Verbs – Definition, Types, Uses, and Examples

Definition of a Verb

The Oxford Learners’ Dictionary defines a ‘verb’ as “a word or group of words that express an action (such as eat), an event (such as happen) or a state (such as exist)”. According to the Cambridge Dictionary, a ‘verb’ is defined as “a word or phrase that describes an action, condition, or experience”. The Collins Dictionary provides a much more elaborate definition of a verb. According to them, “A verb is a word such as ‘ sing’, ‘ feel’, or ‘ die’ which is used with a subject to say what someone or something does or what happens to them, or to give information about them”.

Verbs Referring to Actions

Verbs referring to action (action verbs) are those that involve the movement of one’s body in one way or the other. Some examples of verbs referring to actions are as follows:

  • Walk
  • Run
  • Talk
  • Sit
  • Read
  • Write
  • Jog
  • Cough
  • Sleep
  • Jump
  • Sing
  • Drink
  • Teach
  • Present
  • Build
  • Break
  • Tow
  • Toss
  • Hug
  • Fight

Verbs Referring to Experiences or Feelings

These are verbs that refer to something that you can feel or experience and do not necessarily involve a movement of any kind. Some examples of verbs referring to feelings and experiences are as follows:

  • Love
  • Hate
  • Envy
  • Believe
  • Trust
  • Feel
  • Entrust
  • Experience
  • Care
  • Cherish
  • Sense
  • Know
  • Recognize
  • Understand
  • Comprehend
  • Like
  • Need
  • Adore
  • Loathe
  • Appreciate

Verbs Referring to a State or Condition

These verbs are those that refer to situations or the state of being. All forms of ‘to be’ verbs belong to this category. Some examples of verbs referring to a state or condition are as follows:

  • Am
  • Is
  • Are
  • Was
  • Were
  • Have
  • Has
  • Will be
  • Appear
  • Seem
  • Become
  • Been
  • Being

Auxiliary Verbs

Auxiliary verbs, also known as helping verbs, are special kinds of verbs that work together with another verb to make it make more sense. They help change the tense (when something happened), mood (how something feels), or voice (who is doing the action) of the main verb. So, whenever you see an auxiliary verb, there’s always another verb with it, which is the most important action in the sentence.

Some examples of auxiliary verbs are:

  • Am
  • Is
  • Are
  • Was
  • Were
  • Have
  • Has
  • Do
  • Will
  • Can

Remember, when using auxiliary verbs, you need to match them correctly with the tense of the sentence. Also, interestingly, some auxiliary verbs can also work as the main verb in a sentence. There are also special verbs called modal verbs that can help other verbs, but they can’t be the main verb themselves.

Practice exercises on auxiliary verbs to get better at using them.

Modal Verbs

Modal verbs are another type of special verbs. They help show if something is possible, likely, able to happen, or necessary. Unlike other helping verbs, modal verbs can’t be the main action in a sentence.

Here are some examples of modal verbs:

  • Can
  • Could
  • Will
  • Would
  • May
  • Might
  • Should
  • Must
  • Ought to

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *