Verb in English Language

What is a Verb in the English Language?

The verb is very essential in the English language. Because it is considered fundamentally important in how we learn many of the rules of grammar and how we use it. In fact, a recent study (Hadley et al, 2016) showed that you can predict students who will have more advanced grammatical skills at 30 months by the size of their verb vocabularies at 24 months.


Merriam-webster very famous website explains the verb that characteristically is the grammatical centre of a predicate and expresses an act, occurrence, or mode of being, that in various languages is inflected for agreement with the subject, for tense, for voice, for mood, or for aspect, and that typically has rather full descriptive meaning and characterizing quality but is sometimes nearly devoid of these especially when used as an auxiliary or linking verbs.

One of the most common vocabulary goals often work on with students is building a student’s lexicon of verbs. Verbs are the words that talk about actions, or what we do, and it is a very important part of our vocabulary. Without verbs, we would not be able to create and use sentences because there is always at least one verb in every sentence.

Some students have considerable difficulty acquiring and using verbs. Part of the reason for this may be because nouns (people and objects) are things we see and touch making it more concrete and tangible for students as they learn the words, whereas verbs are more abstract and relate to passing events. (Chaterbots)

Here in this article, there are in detail about the verb, their kinds, types, gerund, infinitives, phrasal verb, transitive verb and intransitive verbs. Some information is about regular verb and irregular also.


verb is a word or a combination of words that indicates action or a state of being or condition. A verb is the part of a sentence that tells us what the subject performs. Verbs are the hearts of English sentences. (Learn English)

A word or phrase that describes an action, condition, or experience: The words “run“, “keep“, and “feel” are all verbs. (Cambridge Dictionary)


The verb is a very important parts of speech in the English language. “a word that asserts or declares; that part of speech of which the office is prediction, and which, either alone or with various modifiers or adjuncts, combines with a subject to make a sentence” (century Dictionary)

In the late 14 century; old French ‘verbe’ word means ‘word of God’; saying; part of speech that expresses action or being. In Latin language; the word ‘verbum’ originally a word from PIE root means ‘to speak’. In Sanskrit language verb; the word ‘vrata’ means command, in Greek language; ‘rhetra means agreement. (Etymonline)

Types of Verbs

There are two kinds of the verb in the English Language;

Main verb/Action verb

Action verbs are words that express action (give, eat, walk, etc.) or possession (have, own, etc.). Action verbs can be either transitive or intransitive.

Transitive verb

A transitive verb always has a noun that receives the action of the verb, called the direct object. Example: Lissa raises her hand. The verb is raised. Her hand is the object receiving the verb’s action. Therefore, raises is a transitive verb. Transitive verbs sometimes have indirect objects, which name the object to whom or for whom the action was done. Example: Abdul gave Becky the pencil. The verb is given. The direct object is the pencil. (What did he give? The pencil.) The indirect object is Becky. (To whom did he give it? To Becky.)

Intransitive verb

An intransitive verb never has a direct or indirect object. Although an intransitive verb may be followed by an adverb or adverbial phrase, there is no object to receive its action. Example: Lissa rises slowly from her seat. The verb is rises. The phrase, slowly from her seat, modifies the verb, but no object receives the action.

 To determine whether a verb is transitive or intransitive, follow these two steps:

Find the verb in the sentence.

Example 1: Dustin will lay down his book. What is the action? will lay

Example 2: His book will lie there all day. What is the action? will lie

Ask yourself, “What is receiving the action of the verb?” If there is a noun receiving the action of the verb, then the verb is transitive. If there is no direct object to receive the action, and if the verb does not make sense with a direct object, then it is intransitive.

Example 1: Duowad will lay down his book. Duowad will lay down what? His book. Since the verb can take a direct object, it is transitive.

Example 2: His book will lie there all day. His book will lie what? Nothing. It does not make sense to “lie something.” Since the verb has no direct object, it is intransitive.

Regular verb

A verb that’s past (2ndform) and past participle (3rd form) is made by adding ‘d’ or ‘ed’ is called a regular verb. A regular verb list is given below.

Example: Walk, walked, walked

Talk, talked, talked

Watch, watched, watched

Irregular verb

If the formation of the verb is otherwise than the regular verb, it is called an irregular verb.

For example: shut, shut, shut

Write, wrote, written

Drink, drank, drunk

Auxiliary verb

Linking Verb

A linking verb connects the subject of a sentence to a noun or adjective that renames or describes the subject. This noun or adjective is called the subject complement.

Example: Jabir became a business major. The verb, became, links the subject, Jason, to its complement, a business major.

Lisa is in love with Jabir. The verb is, links the subject, Lisa, to the subject complement, in love with Jason (describing Lisa).

The most common linking verb is the verb to be in all of its forms (am, are, is, was, were, etc.). These verbs may also be used as helping verbs. To become and to seem are always linking verbs.

Other verbs may be linking verbs in some cases and action verbs in others:

to appear, to feel, to look, to remain, to stay, to taste, to continue, to grow, to prove, to sound, to smell, to turn.

Linking: Laiba appeared happy. (Appeared links Libby to the subject complement, happy.)

Action: Daniyal suddenly appeared. (Here, appeared is an intransitive action verb.)

Helping Verb

Helping verbs are used before action or linking verbs to convey additional information regarding aspects of possibility (can, could, etc.) or time (was, did, has, etc.). The main verb with its accompanying helping verb is called a verb phrase.

Examples: Tahir is (helping verb) going (main verb) to Florida. The trip might (helping verb) be (main verb) dangerous. The following words, called modals, always function as helping verbs: can, may, must, shall, will, could, might, ought to, should, would.

Examples: Taniya could learn to fly helicopters. (Could helps the main verb, learn.) Janine will drive to Idaho tomorrow. (Will helps the main verb, drive.) In addition, the following forms of the verbs to be, to do, and to have sometimes serve as helping verbs. These are; am, be, being, do, had, have, was, are, been, did, does, has, is, were, helping verbs in the English language. Examples;

Helping: Jana Is Moving To A New House.

Linking: Jana Is Ready To Go.

Helping: Dustin Did Eat His Vegetables!

Action: Dustin did his homework last night.

Phrasal Verb

Phrasal verbs are phrases that indicate actions. They are generally used in spoken English and informal texts. Examples of such verbs include: turn down, come across and run into.

Mostly Phrasal verbs consist of a verb and a preposition or an adverb, the following are the examples which elaborate in simple way.

Get +up = get up

Go+ through = go through

Take + after = take after

Sometimes phrasal verbs consist of three elements:

Look + forward + to =Look forward to

Sit + in + for =Sit in for

Put + up + with = Put up with

When added to the verb the preposition or adverb may change completely the meaning of the verb. Here are some examples:

Look + up + to = look up to; her mother is the person she looks up to.

Look + for = look for; he is looking for his car.

It might be difficult to interpret the meaning of phrasal verbs at times. It would be beneficial to use the context to comprehend them before looking them up in a dictionary.

Literal meaning

There is a literal meaning to some phrasal verbs. They are simple to comprehend.

  • She opened the door and looked outside.
  • She was walking across the street when she heard the sound of an explosion.

Idiomatic meaning

Phrasal verbs can have figurative or idiomatic meanings, making them difficult to comprehend.

  • Can you put me up for tonight?
    The phrasal verb ‘put up‘ here does not mean to build (as in putting a fence up). It has, however, an idiomatic/figurative meaning. It means to let someone stay in your house.

Modal verb

A modal is a type of auxiliary (helping) verb that is used to express: ability, possibility, permission or obligation. Modal phrases (or semi-modals) are used to express the same things as modals but are a combination of auxiliary verbs and the preposition to. The modals and semi-modals in English are:

  1. Can/could/be able to;

I can fly kite.

I am able to fly kite.

  1. May/might;

You may accept my offer.

He might be late tonight.

  1. Shall/should;

I shall do my homework.

We should clean our home.

  1. Must/have to;

You must go there.

You have to drink this drink.

  1. Will/would;

I will go there with a friend.

He would use the car for travelling.

The Infinitive

Infinitive Verb in English
Infinitive Verb in the English Language

The infinitive is a verb’s fundamental form. When we talk about infinitives in English, we usually mean the present infinitive, which is the most prevalent. The perfect infinitive, perfect continuous infinitive, continuous infinitive, and passive infinitive are the four additional forms of the infinitive.

The present infinitive has two forms:

  • the to-infinitive = to + base

Examples; to sit, to eat, to play, to go

  • the zero infinitives = base

Examples; sit, eat, play, go

  • the negative Infinitive = not + to + base

Examples; I might not to come. I decided not to play cricket. We’d rather not to eat meat.

Functions of the to-infinitive

In numerous sentence structures, the to-infinitive is employed to describe the aim of something or someone’s viewpoint about something. The to-infinitive is also used after a huge number of distinct verbs. See this page for further information on verbs that are followed by infinitives.

  1. The to-infinitive to indicate the purpose or intention of an action
  1. He came to collect his pay cheque.
  2. The three horses went to find grass.
  3. I am calling to ask you about Mom.
  4. Your sister has gone to finish her home task.


2.      The to-infinitive as the subject of the sentence

This is a formal usage and is far more common in written English than in spoken.

  1. To be or not to be, that is the question.
  2. To know her is to love her.
  3. To visit the Grand Canyon is my life-long dream.
  4. To understand statistics, that is our aim.
  1. The to-infinitive to indicate what something can or will be used for
  1. The children need a ground to play in.
  2. I would like a burger to eat.
  3. I don’t have anything to eat.
  4. Would you like something to wear?
  1. The to-infinitive after adjectives

The formulae is; subject + to be + adjective + (for/of someone) + to-infinitive + (rest of sentence)


  1. It is good to talk.
  2. It is important to talk to me.
  3. It is necessary to talk to that person.
  4. I am happy to be here.

5. The to-infinitive to make a comment or judgment

To use the to-infinitive when making a comment or judgment about a noun, the pattern is:
Subject + to be + noun phrase + to-infinitive


  1. It was a bad idea to tell her.
  2. He is the best boy to hire.
  3. This the right thing to do.
  4. That is the dangerous way to go.
    1. The to-infinitive with adverbs

The to-infinitive is frequently used with the adverbs too and enough to indicate our satisfaction or dissatisfaction. Too and enough are put before or after the adjective, adverb, or noun that they modify in the same manner they would be if the to-infinitive were not present. After that, we use the to-infinitive to explain why the number is excessive, adequate, or insufficient. Normally, the to-infinitive and everything after it can be deleted, leaving a grammatically sound statement.

  1. There’s too much sugar to put in this bowl.
  2. I had too many books to carry.
  3. This soup is too hot to eat.
  4. She was too tired to work.
  5. He arrived too late to see the actors.
  6. I’ve had enough food to eat.
  7. She’s old enough to make up her own mind.
  8. There isn’t enough snow to ski on.
  9. You’re not old enough to have grandchildren!

7.      The to-infinitive with question words

The verbs ask, decide, explain, forget, know, show, tell, & understand can be followed by a question word such as where, how, what, who, & when + the to-infinitive.

  1. She asked me how to use the washing machine.
  2. Do you understand what to do?
  3. Tell me when to press the button.
  4. I’ve forgotten where to put this little screw.
  5. I’m not sure I know who to call.

Functions of the zero infinitive

1.      The zero infinitive after auxiliaries


  1. He saw her fall from the roof.
  2. We heard them close the gate.
  3. They saw us walk toward the road.
  4. She felt the spider crawl up her hand.

2.      The zero infinitive after the verbs “make” and “let”


  1. Her parents let her stay out late.
  2. Let’s go to the Ali tonight.
  3. You made me come with Sara.
  4. Don’t make me study that boring English book!
  1. The zero infinitives after the expression “had better”


  1. They had better take some warm clothing.
  2. She had better ask me not to come.
  3. We had better reserve a room in the city five-star hotel.
  4. You’d better give me your car.
  5. They had better work harder on their essay writing.

4.      The zero infinitive with “why”

The question word why is followed by the zero infinitives when making suggestions.


  1. Why wait until tomorrow?
  2. Why not ask her now?
  3. Why leave before the end of the match?
  4. Why walk when we can go in the bus?
  5. Why not buy a new coach?


Definition 1: A gerund is the –ing form of a verb that functions the same as a noun.

For example, “Running is fun.” In this sentence, “running” is the gerund. It acts just like a noun.

Definition 2: A gerund is a noun formed from a verb. A gerund will always contain the ending “-ing.”

Gerunds are used as a subject, an object, a complement etc.


Verb/ Gerund

  1. I run fast/ I like running
  2. She sings a song. / Singing makes her happy.
  3. He hits the ball. / Hitting a ball is difficult for kids.

Forms of Verbs

There are up to five forms for each verb: root, third-person singular, present participle, past, and past participle.

  1. The Root Form

The base form of the term is the verb’s root form. There are no prefixes or suffixes on roots because they haven’t been conjugated.

Examples: I am going to school. (Root: go)

What did you do yesterday? (Root: do)

  1. Third Person Singular Form of a Verb

The third-person singular conjugation (he/she/it/one) is the verb form that differs from the other conjugations. This verb form ends in s for normal verbs (or sometimes es). Consider the following examples: He sees it, she watches it shrink, and one of them does.

  1. Present Participle Form of a Verb

By adding -ing to the root word, the present participle verb form is made. It’s utilized in the progressive verb tenses of the past, present, and future. Look at the examples below:

We’re going to the party tonight. (Go – going)

They have been watching for hours. (Watch – watching)

We will be playing the tennis before break. (Play – playing)

4, 5. Past and Past Participle Forms of the Verb

The past and past participle verb form can be made from regular verbs’ root word + ‑ed. It’s only used with the past tenses. Consider the examples below:

We shopped for hours on Saturday afternoon. (Shop – shopped)

The books were stacked on the shelf. (Pile – piled)

He had played computer games for the whole weekend. (Play – played)

The past participle can be difficult to determine for some irregular verbs. It’s best to look these up in a dictionary if you’re at all unsure of the past participle. Here are a few examples of irregular verbs:

Root        simple Past      Past Participle

drive        drove                 driven

see            saw                    seen

write         wrote               written

give           gave                 given

go              went                gone


In the end, I must say that verb is the soul of the English language. Without a verb, we cannot make sentences. Though all other parts of speech are also important we can make sentences without these.




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