Verbs of Action vs. Auxiliary Verbs

Verbs are a crucial component of every sentence. You cannot communicate a complete thought without verbs. However, did you know there are different types of verbs in the English language?

Today, we are going to take a look at verbs in general, make a comparison between action verbs vs. auxiliary verbs. If all of this sounds exciting to you, keep reading until the end!

What Are Verbs?

red apple fruit on top of four books next to colored pencils.
Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

There are four basic categories of words in the English language: nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs. Nouns refer to a person, place, or thing in a sentence.

Verbs explain what the sentence’s noun is doing. Adjectives and adverbs modify nouns and verbs.

Both the subject and the predicate are fundamental components of every sentence. The issue is the sentence’s main idea and is where nouns belong.

Verbs belong here because the predicate describes what the subject is doing. The subject (nouns) and predicate (verbs) are always placed first and second in a basic sentence structure.

The verb can occasionally come before the noun if the order is reversed. For instance, the verb might go first when the sentence is a question.

There are three types of verbs: action, linking, and auxiliary (also known as helping verbs), as there are various word types.

Action films have a lot of action (duh), including cars racing each other, action figures leaping off buildings, and objects exploding. In other words, you want lots of verbs that are exciting.

What then is a verb? That should be simple, right? A verb is a phrase that explains an event or an action.

This is indeed its essence, but it gets a little more complicated. You’ll need to be familiar with some additional definitions and rules as you strive to reach your ultimate objective of becoming a verb master. There are several different kinds of verbs and some considerations for each type.

What Are Action and Auxiliary Verbs

Every sentence has two main components. The subject comes first.

Typically, this is a noun or pronoun. The second type of word is an action or a state of being.

This term refers to subject-specific information.

When an action verb is used to describe the subject, the reader or listener is aware of the action that the subject performs. It’s crucial to understand action verbs because they represent a wide range of activities, mental and physical.

You can effectively describe a subject’s actions to listeners by using more action verbs in conversation. A list of action verbs is helpful for this as well.

Consider developing one as you go.

Examples of action verbs include “walk,” “skip,” and “jog.” Even though the actions are essentially the same (the words all refer to motion), each conjures up a distinctive image in your mind.

Auxiliary verbs, are the components of a verb phrase that support the main verb. A helping verb can indicate when an action occurs or whether it is necessary as part of a verb phrase.

Action Verbs vs. Auxiliary Verbs

Now that we know the general definition of these verbs, let’s look how they differ between one another. We also call action verbs as main verbs, because they are mainly the verbs we use. 

Let’s look at some examples.

  • Mary swam in the river.
  • I run 3 miles every morning.

Action verbs can be used by themselves without any other verbs. The same is not true for auxiliary verbs, when they are used as auxiliary verbs. Yes, the three most common auxiliary verbs — do, be, have — can be used as action verbs. Again, check out some examples below using auxiliary verbs.

  • I have a red shirt — in this case we use have as an action verb.
  • I haven’t got a present for my mother yet.
  • You should have been more prepared to face me.
  • She didn’t turn in her assignment today.


Verbs are the backbone of every sentence, that’s why understanding each type of verb is essential. Without mastering the verbs, you won’t be able to use to use the English language effectively.

I you enjoyed our comparison piece on action verbs vs. auxiliary verbs, consider sharing it with your friends!

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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