The word which is used to indicate the act is known as verb.
An action word is called verb.
No sentence can be considered complete without a verb as verb is an essential part of a sentence.
Action and Linking Verb
Let us consider two more sentences from the same passage.
· I work a six day week.
· Each day is divided into
In the first sentence work is a verb as it indicates an action.
In second sentence is is a verb though it does not indicate an action.
Work is said to be an Action Verb.
Is is said to be a Linking Verb.
Now let us see what does these two mean;
Action Verb is a word that says something about the subject e.g. Boys Play, Mother cleans, Girls cook, Father serves.
Linking Verb cannot complete the sentence by itself. It is followed by other word or words which are known as subject complete. These words may be nouns, pronouns, adjectives or adverbs.
She is pretty girl.
(Linking Verb followed by an adjective)
She is eating.
(Linking Verb followed by an action verb)
Transitive and Intransitive Verb
Action verbs can be used in two different ways i.e. “Transitive” and “Intransitive”
Consider the following examples
I ate a banana.
I broke a cup.
She stopped the car.
He rang the bell.
You might have noticed that in the first four sentences there is an object after the verb and in the absence of the object the sentence does not make any clear sense. In such a case verb is known Transitive Verb.
Sentence pattern here is
S V O
S V O
Subject Verb Object
In this case verb is known as Intransitive.
Some verbs may be transitive in one sentence and intransitive in another.
I ate a cake I ate heartily
He played a match He played very well
They stopped the car They stopped immediately.
Some verb which are transitive may be used intransitively to express a passive idea. Their subjects usually denote things rather than persons.
The books were easily read.
The bread was very soft.
The houses were clean.
All linking verbs are intransitive.
Auxiliary and Lexical Verbs
Let’s see the following sentences.
She has been crying for hours.
I will be having dinner at that time.
They might approve this effort.
In all these sentences action verb has been used with other words to make meaningful sentences. These helping words are known as Auxiliary Verbs e.g. has been, will be, might. Auxiliary Verbs help the main (action) verb and tell the time (present, past future). Following are the most commonly used auxiliaries:
Shall, should, have, be, may, might, do, will, would, can, could etc.
If two or more words are joined together into a single verb phrase that functions as the full verb of the predicate, the first part of the phrase is the auxiliary and the second part is the lexical verb. Let us analyze the above sentences.
1. She has been crying for hours.
(has been) is the auxiliary verb.
(crying) is the lexical verb.
2. I will be having
‘will be’ (auxiliaries)
This shows that auxiliary verb acts as a ‘helping’ verb to the lexical main verb.
But there are some auxiliaries which occur independently such as:
‘be’, ‘have’ ‘do’
Similarly a lexical verb may have no auxiliaries.
He cries, he cries
No auxiliary he cries
One auxiliary he will cry
Two auxiliaries he has been crying
Three he may have been crying
The Principal Parts of a Verb
Having discussed the various kinds of verb let us now see how a verb can be used in different sentences.
One verb can be used in four different ways in four different sentences. Let us take the example of eat. It can be used in the following ways:
1. I eat banana (Infinitive Simple form)
2. I am eating banana (Present participle)
3. I ate banana (used for perfect tense or passive forms)
These basic forms of a verb are called the principal parts of the verb.
All the verbs do not form their past and past participle in same way. A verb that forms its past and past participle by adding ‘d’ or ‘ed’ to its infinitive is called a Regular Verb.
Decide, work, talk, listen, knock, laugh, ask, miss.
There are many verbs which do not follow any set rules and form their past and past participle in some other way. Such verbs are known as Irregular Verbs.
Sleep Slept Slept
Speak Spoke Spoken
Eat Ate Eaten
Begin Began Begun
Read Read Read
Bring Brought Brought
Think Thought Thought
Freeze Froze Frozen
Cry Cried Cried
Verbs does not only tell us the action carried out by the subject but also the time in which the action is carried out. The time expressed by a verb is called the tense of the verb. Every verb has six tenses.
The present tense I sleep
The past tense I slept
The future tense I will sleep
The present perfect tense I have slept
The past perfect tense I had slept
The future perfect tense I will have slept or would
Each of the six tenses has an additional form called the progressive from, which expresses continuing action.
The progressive forms of the above are given here.
The present continuous I am sleeping
The past continuous I was sleeping
The future continuous I will be sleeping
The present perfect continuous I have been sleeping
The past perfect continuous I had been sleeping
The future perfect continuous I will have been sleeping
Linking verbs which we have already discussed in detail besides performing the linking purpose serve as helping verbs as well in verb phrases. A verb phrase consists of a main verb preceded by one or more helping verbs. These helping verbs work together with main verbs as a unit known as verb phrase.
Helping verbs Main verbs
Had been thinking
May have been stolen
Phrasal verbs can also be formed by adding a preposition to certain verbs. This changed the meaning of the verb; let us see a few examples:
Unfortunately the plan fell through.
I’m fed up with all these delays.
I wanted to find out where she lived.
He was accused of taking part in the robbery two years ago, but he got off. (was found not guilty).
She never really got over the death of her husband.
Daughters are good at getting round their fathers (making them do what they want).
They argued and argued, but eventually George gave in. (surrendered).
The bomb was set to go of in ten minutes (explode).
I’m sorry I was held up. (Delayed).