English Verb Definition and Types with Examples

Verb Definition with Examples

A word that shows a state, action, or doing of someone or something is called a verb. The word verb is taken from the Latin word verbum, which means “word” used to indicate something. Verb constitutes the predicate part of a sentence.

Definition of Verb with Examples

Verbs Examples

A verb expresses an action.

The action that a verb expresses may be physical or mental.


  • He hit his hand with the hammer.
  • He plays football.
  • She went to sleep.
  • He knows me well.
  • We hadn’t imagined it would be so difficult.

A verb expresses a state or condition.

The verbs in these sentences show a state or a condition.

  • He owned that car.
  • Men are brave.
  • She looks very smart.
  • He is a doctor.

The verbs in the sentences below show what is done to a person or thing.

  • He was arrested.
  • Their team was beaten.
  • The customers were ignored.

A sentence may constitute several verbs.


  • I saw him working alone yesterday.
  • I think you haven’t met him before.

Types of Verbs with Definitions and Examples

There are two main types of verbs.

  1. Main verb    2) Auxiliary/Helping verb
Types of Verbs with Definitions and Examples

Main Verb Definition and Examples

The main verb in a sentence describes the action or state or can be used to link the subject and predicate. It represents the important idea of the sentence. Based on the function they do in a sentence, the main verb is divided into two types the action and the linking verb

Main Verb Examples

  • He was working the whole day yesterday.
  • He is living alone.
  • I studied hard last night.
  • She drinks coffee every day.

Action and Lining Verb Definition and Examples

A verb that describes actions, events, or happening is called an action or dynamic verb.

A linking verb connects an object or person to its qualities.

The verb to be, become, appear, feel, make, look, keep, grow, get, go, remain, turn, taste, prove, smell, stay, sound, seem.

The verbs used in the below sentences are linking verbs.

  • She looks worried.
  • The boys are happy.
  • The man looks just like his son.
  • The rice smells delicious.

Transitive and Intransitive Verbs Definitions and Examples

Every action verb is divided into being transitive or intransitive.

Transitive verbs need an object (someone or something) that receives the action expressed by the verb.

Direct object: The noun or noun phrase that the verb acts upon is called the sentence’s direct object.


  • The girl was wearing red clothes.
  • They invited all of us.
  • She likes sweet mangoes.
  • I have visited New York City twice.
Types of Transitive Verbs with Definitions and Examples

The transitive verbs are divided into three classes depending on how many objects follow the verb in a sentence.

Mono-transitive verb: A verb that takes only one object is called a mono-transitive verb. In the above four sentences, the verbs are followed by a single direct object and are therefore mono-transitive verbs.

Ditransitive verb: A verb that is followed by two objects (direct and indirect) is called a ditransitive verb. In the following sentences, the verbs are followed by two objects and are therefore ditransitive verbs.


  • The interviewer asked me my name.
  • He offers me a drink.
  • His brother promised him a new bike if he passed his exams.
  • She gives me her watch.

Complex transitive verb: A transitive verb with a complement is called a complex transitive verb. Complement is a word or phrase that is added to the object to modify its meaning. In the following sentences, all the verbs written in italics are complex transitive. The other words that go with the verbs are complements.


  • They made David the captain of their team.
  • I recognized his voice at once.
  • The city life suited us in all respects.
  • He has painted his house white.

Note: Sentences only with transitive verbs admit of passive form.

Intransitive Verbs do not need a direct object to make sense. The function they do in a sentence can stand alone.


  • I feel sorry.
  • The boy ran away.
  • I went to London last month.
  • He arrived late last night.
  • The baby slept well.

Some verbs belong to both transitive and intransitive.

Transitive: He played cricket all day yesterday.
Intransitive: He played well yesterday.
Transitive: I have read a lot since morning.
Intransitive: She read a book.
Transitive: I think he can do it.
Intransitive: Think before every speak.

Types of Verbs Based on Changing Form with Examples

Based on how verbs change their form, they are divided into classes.

  1. Regular Verbs    2) Irregular Verbs

Regular Verbs Definition: In regular verbs, we add “d” or “ed” to the base form of the verb to form the second (past) and third (past participle) of the verb; such verbs are called regular verbs.

Related: List of Regular Verbs with Rules and Examples

The following are examples of regular verbs.

Annoy, apply, appoint, attack, base, belt.

Irregular Verbs Definition: Those verbs that do not follow any defined pattern of forming past and past participles are called irregular verbs. Many of the irregular verbs are entirely different in all three forms. So, we have to learn each one individually.

Must Read: 180+ List of Irregular Verbs with V1 V2 V3 Forms

The following verbs are irregular.

Break, build, cut, choose, see, go, swim, write, sing, etc.

Auxiliary/Helping Verb Definition and Examples

A verb that helps the main verb in the formation of tenses, active and passive voice, interrogation, etc., or gives other grammatical information that is not provided by the main verb of a sentence is called an auxiliary or helping verb.

There are two classes of auxiliary verbs.

i) Primary Auxiliary Verbs ii- Modal Auxiliary Verbs

The primary auxiliary verbs are

To be: is, am, are, was, were
To do: do, does, did
To have: have, has, had

The model auxiliary verbs are can and could, shall and should, will and would, must, and may and might. These verbs cannot be conjugated into different forms.

Related: What are Modal Auxiliary Verbs? Rules and Examples

The verbs ought to, used to, need, and dare are known as semi-modal verbs.

Note: All sentences must have a verb. No sentence exists without a verb.

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