The use of verbs in English grammar is one of the essential parts of the language. They can make a sentence come alive and make it easy for people to understand. To learn grammar rules, we first need to know what verbs are and how they work.

You’ve surely used plenty of verbs in your sentences without you even being aware of it. In the photo above, you can say that the man is running. From that sentence alone, we’ve already used a verb!

In this article, we’ll take a more in-depth look at verbs. We’ll discuss how they’re used, what they mean, and the rules of grammar that govern their use. We’ve also listed example sentences using verbs that you refer to in your next writing exercises.

What is a Verb?

The definition of a verb is very straightforward. It is basically an action word. It describes what a subject in the sentence is doing. A verb can describe an action done in the past, present, or future.

There are many forms that a verb can take. Verbs can be transitive or intransitive. Additionally, there are also verbs denoting person, place, and number. We’ll discuss all these and more in the next sections.

New York street during daytime
New York street during daytime

Types of Verbs with Examples

Action Verbs

As its name implies, action verbs are verbs that describe the action or state of the subject. These are also known as dynamic verbs.

  • She was swimming in the pool.
  • I saw him walking in the park.
  • Let’s dance all night.
  • They sang beautifully.

Stative Verbs

Stative verbs describe the state of something in terms of its qualities or characteristics. It doesn’t require a change in the subject. They can either describe states of being or location.

  • The committee considered my proposal.
  • think I might want to start a blog.
  • She has a new job now.

Helping Verbs

Also known as auxiliary verbs, helping verbs can add more information to the sentence. The three main auxiliary verbs are: behave, and do. These verbs help convey a purpose or tense changes in your sentences.

  • Did you see me yesterday?
  • I have eaten caviar many times before.
  • That piece of cake was eaten by me.

Modal auxiliary verbs

An auxiliary verb can be added to another verb to demonstrate necessity, possibility, or capability. Modal auxiliary verbs are not main verbs, but they change their meaning slightly. Common examples are: couldshouldmaymustoughtand might.

  • might walk to school today.
  • You should consider the proposal.
  • We should have gotten there earlier.

Main Verb Categories

Transitive Verbs

transitive verb is a verb that requires an object to take action. The object can be a noun, phrase, or pronoun.

  • admire your hard work.
  • He loves the smell of books.
  • I couldn’t face my friends after my mistake.

Intransitive Verbs

Unlike transitive verbs, intransitive verbs don’t require an object to complete its meaning.

  • We went to many different places together.
  • Don’t just sit there quietly.
  • was lying on the bed all day.

Linking Verbs

Linking verbs act as connectors in sentences. They connect the main verbs with other parts of a sentence, like adjectives or adverbs. This helps the reader or listener focus on the information the main verb conveys.

  • She is excellent at dancing.
  • You always smell like fresh flowers.
  • Garfield is a cat.

Proper Use of Verbs in English

1. Using verbs means correctly choosing their correct form. The verb should match the subject of the sentence. It is the subject of the sentence that determines the form of the verb.

She swims very fast.

2. Students often combine the past participle form of the verb with the simple past tense. Participle forms of the verb may look like action words, but they act like adverbs. It describes the action. It needs to be combined with a form of is or has.

I saw my family over the weekend.

3. Using verbs properly also means choosing the correct tense. The tense of the verb should indicate the time of the action. It can be in the past, present, or future. Stick to whatever tense you use in your writing.

My mom asked me if I could watch my sister. She then left the door open and rode the car.

To Wrap Up

The English language would be incomplete without verbs. They are often used for daily speaking and interactions but can also be used for creative writing.

The use of verbs in English requires understanding how to use them correctly so as not to confuse your readers or audience. Hopefully, this article has helped clear things up for you!

Abir is a data analyst and researcher. Among her interests are artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing. As a humanitarian and educator, she actively supports women in tech and promotes diversity.

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