Parts of Speech - Verbs

What are Verbs?

Verbs simply define any action or just "being."

Examples of an action verb: stop, like, hate, love, go, run, pull, bend.

As you can see, each of the above words conveys an act. However, not all convey action. Some simply state a being-ness, they give an idea of a state or an existence.

Examples: be, belong, seem, exist etc.

There is no direct action involved here. It is more like a state of being.

A note to remember is: A verb has a subject to it. It defines what a subject is doing or what the subject is (or being).


• Jack loves birds.

• Rachael is intelligent.

In the above examples, “loves” is an action-verb and “is” is a state-verb.

Verb Forms: A simple verb has five forms in English. These forms are dependent on the case and tense of the sentence.

Example: The verb “study” has the following forms based on different tenses: To study, study, studies, studying, studied.

Whole Sentences as a Single Verb: You can even have sentences that have only one verb and nothing else to form them.


• Run!

• Stop!

• Go!

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How to classify Verbs? They are broadly classified in two types.

• Helping

• Main

Helping verbs, as the name suggests, are there to help in structuring the sentence, but they have no use when on their own.


• I should

• Everyone will

• They could

The examples above look like incomplete sentences. They don’t convey much meaning on their own.

A verb like should, will, could, shall, might, may, would etc will only help you to finish a grammatically correct sentence. They won’t do much by themselves, as shown in the examples.

Main verbs are meaningful when used with or without helping verbs.


• I leave.

• They shout.

• We went.

The above sentences are complete in themselves and do not need any more structuring to convey meaning.

How are verbs further classified? Helping and Main verbs are classified further below. Here’s a brief note of what the classes are.

1. Helping verbs:

• Primary helping verbs (be, have, do)

• Modal helping verbs (can, could; may, might; will, would; shall, should; must; ought to)

2. Main verbs:

• Transitive and Intransitive verbs

• Regular and Irregular verbs

• Linking verbs

• Dynamic and Stative verbs

Transitive verbs take direct objects; Intransitive verbs don’t.

All verbs ending in –ed for past and past participle tenses are known as Regular verbs.

Irregular verbs will change form and don’t necessarily end in –ed.

Linking verbs link the subject to what is being said about it.

Dynamic verbs define action; Stative verbs define a state or a situation.

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