A verb, from the Latin verbum meaning word, is a word (part of speech) that in syntax conveys an action (bring, read, walk, run, learn), or a state of being (be, exist, stand). In the usual description of English, the basic form, with or without the particle to, is the infinitive. In many languages, verbs are inflected (modified in form) to encode tense, aspect, mood and voice. A verb may also agree with the person, gender, and/or number of some of its arguments, such as its subject, or object.
- (Abbr.V or vb.)
- The part of speech that expresses existence, action, or occurrence in most languages.
- Any of the words belonging to this part of speech, as be, run, or conceive.
- A phrase or other construction used as a verb.
Verbs describe (i) an action, (ii) a state or (iii) an occurrence:-
- As an action word, it is something that you do, like walk or play or eat.
- As a state of being: “My name is John. I am 20 years old. I am Caucasian and my girlfriend looks gorgeous! And she has a heart of gold!”
- As an occurrence/happening: “The snow glistened on the trees tops.”
1. ACTION VERBS are something that someone or something is doing, such as run, talk, play, go, cook, speak, etc.
For example, in the phrase: “He is running”, the two words ‘is running‘ is the present continuous form of the verb ‘to run’.
Here are a few more examples:
- They slept late that day.
- It slid off the shelf.
- Safa played with her toys.
- She screamed as loudly as she could.
2. ‘STATE’ VERBS
- Ice is cold. Puppies need a lot of care and attention. Bananas are yellow. Some people prefer winter to summer. Does life exist on other planets? Do you know what I mean?
3. ‘OCCURRENCE’ VERBS
- The centenary of Florence Nightingale’s death fell on Monday 10th May, 2010.
- William becomes six on Tuesday.
- A completely happy day? It happens, sometimes!
REGULAR AND IRREGULAR VERBS
With regular verbs, the past and perfect forms end with ‘~ed’, e.g. talk/talked.
Irregular verbs do not end their past and perfect forms with ‘~ed’. They change quite differently e.g. speak/spoke/spoken, sing/sang/sung.
AUXILIARY VERBS are words that “help” the verb. e.g.
- In the sentence “I will run”, ‘will’ is the helping verb, making it into a future form of the verb to run.
- In the sentence “I have run”, ‘have’ is the helping verb, changing the main verb ‘run‘ into it’s present perfect form.
The verbs to be, to have and to do are used as auxiliary verbs. Their present, past, singular and plural forms all being used as appropriate.
MODAL AUXILIARY VERBS: can, could, may, might, would, shall, should, must, ought to.
- I must visit my grandmother.
- You ought to do more exercise.
- Ben can ride a bike.
- My Uncle might come on Sunday.
- I could help you with your homework, but I don’t know if I should (help you with your homework.)
Note that Modal Auxiliary Verbs have no infinitives.