What Are Verb Phrases?
What Do Verb Phrases Do?
Verb phrases are essential for indicating various tenses, including continuous and perfect tenses, although they are not necessary for forming simple present and simple past tenses. Furthermore, they help indicate the mood or provide other important information about the sentence.
Verb Phrase: Structure
A verb phrase can consist of a main verb alone or a combination of a main verb and one or more modal or auxiliary verbs. Main verbs demonstrate the action of the sentence.
When forming a verb phrase, it's important to pay attention to the order of these verbs. For instance, the main verb always comes at the
Verb Phrases: Types
There are two types of verb phrases:
- Simple verb phrases
- Complex verb phrases
Simple Verb Phrases
A simple verb phrase consists of only one verb, which is the main verb, and is used to indicate whether a sentence is declarative or imperative.
In the imperative form, if we want to stop someone from doing something, we need to use the auxiliary verb 'do' in the verb phrase, which makes it a complex verb phrase.
Complex Verb Phrases
A complex verb phrase may consist of a modal verb along with one or more auxiliary verbs before the main verb. It's important to note that modal verbs always appear
Auxiliary verbs can be combined within a verb phrase to express continuous, perfect, and passive tenses. Additionally, auxiliary verbs can also be combined with modal verbs. In such cases, the order of appearance of elements within the verb phrase will be as follows:
Auxiliaries in Verb Phrases
English auxiliary verbs include:
In verb phrases, auxiliary verbs function as finite verbs, indicating the tense and mood of a sentence. However, they do not convey a complete meaning 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, they do show the speaker and mood.
Verb Phrases as Predicates
Verb phrases typically follow the subject of a sentence and indicate the action within the sentence. A verb phrase can consist of all the words in the predicate, or it can consist of just the auxiliary and main verbs, depending on how the phrase is used.
Verb Phrases vs. Verbal Phrases
Verbs phrases should not be confused with verbal phrases.
- Infinitive phrases 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 can function as an adjective and begin with a participle.
We have to fix the
The phrase modifies the noun 'window,' so it is functioning as an adjective. 'Have to fix' is the verb phrase.
- Gerund phrases 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
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