The definition of a verb is a word showing an action, a state of being, or express a time.
Verbs are sometimes called the ‘doing’ words, and they are also known as the ‘working’ words.
When you use a verb, you also set the tense with the action.
- I walk. (Present tense)
- I walked. (Past tense)
- I will walk (Future tense)
All verbs help to make a statement of some sort. Some will express an action and the action expressed may be physical. Examples of this type of verb are hit, move, and run.
The action could be mental, as shown in these examples: think, know, imagine, or believe.
Verbs have several types. There are transitive and intransitive types.
These types of verbs may or may not take an object – defined as a noun or pronoun that completes the action by showing who or what is affected by the action. A verb that takes an object is called transitive, and are shown by the following examples.
- The goalie missed the puck. (Puck is the object of missed.)
- Sally trusted Mark. (Mark is the object of trusted.)
- The waitress dropped the dishes. (Dishes is the object of dropped.)
(We will talk more about objects in a sentence as we explore further.)
There are certain verbs that are transitive only such as ignore and complete, while some verbs are intransitive only such as arrive or sleep, but most verbs can be either transitive or intransitive.
Verbs can also be linking verbs. These verbs help to make a statement not by expressing action, but by expressing a state of being or condition.
These verbs link to the subject noun, pronoun, or adjective that describes or identifies it (the subject.)
- The author is our guest. (The subject complement guest refers to the subject author.)
- This is she. (She, the pronoun, refers to the subject this.)
- She looks serious. (Serious, the adjective, refers to the subject she.)
Some common linking verbs:
Many of the verbs in this list can also be used as action verbs – when they do not have a subject complement.
The rule of thumb is that a verb is a linking verb if you can substitute for it with some form of the verb seem.
- Babe Ruth looked (seemed) pleased.
- Folks in the stadium felt (seemed) happy.
- All of the passengers remained (seemed) calm.
In addition to the other types of verbs, there are helping verbs. These verbs are used with the Verb Phrase.
In this case, the verb phrase is made up of a main verb and one or more helping verbs.
Helping verbs are called this because they help the main verb to express action or make a statement.
The helping verb is shown in the following examples:
- has played
- will be coming
- should have paid
- Must have been injured
A verb phrase can therefore be defined as a verb of more than one word.
In next week’s grammar lesson, we will discuss the adjective.