All About Verbs
I think that most of us are more than aware that ‘Verbs are ‘doing’ words.’ They show action, a state of being, or express time. We have present, past, and future tense.
For most of us, we covered the basics in our grammar classes.
- He eats. (Present tense)
- He ate. (Past tense)
- He will eat. (Future tense)
Tip: The trend is to use the simple tense in writing. It’s clean, clear, and uncomplicated. It’s also user-friendly.
But then, we had to learn the more intricate verbs
- Stand on their own.
- Have a subject.
- Have a number.
- Have a tense.
A finite verb makes a complete sentence with a subject. It can be in past, present, or future tense.
In this sentence: The Subject = She, and the number = One person, and the Tense = Present
Subject = They
Number = Many people
Tense = Past
- Do not show tense, person or number.
- Have a ‘to’ that comes before the verb.
- Must have a finite verb before the ‘to’.
It is preferred that you do not split the infinitive. Don’t say: ‘She wants to definitely work.’ You will split the infinitive.
She tiptoed so as not to wake anyone.
‘To wake’ does not show tense, person, or number.
‘to’ comes before the verb, wake
Tiptoed is a finite verb that comes before the word ‘to’
Try to use strong, precise verbs. This helps you to say what you mean, reduce adverbs, and avoid the passive voice versus active voice.
stride, grab, analyse, resolve, tiptoe, instruct, wobble, revise, scan
Avoid Nominalisation Of Verbs
This is also known as ‘nouning’. A nominalisation occurs when a verb (or other part of speech) is used as (or transformed into) a noun.
argue becomes argument
‘A nominalisation is a type of abstract noun. An abstract noun denotes an idea, quality, emotion, or state. It is something that is not concrete. It takes the power away from the original verb.
‘Phrasal verbs’ are a combination of words with a meaning beyond the individual words. They are verbs that are followed by a preposition or an adverb.
Examples: give up, put off, pass out
Phrasal verbs are mainly used in spoken English and informal texts. We should avoid using them in formal and academic writing, where it is better to use a verb like ‘postpone’ than a phrasal verb like ‘put off’.
There is a lot more we can learn about verbs. In my Creative Writing Classes, I will be discussing verbs, adverbs, and adjectives at length.