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Verbs

What is a verb?

A verb is one of the main parts of a sentence or question in English.
In fact, you can’t have a sentence or a question without a verb! That’s how important these “action” parts of speech are.

The verb signals an action, an occurrence, or a state of being. Whether mental, physical, or mechanical, verbs always express activity.

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.

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 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 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

How many types of verbs are there? 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 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.

Transitive Verbs

Transitive verbs are action verbs that always express doable activities. These verbs always have direct objects, meaning someone or something receives the action of the verb.

Intransitive Verbs

Intransitive verbs are action verbs that always express doable activities. No direct object follows an intransitive verb.

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.

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.

Modal Verbs

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

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.

Irregular Verbs

Irregular verbs are those that don’t take on the regular spelling patterns of past simple and past participle verbs.

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