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Verb


A Verb is used to express action or state. It tells what is happening. It is the key element in the predicate, one of the two main parts of a sentence. Action verbs include such words as throw, sail, run, climb, read, give, take, eat, pass, fail, rise, emerge, disappear, open, build, lose, die, and feel. Some verbs, such as feel, seem, and "to be," the most frequently used verb, express a state. A verb is also termed a simple predicate.

Active-Passive Voice Verbs have two voices: In sentences using the active voice (e.g., Bill threw the ball), the subject performs the verb action. In sentences using the passive voice (e.g., The ball was thrown by Bill), the subject is the receiver of the verb action. The active voice is used for most statements and questions. The passive voice is used to emphasize the object.

Transitive Verbs A transitive verb is any verb that acts on a direct object (e.g., She read the letter. He washed the dishes. He manages a small business. She teaches school.). A transitive verb makes no sense without an object or transitive.

Intransitive Verbs An intransitive verb is a verb that has no direct object. Although the verb involves an action, the action is not done to anyone or anything else (e.g., He runs every morning. She shopped until she dropped. They danced until dawn.). Many verbs can be transitive or intransitive depending on their use. An intransitive verb is neither an auxiliary verb nor a linking verb.

Linking Verbs A linking verb connects a subject to its predicate without expressing action. Linking verbs describe or rename their subjects. They include the so-called sense verbs (to feel, to look, to taste, to smell), to be, to appear, to become, to seem, and to sound. With the exception of to seem, linking verbs can be transitive or intransitive. The verb to be can be a linking verb or an auxiliary verb. (e.g., he is the owner, she seems healthy, it tastes great, the food on the bottom shelf smelled terrible, it sounds interesting)

Auxiliary Verbs An auxiliary verb accompanies another verb in order to help to express the person, tense, mood, voice, or condition of the latter verb. The verbs to have, to be, to do, with, can, may, and shall are commonly used auxiliary verbs. An auxiliary verb is also termed a helping verb.

The Gerund Form - The gerund form is the present participle (basic verb + -ing) used as a subject or a direct object of a sentence, or as an object of a preposition (e.g., Singing is fun).

The Infinitive Form - The infinitive (to + a basic verb) can be used as a subject or a direct object of a sentence.
The Gerund Form - The gerund form is the present participle (basic verb + -ing) used as a subject or a direct object of a sentence, or as an object of a preposition (e.g., Singing is fun).

Infinitive A verb form that possesses characteristics of both verb and noun and is usually preceded by "to" (to start, to leave, to sing). Although the preposition announces the infinitive, it does not form part of the infinitive itself.

Gerund The present participle of a verb that is used as a noun. The verb form that ends in "ing" when used as a noun. Although the gerund is used like a noun, it retains certain characteristics of a verb, such as the ability to take an object (e.g. Preparing lasagna is time-consuming or Golfing is his first love). The same word can be used as an adjective (I spied the running figure) or part of a verb (She was knitting).

Tense The form of a verb that denotes the relationship between the action and time is called its tense. The basic tenses (present, past, future) and variations tell if an action is taking place, took place, or will take place, etc. The progressive tenses also denote action either in progress (is walking), in the past (was walking), or in the future (will be walking). The perfect tense is used for action that began in the past and continues in the present (has walked), that was completed in the past (had walked), or that will be completed in the future action (will have walked)

Frequently, verb endings change in agreement with the subject. For example, the present tense of the verb to run is I run, you run, he runs, etc., but the past tense is I ran, you ran, he ran, etc.

Twelve tenses of a number of different English verbs can be reviewed by clicking on Conjugated Verbs. The twelve tenses are:

  1. Present Tense
    • For all verbs except the verb to be, use the subject + the basic verb + -s with he/she/it. (e.g., I speak)

  2. Present Progressive Tense
    • Use the verb to be + a present participle (e.g., He is speaking). The tense describes action that began in the past and is not yet finished.

  3. Past Tense
    • For all verbs, except the verb to be, use the subject + a past tense form for statements (e.g., She has finished). For a negative statement, use did + a basic verb.

  4. Present Perfect Tense
    • Use a present tense form of have + the past participle (e.g., She has eaten). This tense uses past experience at an unspecified time to describe the present. (I have worked).

  5. Present Perfect Progressive Tense
    • Use the present tense of have + been + the present participle (e.g., You have been eating) The tense describes action in progress in the past.

  6. Past Progressive Tense
    • Use the subject + the past of to be + the present participle (e.g., I was eating). The tense describes an action in progress in the past when something else happened.

  7. Past Perfect Tense
    • Use the subject + had + the past participle (e.g., I had eaten).
    • The tense describes a past action that occurred before another action or event.

  8. Past Perfect Progressive Tense
    • Use the subject + had been + the present participle (e.g., I had been eating). The tense describes action that was in progress before another action or event.

  9. Future Tense
    • Use the subject + will + the basic verb (e.g., You will eat). It describes an anticipated action.

  10. Future Progressive Tense
    • Use the subject + will be + the present participle (e.g., I will be eating). The tense describes an action that will be in progress in the future.

  11. Future Perfect Tense
    • Use the subject + will have + the past participle (e.g., I will have eaten). The verb is usually followed by a specific time, date, or event. The tense describes an action that will be completed by the specific future time.

  12. Future Perfect Progressive Tense
    • Use the subject + will have been + the present participle (e.g., I will have been eating). The tense describes an action that will have been in progress [usually for a particular period of time] at a specific point in the future.


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