VERBS

Verbs have traditionally been defined as words that show action or state of being.

           

            

Verbs can also sometimes be recognized by their position in a sentence.

In the following two sentence frames, only a verb can be put into the empty slot.

            NOUN __________                            THERE ________ NOUN

                            (verb)                                                        (verb) 

         

Often, prefixes and suffixes (affixes)  will signify that a word is a verb.  For example, the suffixes -ify, -ize, -ate, or -en usually signify that a word is a verb, as in typify, characterize, irrigate, and sweeten.  Prefixes such as be-, de-, or en-  may signify that a word is a verb, as in bestow, dethrone, and encourage.  

These affixes, often inconsistent from verb to verb, are called derivational affixes. Added to a word, they either change the word's part of speech

     Example: 

      

 

or change the word's meaning

     Example: 

 

The base form of a verb is derived from the verbís infinitive:  to  +  verb

               

          

Four suffixes consistently added to a verbís base create all forms of a verb used in all tenses:

1. -s          creates 3rd person singular / present tense  (He talks.)

2. -ing       creates the present participle / used with be  (He is talking.)

3. -ed        creates the simple past  (He talked.)

4. -en        creates the past participle / used with have  (He has talked.)

Note:

The -en verb ending used with a form of to have as an auxiliary is generally written -ed, as in has talked.

      

Unlike the derivational affixes, these inflectional suffixes are consistently used with all verbs, even though their form may look different from verb to verb.

Because many verbs in English are irregular; as result, their Ėed and/or Ėen  endings may not follow any obvious pattern.

 

Examples:

(to write)

Smith writes short stories at home. (-s ending)

Smith is writing short stories at home. (-ing ending)

Smith wrote short stories at home. (-ed ending)

Smith has written short stories at home. (-en ending)

*

(to buy)

Jones buys a newspaper each day.  (-s ending)

Jones is buying a newspaper today.  (-ing ending)

Jones bought a newspaper yesterday. (-ed ending)

Jones has bought newspapers every day.  (-en ending)

*

(to go)

Students go to the library often. (-s ending)

Students are going to the library often. (-ing ending)

Students went to the library often. (-ed ending)

Students have gone to the library often. (-en ending)

    

      

The majority of verbs are regular and consistently use -ed and -en to form their simple past tense and past participles. (e.g. talked, has talked)

    

Many verbs are irregular, however, and follow no consistent pattern in creating their -ed and/or -en forms.  A list of the major irregular verbs is shown below.

 

Present

Past (-ed form)

Past Participle (-en form)

arise

arose

arisen

ask

asked 

asked

attack

attacked

attacked

awaken

awakened OR awoke

awakened

bear

bore

borne/born

begin

began

begun

blow

blew

blown

break

broke

broken

bring

brought

brought

burst

burst

burst

choose

chose

chosen

cling

clung

clung

come

came

come

dive

dived OR dove

dived

do

did

done

drag

dragged

dragged

draw

drew

drawn

drink

drank

drunk

drive

drove

driven

drown

drowned

drowned

eat 

ate

eaten

fall

fell

fallen

fly

flew

flown

forgive

forgave

forgiven

freeze

froze

frozen

get

got

got OR gotten

give

gave

given

go 

went

gone

grow

grew

grown

hang (things)

hung

hung

hang (people)

hanged

hanged

happen

happened

happened

know

knew

known

lay

laid

laid

lead

led

led

lie

lay

lain

loosen

loosened

loosened

lose

lost

lost

pay

paid

paid

ride

rode

ridden

ring

rang

rung

rise

rose

risen

run

ran

run

see

saw

seen

set

set

set

shake

shook

shaken

shrink

shrank OR shrunk

shrunk OR shrunken

sing

sang

sung

sink

sank OR sunk

sunk

sit

sat

sat

speak

spoke

spoken

spin

spun

spun

spit

spat

spat

spring

sprang OR sprung

sprung

steal

stole

stolen

sting

stung

stung

stink

stank OR stunk

stunk

strive

strove

striven 

study

studied

studied

swear

swore

sworn

swim

swam

swum

swing

swung

swung

take

took

taken

tear

tore

torn

throw

threw

thrown

wake

woke OR waked

woken OR waked

wear

wore

worn

weave

wove

woven

wring

wrung

wrung

write

wrote

written

    

A verb phrase is defined as the main verb together with all its auxiliaries (helping verbs).

Auxiliary verbs always precede the main verb.

There are two types of auxiliary verbs:

1. Inflected auxiliary verbs: 

be

have do

2. Modal auxiliaries (considered more fully under (auxiliary verbs)

present

past no tense

will

would

must

shall

should

 

can

could

 
may   might  

    

Examples of verb phrases:

He has taken the test.

(auxiliary has  +  main verb  take.)

He is taking the test.

(auxiliary is  +  main verb  take)

He did take the test.

(auxiliary do  +  main verb take)

He has been taking the test.

(auxiliaries has been + main verb take)

 

Verbs may be divided into three types:

A.     Action verbs - show an action -- either physical or mental

               

B.   Verbs of being (forms of be - is, are, was, were, has/have/had been, will be) - show a state of existence: 

            

C.  **Linking verbs - link a subject with its complement 

            (A subjective complement "completes" / "equals" the subject.)

            Linking verbs:  appear, taste, smell, feel, look, sound, grow, seem, remain, become

    

        NOTE:  Most linking verbs can also be used as action verbs.

    
           

 

Action verbs may be either transitive or intransitive.

A.  A transitive verb is one that is followed by a direct object.

  Example: 

 
        


B.  An intransitive verb is one that is NOT followed by a direct object.

   Example: 
  

              

Caution:  An intransitive verb may be followed by adjectives, adverbs, and/or prepositional phrases.  As long as the verb is not followed by a noun or pronoun functioning as the direct object, the verb is intransitive.

   Example:   

   

          

 

NOTE:  Some action verbs may be either transitive or intransitive.

  Example:  (left

        
       

          Another example (read):                   

              
             
         

 


Verbs have three moods:  indicative, imperative, and subjunctive.

A. The indicative mood states a fact, asks a question, or exclaims.

          

 

B. The imperative mood gives a command.  The subject is always "you" understood.

         

 

C. The subjunctive mood occurs in two instances:

1. The sentence indicates a situation contrary to fact.

         

2. The sentence

  • shows a wish, desire, or demand 

  • following verbs such as desire, demand, request, suggest