Verbs in English Grammar

'Verb' originally meant 'word' in archaic languages. In the world of grammar, verbs are the second most populated country after nouns. Start your journey!

18 articles

Passive Voice

Understanding the passive voice is important. The passive voice is used often by native English speakers. It's used both in formal and informal situations.

Phrasal Verbs

Phrasal verbs are used very commonly in English, even more so in informal situations. Phrasal verbs consist of a verb and a preposition or a particle.

Verb Phrases

It's time to learn how to identify the verb phrase in a sentence. Learning about verb phrases is essential in speaking and writing without mistakes.

Transitive and Intransitive Verbs

'She smiled beautifully'. 'She started a rumor'. One of these sentences has an intransitive verb and one has a transitive one. Want to know the difference!

Regular and Irregular Verbs

Based on how we conjugate verbs in the past simple and the past participle, they can be divided into two type: regular verbs and Irregular verbs.

Action vs. State Verbs

'I'm loving it!' or 'I love it!' Do you want to know which one of these famous advertisement mottos are correct? You got to learn about state and action verbs!

Auxiliary Verbs

Auxiliary verbs help the main verb to express tense or voice or help make questions and negative sentences. That's why they're also called 'helping verbs'.

Linking Verbs

Linking verbs are connectors of the language. They do not show any action. Their only job is to link a subject with a subject complement. Want to know how?

Dummy Verbs

Participles

A participle is a word that is formed from a verb and is used to make compound verb forms. We have 2 kinds of participles: past and present participle.

Finite and Non-finite Verbs

Some verbs change their forms based on the person and tenses. They can be conjugated. And some verbs always stay the same. To know them, click here!

Imperative Mood

If you're wondering what the word 'imperative' means, in grammar, imperatives are verbs that are used to tell somebody what to do or guiding someone.

Subjunctive Mood

Subjunctive is a form or mood of verbs that helps us talk about wishes, possibility or uncertainty. To learn about this mood, start reading this article.

Zero Conditional

'If you don't eat or drink, you die'. 'If you heat water, it boils'. Zero conditional is used to talk about facts or situations which are always true.

Conditional I

We use the conditional Type 1 when we want to talk about situations we believe are real or possible in the future. 'If I study hard, I'll pass the exam.'

Conditional II

Type 2 conditional sentences talks about situations that are hypothetical. There is a possibility that the condition will be fulfilled, but not very likely.

Conditional III

Conditional III indicates an impossible, hypothetical and unreal condition in the past and its probable result in the past. To learn about them, start reading!

Mixed Conditional

Sometimes the two parts of a conditional sentence (the condition and the result) refer to different times. This is called a mixed conditional. Ready to learn?

Verbs

Verbs are words or a group of words that express:

  • a physical action (swim)
  • a mental action (think)
  • a state of being (exist)

Almost every sentence requires a verb. In the English language, the basic form of the verb is called the infinitive.
Verbs have different tenses: present, to indicate that an action is being carried out; past, to indicate that an action has been done; future, to indicate that an action will be done.

Agreement

Verbs in some languages must agree with the person, gender or number of some of its arguments, such as its subject, or object.
In English language (with the exception of the verb to be), only in third person singular, present tense form of verbs, we have agreement between verbs and its subject. It is marked by adding '-s' or '-es' to the end of the verbs. All the other persons do not agree.

Types of Verbs

As we mentioned earlier, a verb can be categorized as a physical verb (to swim), a mental verb (to think), or a state of being verb (to exist). but we can categorize a verb further by the following terms:

Intransitive Verbs

An intransitive verb is one that does not act on something or somebody (i.e., there is no direct object). For example:

He died.

The dog ran.

Transitive Verbs

A transitive verb is one that acts on something or somebody (i.e., it has a direct object). For example:

She saw the dog.

Here, the direct object is "the dog."

I read the book.

Here, the direct object is "the book."

Linking Verbs

Linking verbs (also called copular verbs) must be followed by a noun or an adjective. They cannot be followed by an adverb. These linking verbs include be, seem, become, appear, look, and remain. For example:

He seemed nervous.

She became my friend.

Auxiliary Verbs

An auxiliary verb (or helping verb) is a verb such as be, do and have used with main verbs to show tense, voice or mood and to form questions and negatives. Here are some examples of auxiliary verbs:

Do you know where he has gone?

Here, the auxiliary verb "has" helps to express tense, and 'do' helps form a question.

A modal verb is a type of auxiliary verb used to express some communicative functions such as ability, possibility, permission, and obligation. The modal auxiliary verbs are 'can', 'could', 'may', 'might', 'must', 'ought to', 'shall', 'should', 'will', and 'would'. For example:

She can swim.

Here, the modal verb "can" helps to express the idea of ability.

He might cook dinner before she gets home.

Here, the modal verb "might" helps to express the idea of possibility.

Phrasal Verbs

Sometimes a verb is not a single word and it's comprised of a main verb and another word (either a preposition or a particle). The phrasal verb usually has a meaning different to the main verb. For example:

She's against the idea but I'm sure I can win her over.

Here, the phrasal verb "win over" means "to get somebody to change their opinion," which is different to "win."

Voice

The voice of a verb shows whether the subject of the verb is doing the action of the verb or whether the action is being done on the subject. The two most common voices are the active voice (as in "I saw the car") and the passive voice (as in "The car was seen by me").

I saw the car.

This is an active sentence. "I" is the subject.

The window was broken.

This is a passive sentence. No one is blamed for breaking the window.

Conjugation of Verbs

A verb will change its form a little depending on the subject. For instance, the verb "break" can be conjugated to form the words break, breaks, broke, broken and breaking. English has a relatively simple conjugation. But some languages such as French and Arabic have more complex conjugation system.