Verbs | What Is a Verb? | Types of Verbs & Examples (2023)

What is a verb?

Verbs are the action words in a sentence that describe what the subject is doing. Along with nouns, verbs are the main part of a sentence or phrase, telling a story about what is taking place. In fact, without a verb, full thoughts can’t be properly conveyed, and even the simplest sentences, such as Maria sings, have one. Actually, a verb can be a sentence by itself, with the subject, in most case you, implied, such as, Sing! and Drive!

When learning the rules of grammar, schoolchildren are often taught that verbs are ‘doing’ words, meaning they signify the part of the sentence which explains the action taking place: He ran away, she eats chocolate cake on Sundays, the horses gallop across the fields. Ran, eats and gallop are the ‘action’ parts of those sentences, thus they are the verbs. However, it can be confusing because not all verbs are easily identifiable as action: I know your name, Jack thought about it, we considered several applications. These are non-action verbs, i.e. those that describe a state of being, emotion, possession, sense or opinion. Other non-action verbs include include love, agree, feel, am, and have.

How to Recognize a Verb

As you can see from the examples above, one clue to help you recognize a verb is its location compared to the subject. Verbs almost always come after a noun or pronoun. These nouns and pronouns are referred to as the subject. The verb thought comes after the noun Jack, so the action Jack (subject) was taking was thinking (verb).

  1. Mark eats his dinner quickly.
  2. We went to the market.
  3. You write neatly in your notebook.
  4. They thought about all the prizes in the competition.

Here are some other ways to recognize verbs in a sentence:

  1. If you’re not sure if a word is a verb, ask yourself, “Can I do ______?”

Can I think, wonder, walk, yawn? Yes, so these are verbs.

  1. You can also ask, ”What is happening?”

In the sentence Mark eats his dinner quickly, what is happening? Eating is happening, so eating is the verb.

In the sentence They thought about all the prizes what is happening? Thought (thinking) is happening, so thought is the verb.

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Physical Verbs – Definition and Examples

Physical verbs are action verbs. They describe specific physical actions. If you can create a motion with your body or use a tool to complete an action, the word you use to describe it is most likely a physical verb. For example, Joe sat in his chair, the dog breathes quickly after she chases her ball, and should we vote in the election? Even when the action isn’t very active, if the action is done by the body or a tool, consider it a physical verb.

Physical Verb Examples

The physical verb examples in the following sentences are in bold for easy identification.

  • Let’s run to the corner and back.
  • I hear the train coming.
  • Call me when you’re finished with class.

Mental Verbs – Definition and Examples

Mental verbs have meanings that are related to concepts such as discovering, understanding, thinking, or planning. In general, a mental verb refers to a cognitive state.

Mental Verb – Definition and Examples

Mental verbs have meanings that are related to concepts such as discovering, understanding, thinking, or planning. In general, a mental verb refers to a cognitive state.

Mental Verb Examples

The mental verb examples in the following sentences are in bold for easy identification.

  • I know the answer.
  • She recognized me from across the room.
  • Do you believe everything people tell you?

States of Being Verbs – Definition and Examples

Also known as linking verbs, state of being verbs describe conditions or situations that exist. State of being verbs are inactive since no action is being performed. These verbs, forms of to be, such as am, is, are, are usually complemented by adjectives.

States of Being Verb Examples

The state of being verbs in the following sentences are in bold for easy identification.

  • I am a student.
  • We are circus performers.
  • Please is quiet.

Types of Verbs

There are many types of verbs. In addition to the main categories of physical verbs, mental verbs, and state of being verbs, there are several other types of verbs. In fact, there are more than ten different types of verbs that are grouped together by function.

List of all Verb Types

Action Verbs

Action verbs express specific actions and are used any time you want to show action or discuss someone doing something. It’s important to remember that the action does not have to be physical.

Action verb examples:

(Video) Verbs Definitions Functions Examples (What is a Verb ?)

  1. Run
  2. Dance
  3. Slide
  4. Jump
  5. Think
  6. Do
  7. Go
  8. Stand
  9. Smile
  10. Listen.

The action verb examples in the following sentences are in bold for easy identification.

I run faster than David.

He does it well.

She thinks about poetry all day long

Transitive VerbsTransitive verbs are action verbs that always express doable activities that relate or affect someone or something else. These other things are generally direct objects, nouns or pronouns that are affected by the verb, though some verbs can also take an indirect object, such as show, take, and make. In a sentence with a transitive verb, someone or something receives the action of the verb.

Transitive verb examples:

  1. Love
  2. Respect
  3. Tolerate
  4. Believe
  5. Maintain.

The transitive verb examples in the following sentences are in bold for easy identification.

Gary ate the cookies.

The transitive verb is ate, Gary is the subject, because it is Gary who is doing the eating, and the cookies are the direct object, because it is the cookies that are being eaten. Other examples:

He kicked John.

John punches him.

They sold the tickets.

Examples of verbs used with both direct and indirect objects:

They sell him the tickets.

In this sentence, the tickets are the direct object while him is the indirect object.

Mary baked her mother a pie.

In this sentence, a pie is the direct object while her mother is the indirect object.

Intransitive Verbs

Intransitive verbs are action verbs that always express doable activities. They are different from transitive verbs because there is no direct object following an intransitive verb.

Intransitive verb examples:

  1. Walk
  2. Laugh
  3. Cough
  4. Play
  5. Run

The intransitive verb examples in the following sentences are in bold for easy identification.

We travelled to London.

The intransitive verb is travelled, the subject is we, because we are doing the travelling, but London is not a direct object because London is not receiving the action of the verb. Other examples:

I sneeze in the morning.

(Video) Verbs for Kids | What is a verb? | Learn how to identify and use a verb in a sentence.

He arrived with moments to spare.

Kathryn sat away from the others.

John eats before leaving for school.

The last example shows that the verb eats can be both transitive and intransitive depending on whether there is a direct object or not. If the sentence read: John eats the cookies before leaving for school, eats would be transitive as there is a direct object – the cookies.

By the way, some verbs can be both transitive and intransitive. These verbs include: start, leave, change, live, stop.

Auxiliary Verbs

Auxiliary verbs are also known as helping verbs and are used together with a main verb to show the verb’s tense or to form a question or negative. Common examples of auxiliary verbs include have, might, will. These auxiliary verbs give some context to the main verb, for example, letting the reader know when the action took place.

Auxiliary verb examples:

  1. Would
  2. Should
  3. Do
  4. Can
  5. Did
  6. Could
  7. May

The auxiliary verb examples in the following sentences are in bold for easy identification.

I will go home after football practice.

The auxiliary verb will is telling us that the action of the main verb go is going to take place in the future – after football practice has ended. If the auxiliary verb will was removed, we get the sentence:

I go home after football practice.

In this case, there is no definite time frame for the action. The sentence suggests that going home after football practice is just something the subject I generally does. Other examples:

I may dance with you later.

We did consider Bryan’s feelings.

Jenny has spoken her final words.

In addition, we can sometimes use the auxiliary very before the pronoun to make a question:

Might you dance with me later?

Did we consider Bryan’s feelings?

Has Jenny spoken her final words?

Also, auxiliary verbs are used to help form negative statements, with the use of words like not and never. These will usually split the auxiliary and main verbs:

I may never dance with you again.

We did not consider Bryan’s feelings.

Jenny has not spoken her final words.

(Video) What Are Verbs?

Stative Verbs

Stative verbs can be recognized because they express a state rather than an action. They typically relate to thoughts, emotions, relationships, senses, states of being, and measurements. The best way to think about stative verbs is that they are verbs that describe things that are not actions. The stative verbs are all expressing a state: A state of doubting, a state of believing, a state of wanting. These states of being are often temporary.

The stative verb examples in the following sentences are in bold for easy identification.

The doctor disagrees with your analysis.

Disagree is a stative verb here, as it describes the doctor’s state of being – disagreement.

John doubts the doctor’s opinion.

I believe the doctor is right.

She wanted another opinion.

Modal Verbs

Modal verbs are auxiliary verbs that are used to express abilities, possibilities, permissions, and obligations.

Modal verb examples:

  1. Can
  2. Must
  3. May
  4. Should
  5. Would

The modal verb examples in the following sentences are in bold for easy identification.

He can shoot a three-point shot easily.

The auxiliary verb can is expressing an ability, suggesting that shooting a three-point shot is a skill the subject possesses.

Please note that in the case of should and must in the examples below, the modal verbs are expressing obligations, whereas would and may are expressing possibilities.

I should go home.

You must not delay.

Sally would not recommend the sushi.

David may be late.

Phrasal Verbs

Phrasal verbs aren’t single words; instead, they are combinations of words that are used together to take on a different meaning to that of the original verb. There are many examples of phrasal verbs, some of which have colloquial meanings, such as make up, hand in, bring up, point out, look forward to. Each time the verb takes the extra word(s) it takes on a new meaning. For example, make without the up expresses that something is being created, whereas with make up, the suggestion is that there are some lies or a fantastical element to the story and make out can mean either to grasp or see something difficult, or to kiss passionately.

Phrasal verb examples:

  1. Run out
  2. Go all out
  3. Make out
  4. Hand out
  5. Bring out
  6. Face up
  7. Think through

The phrasal verb examples in the following sentences are in bold for easy identification.

Mary looked forward to her high school reunion.

(Video) Verbs | The 11 Types of Verbs

The verb looked has taken on forward to to become a phrasal verb meaning to be excited about or eagerly await something.

He brought up the same points again and again.

Leroy handed in the wallet to the police.

I make up stories all the time.

She pointed out Donald’s mistake.

Irregular Verbs

Irregular verbs are those that don’t take on the regular spelling patterns of past simple and past participle verbs. Unfortunately, there are hundreds of irregular verbs in the English language. But don’t worry, while many are used often, the majority are not in common usage – or if they are, you will use them so often you will learn them quickly. Some of the most common irregular verbs include: say, make, go, take, come, know and see.

Irregular verb examples:

  1. Eat
  2. Think
  3. Bring
  4. Hold
  5. Bear
  6. Buy
  7. Lay
  8. Catch
  9. Drive
  10. Paid
  11. Feel
  12. Redo

The irregular verb examples in the following sentences are in bold for easy identification.

I take my time when I go to the shops (present tense)

I took my time when I went to the shops (past tense)

Julie makes cake for the classroom (present tense)

Julie made a cake for the classroom (past tense)

She sees a silhouette shaped like a man in the window (present tense)

She saw a silhouette shaped like a man in the window (past tense)

We come to Aunt Jane’s for Thanksgiving each year (present tense)

We came to Aunt Jane’s for Thanksgiving each year (past tense).

You should also remember that auxiliary verbs ‘do’ and ‘have’ are also irregular verbs:

I do agree.

He does it often.

We have done our homework early.

They do their homework on Fridays.

I have a suspicion about Fran

Fran has a devious look.

(Video) What is a Verb? (Verbs for Kindergarten/First Grade)

We have no money left.

They have had a cough twice this winter.


What are the 4 types of verbs with examples? ›

There are four TYPES of verbs: intransitive, transitive, linking, and passive. Intransitive and transitive verbs are in the active voice, while passive verbs are in the passive voice. Intransitive verbs are verbs that express action but that do not take an object.

What are the 10 example of verb? ›

Examples of Verb in Sentences
  • Hiya is going home. ...
  • Dravid is writing a novel about the wildlife of america.
  • Kohli is playing cricket at the college tournament.
  • He is riding his new bicycle all-day.
  • Leave me alone!
  • She apologized to the teachers.
  • This temple will close after an hour.
  • He is sitting next to you.
Jul 7, 2022

What is a verb give 5 examples? ›

These verbs include: start, leave, change, live, stop. Auxiliary verbs are also known as helping verbs and are used together with a main verb to show the verb's tense or to form a question or negative. Common examples of auxiliary verbs include have, might, will.

What is verb verb with example? ›

A verb is a word that describes what the subject of a sentence is doing. Verbs can indicate (physical or mental) actions, occurrences, and states of being. Examples: Verbs in a sentence Jeffrey builds a house. Anita is thinking about horses. True love exists.

Can you give me a list of verbs? ›

Physical Action Verb List:
9 more rows
Mar 5, 2019

What are the 3 main types of verbs? ›

There are three types of verbs: action verbs, linking verbs, and helping verbs. Action verbs are words that express action (give, eat, walk, etc.) or possession (have, own, etc.). Action verbs can be either transitive or intransitive.

What are the 100 verbs? ›

100 Common English Verbs
  • be.
  • have.
  • do.
  • say.
  • go.
  • can.
  • get.
  • would.

What are the 20 most common verbs? ›

25 Most Common Verbs
  • be.
  • have.
  • do.
  • say.
  • get.
  • make.
  • go.
  • know.

What are the 20 examples of verbs? ›

Examples of Verb in Sentences
  • He is begging to save her mother's life in front of the doctor.
  • David is writing a novel about wildlife heritage.
  • You are coming right now to the seminar.
  • She is smiling in front of the audience.
  • They are selling their company's products to people.
  • He apologized to the teachers.

What is a simple example of verb in a sentence? ›

Example: Jennifer walked to the store. In this sentence, walked is the verb that shows an action.

What are the 7 types of verbs? ›

Following are the different types of verbs.
  • Regular Verb.
  • Irregular Verb.
  • Linking Verb.
  • Transitive Verb.
  • Intransitive Verb.
  • Finite Verb.
  • Infinitive Verb.

How do you explain that is is a verb? ›

Is is what is known as a state of being verb. State of being verbs do not express any specific activity or action but instead describe existence. The most common state of being verb is to be, along with its conjugations (is, am, are, was, were, being, been). As we can see, is is a conjugation of the verb be.

How do you find a verb in a sentence? ›

Verbs always tell the time (also called the tense) of the sentence. The easiest way to find a verb in a sentence is to change the time of the sentence and find the word that changes.

What are the 10 most common verbs? ›

The top 10 regular verbs in English are: want, look, use, work, start, try, ask, need, talk, and help.

Can a sentence be 5 verbs? ›

It has five different forms: do, does, doing, did, done. The base form of the verb is do. The past simple form, did, is the same throughout. The present participle is doing.
How do you use the verb 'do' in English? - Easy Learning Grammar.
I do not want it.We do not want it.
You do not want it.You do not want it.
He does not want it.They do not want it.

What are the 2 kinds of verb? ›

There are two types of action verbs; transitive and intransitive.

What are all forms of verbs? ›

All English verbs (except to be) have five forms: base, past tense, past participle, present participle, and third-person singular.

How many verbs are there? ›

There are sixteen verbs used in Basic English. They are: be, do, have, come, go, see, seem, give, take, keep, make, put, send, say, let, get.
Primary formspast: walked example: She walked home
Secondary formspast participle: walked example: She has walked home
4 more rows

What are the 50 most common verbs in English? ›

The Most Common English Verbs
  1. 1. to be. Conjugation: to be. Definition: ...
  2. 2. to have. Conjugation: to have. Definition: ...
  3. 3. to ask. Conjugation: to ask. Definition: ...
  4. 4. to do. Conjugation: to do. Definition: ...
  5. 5. to get. Conjugation: to get. ...
  6. 6. to go. Conjugation: to go. ...
  7. 7. to hear. Conjugation: to hear. ...
  8. 8. to say. Conjugation: to say.
Aug 16, 2022

What are the 23 main verbs? ›

To the tune of "Jingle Bells", he sang: Helping verbs, helping verbs, there are 23! Am, is, are, was and were, being, been, and be, Have, has, had, do, does, did, will, would, shall and should.

What are the 24 main verbs? ›

24 Auxiliary Verbs List With Examples #7
  • I must go.
  • Go I must.
  • He must have gone.
  • He must be a liar.
  • You must do this.
  • You must not tell a lie.
  • You must be a rich man.
  • You must have been absent.
Nov 7, 2022

What are 10 strong verbs? ›

Top 10 Powerful Verbs
1SaidScreamed, shouted, sobbed, talked, whispered, yawned, hummed
8LaughedGiggled, smiled, smirked, admired, grinned, guffawed
9FoundLocated, unearthed, identified, collected, gathered
10RanJogged, pelted, raced, stumbled, staggered, swayed, galloped
6 more rows

What is a main verb list? ›

Given below is a list of a few common verbs that can function as main verbs.
  • Write.
  • Speak.
  • Read.
  • Talk.
  • Walk.
  • Sit.
  • Jump.
  • Swim.

What are five strong verbs? ›

Strong Verbs List
  • shouted.
  • called.
  • commented.
  • queried.
  • announced.
  • whispered.
  • murmured.
  • whimpered.
Apr 6, 2021

What are the 5 kinds of verb? ›

There are five basic types of construction of English verbs (as indicated above): intransitive verbs, linking verbs, mono-transitive (having one object), di-transitive (having two objects) and complex-transitive (having an object and a complement). An English verb may belong to one or more of the five types.

What are the 5 characteristics of a verb? ›

Verbs show action (walk, run, write) or a state of being (be, feel, smell, and seem). Verbs have several characteristics: form, tense, person, number, voice, and mood. Some verbs can stand alone in sentence; other verbs are helping verbs.

What is a verb give 5 examples for kids? ›

A verb is a main part of speech that is often used to describe or indicate an action. Sentences are not complete without a verb. Here are some examples: jog, stop, hear, call, explore and believe.

What are the 8 types of verbs? ›

There are 8 types of verbs in the English language: action verbs, linking verbs, auxiliary verbs, modal verbs, incomplete verbs, finite Verbs, infinite Verbs, and, non-finite.

What are the 25 verbs? ›

Top 25 regular verbs
Present SimplePast SimplePast Participle
21 more rows

What are the 15 action verbs? ›

15 Action Verbs for Your Resume
  • Championed. Use instead of “Held” ...
  • Instructed. Use instead of “Talked to” ...
  • Exceeded. Use instead of “Did” or “Met” ...
  • Accomplished. Use instead of “Responsible for” ...
  • Improved. Use instead of “Duties included” ...
  • Conceptualized. Use instead of “Came up with” ...
  • Maximized. Use instead of “Increased” ...
  • Directed.

What are the 15 types of verbs? ›

  • Phrasal Verbs.
  • Regular Verbs.
  • Verb Forms.
  • Finite Verbs.
  • Helping Verbs.
  • Irregular Verbs.
  • Linking Verbs.
  • Main Verbs.

Can you have 4 verbs in a sentence? ›

Theoretically, it is possible to have an infinite numbers of verbs in a single sentence. In actual usage, even simple sentences frequently contain more than one "main verb" in what is called a compound predicate.

What are 4 aspects of verbs? ›

There are four main aspects: simple, progressive, perfect, and perfect progressive. Since all verbs have both tense and aspect, all combinations of tenses and aspects, such as past progressive and future perfect, are possible.

What are the 4 principles of verbs? ›

A verb has four principal parts: the present, the present participle, the past, and the past participle. The first principal part, called the present, is the form of a verb that is listed in a dictionary.

How many verbs in a sentence? ›

There can be more than one main verb within a sentence, depending on the complexity of the sentence. In general, there is only one main verb per clause; but if a sentence has multiple clauses and subjects, then each of those subjects could have its own main verb.

What is the 2 verbs rule? ›

Consecutive verbs, also called catenative verbs or linked verbs, are verbs that can be followed directly by a second verb, the second verb being normally the object of the first. Depending on the first verb used, the second verb will be in the form of a gerund (-ing form) or of an infinitive with to.

What are the rules of verbs? ›

Subject–Verb Agreement Rules
  • If the subject is singular, the verb must be singular too. ...
  • If the subject is plural, the verb must also be plural. ...
  • When the subject of the sentence is composed of two or more nouns or pronouns connected by and, use a plural verb.

What are the 20 main verbs? ›

25 Most Common Verbs
  • be.
  • have.
  • do.
  • say.
  • get.
  • make.
  • go.
  • know.

What are the 8 forms of verbs? ›

It has eight different forms: be, am, is, are, was, were, being, been. The present simple and past simple tenses make more changes than those of other verbs.

What are the five 5 properties of verbs *? ›

  • TENSE.
  • VOICE.
  • MOOD.
Dec 8, 2002

What are the elements of a verb? ›

Verb phrases themselves have three basic elements (other than tense markers), which are the subject pronoun, the verb (or head of the verb phrase), and the object pronoun suffix. Thus verb phrases are, in a sense, like miniature sentences. Both sentences and verb phrases have subjects, and both have objects.

What is the base form of the verb? ›

The base form (or root) of a verb is the form listed in the dictionary. It is the version of the verb without any endings (endings such as -s, -ing, and ed). The base form is the same as the infinitive (e.g., to walk, to paint, to think) but without the to.

What are the six tenses of verbs? ›

The six tenses are:
  • Simple present.
  • Present perfect.
  • Simple past.
  • Past perfect.
  • Future.
  • Future perfect.
Nov 21, 2022


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