English Verbs Definition and Types with Examples

Verb Definition and Types

Definition of Verb

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 in a sentence.

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 don’t meet him before.

Types of Verbs

There are two main types of verbs.
1- Main verb   2- Auxiliary/Helping verb
The main verb in a sentence describes the action or state or can be used to link 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.
  • He was working the whole day yesterday.
  • He is living alone.
  • I studied hard last night.
  • She drinks coffee every day.
A verb that describes actions, events, or happening is called 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

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 a 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

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 italic are complex transitive. The other words that go with the verbs are complement.
They made David 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.

The Two Types of Verbs Based on Changing Form

Based on how verbs change their form, they are divided into classes.
1- Regular verb   2-  Irregular verb
Regular Verb: 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 a regular verb.
The following are examples of regular verbs.
Annoy, apply, appoint, attack, base, belt.
Irregular verbs: Those verbs which do not follow any defined pattern of forming past and past participle are called irregular verbs. Many of the irregular verbs are entirely different in all three forms. So, we have to learn each one individually.
The following verbs are irregular.
Break, build, cut, choose, see, go, swim, write, sing, etc.

Auxiliary/Helping Verbs

A verb that helps the main verb in the formation of tenses, active and passive voice, interrogation, etc., or gives other grammatical information which is not provided by the main verb of a sentence is called 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
 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.
The verbs ought to, used to, need, and dare are known as semi-modals verbs.
Note: All sentences must have a verb. No sentence exists without a verb.

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