Verbs are one of the most necessary elements to make a sentence. In fact, without a verb, we cannot have a meaningful sentence.

What Are "Verbs"?

What Are Verbs?

Verbs are the main part of the sentence. You cannot make a one-word sentence in any case, other than in verbs. A verb is the main part of a predicate.

Actually, verbs express a state of being, an action, or an occurrence. The simplest way to define verbs is to say they indicate what the subject is doing.

Types of Verbs

Verbs are categorized into different groups based on their specific characteristics. Here are different groups of them:

Based on Regularity

Based on regularity, verbs are categorized into two groups:

Regular and Irregular Verbs

As their names require, 'regular verbs' have their own rules, while 'irregular verbs' do not have any special rules and it is better to memorize them. Yet, as you know 'regular verbs' follow a special pattern.

Regular Verbs Irregular Verbs
walk be
cook come
talk do
look get
laugh give

Based on Transitivity

Based on transitivity, verbs can be categorized into seven groups:

Mono-transitive Verbs

'Mono-transitive' verbs are ones that require an object to have a complete meaning.

He loves pizza for lunch.

We told everything to my mom.

Di-transitive Verbs

Ditransitive verbs are used when someone other than the subject receives something as the result of the action of the verb. Check out the examples:

I sent him a letter.

They gave Mother the presents.

Complex Transitive Verbs

A complex transitive verb (also called attributive ditransitive verb or resultative verb) is a verb that needs both a direct object and an object complement.

They called him Robinson Crusoe.

I will make her happy.

Ergative Verbs

Ergative verbs (also called labile verbs or ambi-transitive verbs) are verbs that can be both transitive and intransitive.

I rang the bell.

The bell rang.

Catenative Verbs

Catenative verbs (also called chain verbs) link with other verbs and form a chain of two or three or more verbs.

I'm coming to help wash the dishes.

He expects to complete the project in June.

Linking Verbs

Linking verbs (also called copula or copular verbs) do not show any specific actions. They just link the subject of a sentence and the subject complement.

Mike is handsome.

The child will become an adult.

Intransitive Verbs

'Intransitive verbs' are the ones that do not need an object to make a meaningful sentence. They have a complete meaning on their own.

I sneezed.

Rivers flow.

Using Verbs to Show the Action in a Sentence

Based on Contribution to Meaning

Based on contribution to meaning, verbs can be categorized into three groups:

Main Verbs and Auxiliary Verbs

'Auxiliary verbs' give information that main verbs cannot. Sometimes, grammarians call them helping verbs cause somehow they offer help to main verbs. They can complete the meaning or help make different tenses or moods. 'Main verbs' are also called the lexical verbs or the principal verbs. Main verbs show the action or state of the subject and they are really important. They can stand alone, or be used with a helping verb to have meaningful stements.

I have decided to study law at university.

These were all one the list and you did not do that.

English 'modal verbs' are one of the subsections for auxiliary verbs. They can indicate necessity, probability, requests, etc. So it is good to know them. Can, could, shall, should, will, would, may, might, must, etc, are considered modal verbs. The point is that they are not used alone and they have to be followed by an infinitive without -to.

Do not get angry, but you could have fun with each other.

We will start dating again.

Dummy Verbs

'Dummy verbs' are verbs that have no special meanings, but they are used in sentences to have a grammatical function.

Jessica took a breath.

Carlos is having a drink with his best buddy.

Based on Meaning

Based on meaning, verbs can be categorized into two groups:

Action Verbs

'Action verbs' are those kinds of verbs that indicate an action, sometimes they can refer to movements or physical activities. Check out the examples for more clarifications.

We ran out of the hallway.

Alex does workouts everyday, he is really in shape.

State Verbs

'Stative' verbs often are used to indicate a state, not an action. It is important to know that, these verbs refer to abstract things. Take a look at some examples:

I know him for about years.

I have been thinking about him since then.

Based on Formation

Based on formation, verbs can be categorized into three groups:

Phrasal Verbs

'Phrasal verbs' consist of a verb added to one preposition or adverb or both and it makes new meaning. Sometimes we can put an object between the verbs and prepositions, or adverbs. And sometimes we cannot separate them.

Put your cloth on, we are going out for dinner.

I told him to take off his shoes.

Reflexive Verbs

'Reflexive verbs' transfer the action of the verb to the direct object and reflect it back to the subject of the sentence.

I cut myself with a knife.

They introduced themselves to the villagers.


Verbs are one of the most important participants of sentences. The statements have no meaning when they are used without verbs. There are different types of verbs in English as follows.

  • action verbs, state verbs, transitive verbs, intransitive verbs,
  • infinitive verbs, auxiliary verbs, main verbs, modals verbs, gerunds
  • participles, finite and non-finite(infinite) verbs, phrasal verbs
  • regular, irregular verbs, dummy verbs


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Regular and Irregular Verbs

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

Actions and States

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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'.

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.

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?

Ditransitive Verbs

Ditransitive verbs are transitive verbs that take two objects. A direct object and an indirect object. Follow the article to read more about them.

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