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.
What Are Verb Phrases?
A verb phrase is a segment of a sentence that is comprised of a verb and the verb's dependents.
These dependents can be linking verbs, auxiliary verbs, modals and sometimes complements.
What Do Verb Phrases Do?
Verb phrases help create tenses except present and past tenses, such as continuous tenses and perfect tenses. They also show the mood or other information about the sentence.
Verb Phrase: Structure
A verb phrase can have only a main verb, or the main verb plus a modal or auxiliary verb. Pay attention to the order of these verbs. For example, the main verb always comes last in the verb phrase.
The little boy
We can have two types of verb phrases:
- Simple verb phrases
- Complex verb phrases
Simple Verb Phrases
A simple verb phrase only has one main verb. It demonstrates whether the sentence is declarative or imperative.
Complex Verb Phrases
A complex verb phrase may include one modal verb and one or more auxiliary verbs before the main verb. A modal verb always comes before any auxiliary verbs:
The continuous, perfect, and passive meanings of auxiliary verbs may be combined in a verb phrase, and auxiliary verbs may combine with modal verbs.
I could have been promoted!
She must have gone.
Auxiliaries in Verb Phrases
Auxiliary verbs (also called helping verbs) connect the subject with the rest of the sentence. These verbs include:
In verb phrases, auxiliaries function as finite verbs, i.e. they show tense and mood, but don't make sense on their own. For example:
The verb phrase 'is talking' has the finite verb 'is.' It shows that the sentence is in present tense, the speaker is singular, and that the mood is declarative.
Modals in Verb Phrases
Modal verbs express possibility, obligation, suggestions, etc. They include:
Modal verbs also function as finite verbs. Although, they cannot be conjugated in different tenses, but they do show the speaker and mood.
Main Verbs in a Verb Phrase
Main verbs demonstrate the action of the sentence. They work on their own or with an auxiliary verb in a verb phrase.
Verb Phrases: as Predicates
Verb phrases can be the predicates of or clauses. In this case, there is usually an auxiliary accompanying the verb.
These verb phrases follow the subject of the sentence and function as the action in the sentence. Verb phrases can include all of these words in the predicate, or the helping and main verb only. It depends on how the phrase is used.
Verb Phrases vs. Verbal Phrases
- Verb phrases can only be used as verbs in a sentence.
- Verbal phrases, which are phrases that use verbs and the words that follow them as nouns, adverbs , and adjectives.
- Verb phrases show the action of the sentence.
- Verbal phrases do not show the action of the verb.
These verbal phrases include:
- infinitive phrases: They can function as a noun, adjective or adverb.
I really wanted
The phrase is the direct object of the verb 'want,' therefore, it is acting like a noun.
- participial phrases: They can function as an adjective and begins with a participle.
We have to fix the
The phrase modifies the noun 'window,' so it is functioning like an adjective. 'Have to fix' is the verb phrase.
- gerund phrases: They can function as a noun and can be subjects or objects.
The phrase acts as the subject in this sentence. 'Sound' is the only verb in this sentence.
Verb phrases can be only one verb in a sentence or they can include two or more verbs. Verbal phrases are nouns or phrases that are made from a verb. Here are different parts of a verb phrase.
- head: verb
- dependent: linking verbs, auxiliary verbs, modals and sometimes complements