A verb is a word or group of words that expresses time while showing an action, a condition or the fact that something exists.
Two types of verbs:
- ACTION verb—tells what action someone or something is performing
Ex. The boys played cards at lunch. (action the boys did)
The player considered his next move. (mental action of the player)
***The person/thing that performs the action is the subject.
- LINKING verb—connects subject with a word generally found near the end of sentence and identifies/renames/describes the subject
Ex. Ronald Reagan was president. (president renames Ronald Reagan)
Justin Verlander is talented. (talented describes Verlander)
The verb BE is the most common linking verb:
am/is/are am/is/are being
was/were was/were being
can/may/must be shall/will/might be
has/have/had been may/might/shall/will have been
could/would/should have been
Verbs that can be either ACTION or LINKING: appear, come, feel, grow, look, remain, seem, smell, sound, stay, taste, turn
Ex. The mice smell the cheese in the trap. (Action)
The lilacs smell so fragrant. (Linking)
HINT: to determine the function of a verb, insert is/am/are in place of the verb. If sentence makes sense linking the 2 words, the verb is serving as LV.
Ex. John looks busy. (John is busy) LV
John looks at the book. (John is at the book doesn’t make sense) AV
TRANSITIVE verb directs its action to the object of the verb
To determine if it’s a transitive verb, ask WHOM/WHAT after the verb
Ex. Sam wrote a letter.
Wrote what? Letter. This has to be a transitive verb. Letter is the object of the verb.
Ex. The principal questioned the student.
Questioned whom? Student. This has to be a transitive verb. Student is the object of the verb.
INTRANSITIVE verbs NEVER have objects!
Ex. The birds fly south.
Fly what/whom? NO answer, so it must be an intransitive verb.
Ex. The soldiers fight for their country.
Fight what/whom? NO answer, so it must be an intransitive verb.
LINKING VERBS ARE ALWAYS INTRANSITIVE!!!
Figure out if the verb is Action or Linking FIRST, then determine if it’s transitive or intransitive
Action verbs can be either transitive or intransitive depending on how they’re used
A verb phrase is a verb with 1, 2 or 3 helping verbs (auxiliary verbs)
Ex. I will be helping the players this afternoon.
Forms of BE are helping verbs. Other helping verbs are:
do, does, did has, have, had shall, should can, could
will, would may, might, must
***Verb phrases are often interrupted by other words. Locate the main verb first, and then look for any other helping verbs that precede the main verb.
Ex. My parents will probably not buy me a new phone this month.
Click on the link below for verb practice!