Verb - What is a Verb?

Verb is a word that denotes an action or being of a subject. (What a subject is or does). For example:

  • He goes to college everyday.
  • It usually rains in July.
  • She locked the door.
  • She is a doctor.
  • I am a teacher.
  • Edward was absent yesterday.

  • A verb sometimes denotes possession also, for example:

  • Elina has curly hairs
  • They had a lot of money.
  • I have a new car

  • Types of Verbs

    Verbs are of following main types:

    1. Transitive Verb
    2. Intransitive Verb
    3. Auxiliary or Helping Verb
    a. Principal Auxiliaries
    b. Modals

    1. Transitive Verb

    Transitive verb is a verb that requires an object after it to complete the sense of a sentence. Lets see a few examples:

  • I bought a book.
  • They are eating mangoes
  • She closed the door.
  • Barney killed a snake.

  • In the above examples the words bought, eating, closed and killed are verbs. All these verbs require an object, so a book, mangoes, the door and a snake are the objects that helped the verbs to form a complete sentence.

    Note: Most transitive verbs take a single object. However such transitive verbs as give, ask, offer, promise, tell, etc. may take two objects after them.

    An indirect object which denotes the person to whom something is given or for whom something is done, and a direct object which is usually the name of something.

    2. Intransitive Verb

    Intransitive verb is a verb that does not requires an object after it to complete the sense of a sentence. See the examples given below:

  • She was sleeping.
  • The hunter fired.
  • The sun is shining.
  • They jumped.

  • But if we add an object to an intransitive verb, generally preposition precedes the object:

  • He wept at his loss.
  • The sun is shining in the sky.
  • They jumped into the river.

  • Note: Most verbs can be used as transitive and as intransitive verbs. It is, therefore, better to say that a verb is used transitively or intransitively rather than that it is transitive or intransitive.

    Verbs Video

    3. Auxiliary or Helping Verbs

    Auxiliary verbs are helping verbs that help the main verbs to complete the meaning or sense of the sentence. Examples given below will clarify the things further:

  • She has written a letter.
  • ('has' is helping 'written', the main verb)

  • They are repairing the defective vehicle.
  • ('are' is helping 'repairing' the main verb)

  • I was writing an essay.
  • ('was' is helping 'writing' the main verb)

  • He has completed his work.
  • ('has' is helping 'completed' the main verb)

    am, is, are, have, has, do, does, was, had, did, been , done are some of the helping verbs those help the main verb to make a sense of the sentence.

    There are two types of auxiliaries:

    a. Principal Auxiliaries

    Be (is/am/are/was/were/been), Have (has/have/had) and Do (do/does/did) are called principal auxiliaries. Principal auxiliaries can be used both as helping verbs and main verbs.

  • I am writing a letter. (helping verb)
  • He was ill yesterday. (main verb)
  • He was going to college. (helping verb)
  • He has broken the glass. (helping verb)
  • They have no interest in the matter. (main verb)

  • b. Modals

    Modals are auxiliary verbs that are used with other verbs to express possibility, permission, intention or necessity.

    will, shall, would, should, may, might, can, could and must are called modals.

    They can be used only as helping verbs. Modals always take first form of verb after them.

  • I shall help you.
  • He will go abroad for higher studies.
  • I would like to thank you.
  • We should co-operate with one another.
  • We ought to abide by the traffic rules.
  • It may rain tomorrow.
  • I can run ten miles at a stretch.
  • My grandfather could speak many languages.

  • You can get a complete list of verbs that start with different alphabets.

    Quotes About Verb

    Leadership is an active role; 'lead' is a verb. But the leader who tries to do it all is headed for burnout, and in a powerful hurry. Bill Owens

    To some people, power is a noun. To others, it's a verb. Andre Carson

    I learned that saying you love your friends isn't enough: that love is a verb - it requires Acts of Love. It is all about the doing, not the saying, and now I make a point, every day, of emailing or phoning or making a plan with those I love. Jane Green

    Let me begin by saying that I am one of those naturally wary people who considers the verb 'return' a kind of insidious threat. John Burnham Schwartz

    But love is really more of an interactive process. It's about what we do not just what we feel. It's a verb, not a noun. bell hooks

    The verb is relatively of much greater importance in an Indian tongue than in a civilized language. John Wesley Powell

    'State' can be a word that is a noun or a verb or an adverb - it's kind of why I chose that title. It's not to confound the audience but to keep me from painting myself into a cul-de-sac in the early stages of making a record by having too high concept or having some really strict set of rules I have to adhere to. Todd Rundgren

    Gratefulness is a double-edged sword. Because I think we've poured it into a feeling. And the batter of gratitude gets kind of stuck to the edges of the Williams Sonoma melamine mixing bowl. But gratefulness, the act of being grateful is actually... a verb. It's an activity. Abigail Spencer

    Wind ought to be a verb or an adverb. It isn't really anything. It's a manner of movement of warmth and cold: a kind of information system of the air. Alice Oswald

    Acting is doing, because everything you say or do is some kind of an action, some kind of a verb. You're always connected to the other person through some kind of action. Mira Sorvino

    Science is not a thing. It's a verb. It's a way of thinking about things. It's a way of looking for natural explanations for all phenomena. Michael Shermer

    Theater is a verb before it is a noun, an act before it is a place. Martha Graham

    Life on earth is more like a verb. It repairs, maintains, re-creates, and outdoes itself. Lynn Margulis

    I believe in the verb, not the noun - I am not a writer, but someone compelled to write. Richard Flanagan

    I thought art was a verb, rather than a noun. Yoko Ono

    I want to rethink 'surrender' as an active verb. Brian Eno

    After the verb 'to Love', 'to Help' is the most beautiful verb in the world. Bertha von Suttner

    I beg you, don't use the verb, 'discover', I hate it. What does it mean, that I didn't exist before? Iman

    Marriage is not a noun; it's a verb. It isn't something you get. It's something you do. It's the way you love your partner every day. Barbara de Angelis

    'Write' is almost the wrong verb for what I do. I think 'compose' is more accurate because you're trying to make the sounds in your mind and in your voice. So I compose while I'm driving or in the shower. Robert Pinsky

    Why indeed must 'God' be a noun? Why not a verb - the most active and dynamic of all. Mary Daly

    One of the glories of English simplicity is the possibility of using the same word as noun and verb. Edward Sapir

    Words originating from the verb 'to die' were frequently used when I described my initial plans to determine the ribosome structure. Ada Yonath

    There is no verb for compassion, but you have an adverb for compassion. That's interesting to me. You act compassionately. But then, how to act compassionately if you don't have compassion? That is where you fake. You fake it and make it. This is the mantra of the United States of America. Dayananda Saraswati

    When people use your brand name as a verb, that is remarkable. Meg Whitman

    A novel is utterly your own creation, a very private process. I think of a novel as a noun and a screenplay as a verb. In a novel, very little needs to happen; you can explore a person's memories and thoughts and fantasies. In a screenplay, it's all action; you must push the story on. Deborah Moggach

    Leisure is not synonymous with time. Nor is it a noun. Leisure is a verb. I leisure. You leisure. Mortimer Adler

    I think that we all do heroic things, but hero is not a noun, it's a verb. Robert Downey, Jr.

    We've been using 'rejuvenate,' meaning to restore youth, to make young again, as a verb for at least 200 years. Erin McKean

    Almost any word can be drafted to serve as a verb, even words we think of as eternal and unchanging, stuck in their more traditional roles. Erin McKean

    Objections to verbification in English tend to be motivated by personal taste, not clarity. Verbed words are usually easily understood. When a word like 'friend' is declared not a verb, the problem isn't that it's confusing; it's that the protester finds it deeply annoying. Erin McKean

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