combination of words that consists of a verb with an adverb or preposition after it. When these words come together, they create a new meaning that may be different from the individual meanings of the words.
- Please turn on the light; it's dark in here.
- The car broke down on the way to the beach.
- The plane is going to take off in a few minutes.