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 essential components of a sentence. With the exception of imperative sentences, which can consist of a single verb, a complete sentence requires more than just a verb. A verb serves as the primary element of a predicate.

Actually, verbs express states of being, actions, or occurrences. 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 suggest, 'regular verbs' follow specific rules, whereas 'irregular verbs' do not follow any particular pattern and are best memorized individually. However, it is important to note that 'regular verbs' do follow a consistent 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 those that require an object to convey 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 a result of the verb's action. Check out the examples:

I sent him a letter.

They gave Mother the presents.

Complex Transitive Verbs

A complex transitive verb (also known as an 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 known as 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 known as 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 four groups:

Main Verbs and Auxiliary Verbs

'Auxiliary verbs' provide information that main verbs can not. They are sometimes, referred to as helping verbs because they assist main verbs in completing their meaning or expressing different tenses or moods. 'Main verbs' (also known as lexical verbs or principal verbs) are responsible for showing the action or state of the subject, and they hold significant importance. They can stand alone or be used in conjunction with a helping verb to form meaningful statements.

I have decided to study law at university.

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

English 'modal verbs' are a subset of auxiliary verbs. They can indicate necessity, probability, requests, and more. So it is good to know them. Modal verbs include Can, could, shall, should, will, would, may, might, must. 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 verbs that indicate an action, and sometimes they can refer to movements or physical activities. Check out the examples for more clarification:

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 have known him for about years.

I have been thinking about him since then.

Based on Formation

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

Phrasal Verbs

'Phrasal verbs' consist of a verb combined with one or more preposition or adverbs or both, creating a new meaning. Sometimes we can put an object between the verb and the preposition, or adverb. While other times they cannot be separated.

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 back to the direct object and reflect it back to the subject, reflecting it onto the direct object.

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

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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

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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

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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

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'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

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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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