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        What Is a Verb? | Meaning, Usage & Examples

        • calenderOct 25, 2023
        • calender 6 min read

        Do you wish to form sentences and communicate easily using verbs? While talking to our friends, family, strangers, or colleagues, we need verbs to communicate. In this article, we have given a simple explanation of what is a verb. 

        We have also described various categories of verbs and their forms. With this, we have also demonstrated how to use verbs with specific examples. So without delaying further, let’s start with a basic verb definition.  

        What is a verb? 

        A verb is a word that shows the action performed in the sentence. Verbs also describe the condition or the state of being. Several verbs can also be used to show ownership or opinion. Verbs are one of the eight parts of speech that help to show the time the action is happening. Let us see some examples of verbs for more clarity: 

        I ate a sandwich. (Action verb) 

        She became a scientist. (Stative verb) 

        The book belongs to me. (Action verb, ownership) 

        He transformed into a dog. (Stative verb)

        They disagreed with her. (Stative verb, opinion)

        Now that we’ve understood the meaning of a verb, let’s understand various types of verbs in detail. 

        Types of verbs 

        Regular verbs

        If the verb’s past tense form is created by adding ed or d to the verb, it’s considered a regular verb. Several times, extra letter/ letters are added to verbs before adding “ed” or “d” to convert them to their past tense form. For example, the past tense of the verb “cry” is “cried”, and that of the verb “prefer” is “preferred”. Here are some other regular verb examples:

        The girl completed her homework. 

        They laughed at her. 

        She smiled at the stranger. 

        They banned the discriminatory custom. 

        Irregular verbs 

        If a verb’s past tense form is created without adding ed to the words, the verb is known as an irregular verb. For example: 

        He knew my father. 

        Tina sold her car. 

        I went to school. 

        Stative verbs 

        Verbs that describe the condition and state of a person, object, or event are known as stative verbs. For example: 

        Akim doubted the doctor’s word.

        Mia was astonished to hear the news.  

        She realized the truth. 

        Dynamic verbs 

        The verbs that express an action that is visible or can be heard are known as dynamic verbs. For example: 

        Viola walked on the street. 

        We were sweeping the rooms. 

        She rose from her chair. 

        Auxiliary verbs 

        Auxiliary verbs are those verbs that support the main verb in the sentence. They are usually included before the main verb in the sentence. 

        There are two types of auxiliary verbs: primary and modal auxiliary verbs. Primary auxiliary verbs include be, have, do, and their past, present, and future tense forms. Modal auxiliary verbs include can, could, shall, should, may, might, must, will, ought, and must.  Following are some auxiliary verb examples: 

        I had borrowed a guitar. 

        Michel is an expert in cooking. 

        They could leave the house if they wanted. 

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        Phrasal verbs 

        Verbs that are formed by combining a verb with a preposition or an adverb are known as phrasal verbs. Let us see some examples of phrasal verbs: 

        She looked forward to welcoming her niece. 

        He couldn’t get over her betrayal. 

        They told everyone to calm down

        Transitive verbs 

        Transitive verbs are those verbs that directly impact someone or something. They are usually followed by a direct object that receives the action. Let us see some examples of transitive verbs: 

        She took an apple. 

        He wears a watch. 

        They swam in the pool. 

        Intransitive verbs 

        Intransitive verbs are those verbs that are not necessarily followed by a direct object. They show a complete action and can be used without using direct objects. Here are some examples of intransitive verbs: 

        Go fast! 

        Why are you talking now? 

        He went to sleep

        Ditransitive verbs 

        Verbs followed by a direct object and an indirect object are known as di-transitive verbs. For example: 

        He gave me a chocolate. 

        She wished me on my birthday. 

        They tell me to quit my job. 

        Linking verbs 

        Verbs that don’t describe an action and instead give more information about the subject are known as linking verbs. These verbs establish a connection between the subject of the sentence and the object. For example: 

        She felt happy after receiving the gift. 

        Those farmers grow cash crops. 

        I feel glad to meet my parents after a year. 

        Now that we’ve gained clarity about the various verb types, let’s understand verb forms in detail. 

        Verb forms 

        The form of the verb changes, depending on whether the verb is regular or irregular. 

        Following are some of the other factors that affect verb forms: 

        Tense 

        The form of the verb changes, depending on the tense. Tense is a reference to time. Following are the three basic types of tense: 

        Past Tense: (an action that has already happened) 

        Present Tense: (an action that is currently happening) 

        Future Tense: (an action that will happen in the future) 

        All these three tenses have a simple, continuous, perfect, and perfect continuous form. While the simple form is the verb’s most basic form, the continuous form shows an ongoing action. In contrast, the perfect form shows that the action has taken place in the near past, present, or will take place in the near future. Let us see an example of how the verb forms for the regular verb jump will change, depending on the tense. 

        While the verb forms for irregular and regular verbs differ in many ways, they have some common aspects. The main verb for the Simple Present and Simple Future tense remains the same. Also, the suffix “ing” is added to the verbs to express that the action is ongoing.  

        Now that we’ve seen how verb forms can be changed to show time, let’s understand the second factor that affects the verb form. 

        Subject

        The subject of the sentence also plays a role in determining the verb form. Pronouns are frequently used as the subject of the sentence, instead of nouns. Following are the eight basic personal pronouns that affect the verb form. 

        I  ( First Person) 

        You (Second Person) 

        He (Third Person) 

        She (Third Person) 

        It (Third Person) 

        We (First Person) 

        You (Second Person) 

        They (Third Person) 

        The following table illustrates how the verb changes due to the subject of the sentence: 

        There is also a subject-verb agreement rule that every verb follows. This means that the verb and the noun’s quantity must show a similarity. If the noun is singular and shows one aspect, the verb form used must also be singular. However, if the noun form used is plural, the verb form used must also be a plural form. Here are some examples of this rule: 

        There are eight boxes. (“Are” is a verb used to give information about the plural noun “boxes”.) 

        She is my friend. (“Is” is a verb used to show give more information about the singular noun “friend”.)  

        The mood of the sentence 

        The mood of the sentence can be seen by the tone and intent of the communicator. Verbs can be used to express various moods such as questioning, commanding, requesting, stating, or indicating a condition. For example: 

        Did you sleep late at night? (Question) 

        Come here!  (Command) 

        Could you please open the door? (Request) 

        The earth revolves around the sun. (Fact) 

        If you listen to me, I’ll accept your terms. (Condition) 

        Active or passive voice 

        When the subject is shown to be forming an action, the sentence is in an active voice. In contrast, if the verb affects the subject and is the main focus of the sentence, the sentence is in passive voice. The preposition “by” followed by a pronoun indicates passive voice. Here are some examples for clarity: 

        I sold a car. (Active voice) 

        A car was sold by me. (Passive voice) 

        He opened a window. (Active voice) 

        A window was opened by him. (Passive voice) 

        The above examples clearly illustrate how verb forms change due to the subject, mood, voice, and tense of the sentence. However, besides these aspects, gerunds and infinitives are two verb forms commonly used. Let’s understand these verb forms in detail. 

        Gerunds 

        When the suffix “ing” is added to a verb and it functions as a noun, it is known as a gerund. A simple trick to identify a gerund is to ask a question beginning with ‘What’ about the subject.  For example: 

        Swimming is a great hobby. (What is a great hobby? Answer- swimming) 

        Designing was my passion. (What was my passion? Answer- designing)

        Infinitives 

        When the preposition “to” is added to the root form of the verb, it is called an infinitive. For example: 

        I wanted to go to the movie. 

        He was not in a mood to sleep

        Now that you’ve learned so much about verbs, you can use this information to express yourself better. You may also have various other doubts related to grammar. If your grammar and editing aren’t strong enough, you can consider choosing our professional editing service

        To help you communicate with clarity, we’ve created useful resources for you. Go through these resources and further enhance your communication skills! 

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        Priya Linkedin

        Priya has a talent for academic research and enjoys simplifying complex topics. When she's not helping students improve their writing, she can be seen reading poetry, playing the harmonium, or learning classical dance.

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