A verb is a part of speech that describes an action or state of being. It is a word that conveys what someone or something is doing (e.g., "run," "eat," "sleep"). Verbs are essential elements in constructing sentences, as they provide the main action or link between the subject and the rest of the sentence. 


A verb is the action we do.

  • David kicks the ball.
  • Kate runs fast.

A verb is also the state of being. 

  • You are right. 
  • She looks tired.

What is a verb? 

  • "A verb is a word that expresses an action (such as "eat"), an event (such as "happen") or a state (such as "exist")". -Oxford Dictionary
  • "A verb is a word like "ask", "play", "be", "can", which can be used with a subject to form the basis of a clause." -Michael Swan
  • "A verb is a word used for saying something about a person or a thing." -J. C. Nesfield.
  • "A verb is a word used to say something about some person, place, or thing." -Wren & Martin.

Types of Verbs

Verbs can be classified based on several different aspects of their function in a sentence:

1. Based on Function:

Helping Verbs vs Main Verbs: This classification focuses on the verb's role in the sentence. Helping verbs assist the main verb by providing information about tense, mood, or aspect. Main verbs express the core action or state of being.

2. Based on Completeness:

Transitive Verbs vs Intransitive Verbs: This classification looks at whether the verb requires a direct object to complete its meaning. Transitive verbs need an object to receive the action. Intransitive verbs are complete on their own.

3. Based on Meaning:

Action Verbs vs State Verbs: This classification focuses on the type of meaning the verb conveys. Action verbs describe physical or mental activities. State verbs describe a condition or state of being.

4. Based on Finiteness:

Finite Verbs vs Nonfinite Verbs: This classification is based on whether the verb has a tense (past, present, future) and agrees with the subject. Finite verbs can be the main verb in a sentence. Nonfinite verbs lack tense and cannot be the main verb alone. They come in three main forms: infinitives, participles, and gerunds.

5. Based on Pattern of Formation:

Regular Verbs vs Irregular Verbs: This classification is based on how the verb forms its past tense and past participle. Regular verbs follow a predictable pattern with -d or -ed. Irregular verbs have unique forms that need to be memorized.

1. Main vs Helping Verbs

Main Verbs vs. Helping Verbs: The Power Couple of Sentences:

What are Main Verbs?

Main verbs, also known as lexical verbs, are the primary verbs in a sentence that express the main action or state of being. They convey the core meaning of the verb phrase.

Characteristics of Main Verbs:

  • Have Meaning: Main verbs have meaning and indicate what the subject does or the state they are in.
  • Can Stand Alone: They can form a complete predicate by themselves (without any helping verb).

Examples of Main Verbs:

Action Verbs: Describe physical or mental actions.

  • She runs every morning.
  • They think about the problem.

State Verbs: Describe a state or condition.

  • He knows the answer.
  • She owns a car.

What are Helping Verbs?

Helping verbs, also known as auxiliary verbs, assist the main verb in a sentence to form continuous tense, perfect tense, passive voice, questions and negative sentences.

Characteristics of Helping Verbs:

  • Don't Have Meaning: Helping verbs don't have any specific meaning.
  • Cannot Stand Alone: They need to be used with a main verb to complete the meaning.

Examples of Helping Verbs:

  • The dog is barking at the mail carrier. ("Is" is the helping verb, showing present tense)
  • The dog has barked twice. ("Has" is the helping verb, forming the perfect tense)

Number of Helping Verbs:

There are 24 helping verbs in English: am, is, are, was, were, have, has, had, do, does, did, have, has, had, shall, should, will, would, can, could, may, might, must, dare, need, used to and ought to.

Functions of Helping Verbs:
Helping verbs do a lot of things in the sentence. Here are few of them.

1. Form Tense: Helping verbs help the main verbs to form future tense, perfect tense, and continuous tense. 

  • She has run marathons every year.
  • They will complete the project on time.

2. Form Passive Voice: We need helping verbs to form passive voice. 

  • The book is written by my teacher.
  • We were invited in the party.

4. Form Negative Sentence: Helping verbs help to form negative sentences. 

  • do not like spicy food.
  • They did not finish the assignment.

5. Form Questions: Helping verbs help to form interrogative sentences.

  • Do you love me?
  • What does he want?

Remember that not all sentences require helping verbs, and some sentences may have more than one helping verb depending on the complexity of the verb tense or mood.

Helping Verb + Main Verb

Helping verbs cannot stand alone. We use helping verbs before main verbs. Let's look at some examples:

  • I am going to the store. (Helping verb "am" supports the main verb "going.")
  • She has finished her homework. (Helping verb "has" supports the main verb "finished.")
  • They will come to the party. (Helping verb "will" supports the main verb "come.")
  • He should study for the exam. (Helping verb "should" supports the main verb "study.")

2. Transitive vs Intransitive Verbs

Does Your Verb Need an Object? </div>

Understanding the distinction between transitive and intransitive verbs is essential for mastering English grammar. These two categories of verbs are classified based on whether they require a direct object to complete their meaning.

Transitive Verbs: Passing the Action

Imagine a sentence as a game of catch. A transitive verb is like a throwing verb – it needs a receiver, a direct object, to complete its action. The action flows from the subject (the thrower) to the direct object (the catcher).

What are Transitive Verbs?

Transitive verbs are verbs that require one or more objects to complete their meaning. The action of the verb is done to something or someone, which is called the direct object.

Key Points about Transitive Verbs:

  1. They require a direct object to make complete sense.
  2. The direct object answers the question "What?" after the verb.
  3. You can often convert a transitive sentence into the passive voice (e.g., "The meal was cooked by the chef").

Examples of Transitive Verbs:

1. She reads a book.

  • Verb: reads
  • Direct Object: a book (What does she read?)

2. He kicked the ball.

  • Verb: kicked
  • Direct Object: the ball (What did he kick?)

3. They love music.

  • Verb: love
  • Direct Object: music (What do they love?)

Intransitive Verbs: Standing Alone

Intransitive verbs, on the other hand, are like independent players – they don't need a direct object to complete their meaning. They express a complete thought on their own.

  • Example: The child laughed with delight. (Laughed is intransitive)

What Are Intransitive Verbs?

Intransitive verbs do not require a direct object to complete their meaning. The action of the verb is complete in itself, and it does not pass on to an object.

Key Points about Intransitive Verbs:

  1. They do not require a direct object.
  2. They often describe states of being, movements, or actions that don't involve a direct object.
  3. You cannot convert an intransitive sentence into the passive voice (e.g., "Laughed by the child" is grammatically incorrect).

Examples of Intransitive Verbs:

1. She runs.

  • Verb: runs
  • No direct object needed.

2. He sleeps.

  • Verb: sleeps
  • No direct object needed.

3. They laughed.

  • Verb: laughed
  • No direct object needed.

Some Verbs Can Do Both!

Be aware that some verbs can be both transitive and intransitive depending on the context. The key is to understand whether the verb needs an object to complete its action.

Transitive: She sings a song.

  • Verb: sings
  • Direct Object: a song (What does she sing?)

Intransitive: She sings beautifully.

  • Verb: sings
  • No direct object needed.

Identification Tips:

1. Transitive Verbs: Look for the object. Ask "What?" or "Whom?" after the verb.

  • Sentence: He reads a book.
  • Ask the question: He reads (what?)
  • Answer: He reads (a book).

2. Intransitive Verbs: No object follows. The verb stands alone or is followed by adverbs or prepositional phrases.

  • He reads quietly.

Important Rules: 

(i) Every Transitive Verb has a direct object [which is a noun or pronoun].

The structure is: Subject + vt + direct object

  • Cows eat grass.
  • Dogs like meat. 

(ii) If a transitive verb has a direct object and an indirect object, the indirect one is placed before the direct object. 

The structure is: Subject + vt + indirect object + direct object

  • He gave me a rose. 

(iii) If you put the indirect object after the direct object, you need to put a preposition before the indirect object. 

The structure is: Subject + vt + direct object + preposition + indirect object

  • He gave a rose to me. 

(iv) Transitive verbs can be used in passive form. 

  • Grass is eaten by cows.
  • Meat is liked by dogs. 

(v) Intransitive verb does not have any object. 

  • Cows moo.
  • Dogs bark

(vi) Intransitive verbs are not used in passive form.

3. Action vs Stative Verbs

Action vs. Stative Verbs: Depicting Dynamics and Describing States

In English grammar, verbs are essential components that help us describe actions, states, and occurrences. They can be broadly categorized into action verbs and stative verbs. Understanding the difference between these two types of verbs is crucial for proper sentence construction and effective communication.

Action Verbs: Bringing the Scene to Life

Imagine a sentence as a movie scene. Action verbs are like the exciting moments – they depict physical or mental activities, bringing the scene to life.

  • Example: The runner sprinted towards the finish line. ('Sprinted' is an action verb, depicting a physical activity)

What Are Action Verbs?

Action verbs describe physical activities performed by the subject of the sentence. They depict something that a person, animal, or object can do.

Key Points about Action Verbs:

  1. Describe Activities: They show what the subject is doing.
  2. Dynamic: They often indicate a change or a movement.
  3. Observable or Measurable: Many action verbs refer to activities that can be seen or measured.
  4. Progressive Tense: They can be used in progressive tenses.

Examples of Action Verbs:

Physical Actions: run, jump, eat, swim

  • She runs every morning.
  • They eat dinner together.
  • The cat chased the mouse.
  • He wrote a letter to his friend.
  • They discussed the new project.

Stative Verbs: Capturing Conditions and Traits

Stative verbs, on the other hand, are like the descriptive elements of a scene. They depict states of being, emotions, or feelings.

  • Example: The painting hangs on the wall. ('Hangs' is a stative verb, describing a state of being)

What Are Stative Verbs?

Stative verbs describe a state or condition rather than an action. They refer to a situation that is static or unchanging.

Key Points about Stative Verbs:

  1. Describe States: They describe a condition, feeling, or characteristic of the subject.
  2. Static: They do not indicate action or change.
  3. Progressive Tense: They are typically used in the simple present or past tense. They cannot be used in the continuous tense (e.g., "am hanging," "was hanging").
  4. Often Abstract: They frequently refer to feelings, thoughts, relationships, senses, and possessions.

Examples of Stative Verbs:

States of Being: be, seem, exist

  • She is a teacher.
  • He seems happy.

Emotions: love, hate, prefer

  • They love their new house.
  • hate waiting in line.

Senses: smell, taste, hear

  • The flower smells nice.
  • This soup tastes delicious.

Possession: have, own, belong

  • She has a new car.
  • This book belongs to me.

Comparing Action Verbs and Stative Verbs

Differences in Usage:

Action Verbs: Describe dynamic activities or processes. They can be used in continuous (progressive) forms.

  • I am running right now.
  • She is designing the plan.

Stative Verbs: Describe states or conditions. They are usually not used in continuous forms.

  • Incorrect: "I am knowing the answer."
  • Correct: "I know the answer."

Verbs with Dual Use:

Some verbs can be both action and stative, depending on their meaning in context.


  • Action: He is having lunch. (having = eating)
  • Stative: He has a car. (has = possessing)


  • Action: She is seeing the doctor. (seeing = visiting)
  • Stative: She sees the mountains from her window. (sees = perceiving)

4. Finite Vs Nonfinite Verbs

Finite Verbs vs. Non-Finite Verbs: Understanding the Differences

Verbs are the backbone of sentences, expressing actions, occurrences, or states of being. But within this essential category, there are two distinct types: finite verbs and non-finite verbs. Understanding the distinction between these two types is fundamental to mastering the intricacies of sentence structure and grammar.

The Finite Force: Tense and Agreement

Imagine a verb that can bend and twist to fit the situation. That's a finite verb! It changes its form (conjugates) to convey tense (past, present, future), number (singular, plural), and person (first, second, third). This agreement with the subject allows finite verbs to act as the center of a clause, dictating the timing and who or what the action is about.

  • Example: She walks (present tense, singular third person) to the store every day. ('Walks' is the finite verb, agreeing with the subject "She".)

What Are Finite Verbs?

Finite verbs are verbs that have a specific form based on the subject and tense. They change according to the number (singular/plural) and person (first/second/third) of the subject, and they indicate the time of the action (past, present, or future).


1. Agreement with the Subject: Finite verbs must agree with their subjects in both number and person.


  • She writes a letter.
  • They write letters.

2. Tense Indication: Finite verbs clearly show the tense, providing information about when the action takes place.


  • She wrote a letter. (past tense)
  • She writes a letter. (present tense)

Ability to Stand Alone: Finite verbs can function as the main verb in a sentence, forming a complete thought.


  • He runs every morning.

Non-Finite Verbs: The Flexible Friends

Non-finite verbs, on the other hand, are more relaxed. They do not change according to the subject or tense. They do not show agreement with the subject and cannot serve as the main verb in a clause to form a complete sentence on their own. Instead, they take on three main forms:


Infinitives: The base form of the verb, often preceded by "to."

  • She likes to read.
  • They plan to travel.

Gerunds: The -ing form of the verb, functioning as a noun.

  • Running is fun.
  • I enjoy swimming.

Participles: Verbs functioning as adjectives.

Present Participle: The -ing form used as adjective.

  • Life is a walking shadow of death.
  • A rolling stone gathers no moss.

Past Participle: Usually the -ed or -en form used as adjective.

  • She was a drunken lady.
  • Your baked cake was delicious.


No Subject Agreement: Non-finite verbs do not change their form based on the subject.

  • He wants to run.
  • They want to run.

No Tense Indication: Non-finite verbs do not indicate the tense of the action.

  • To dance is her passion.
  • Dancing is fun.

Dependent Nature: Non-finite verbs cannot stand alone as the main verb of a sentence. They are typically part of a verb phrase or clause.

  • She is eager to learn.
  • Walking through the park, he felt relaxed.

Working Together: A Winning Team

Finite and non-finite verbs work together to create rich and varied sentences. Finite verbs provide the core timing and structure, while non-finite verbs add nuance and description.

  • Example: Sarah baked (finite verb, past tense) a delicious cake smelling (present participle) of cinnamon. (The finite verb "baked" establishes the action, while the participle "smelling" adds a sensory detail.)

By understanding these verb types, you can write sentences that are both grammatically correct and full of life. So, the next time you craft a sentence, take a moment to consider your verbs. Are they finite, dictating the action's timing? Or are they non-finite, adding colorful details? With this knowledge, you can become a true verb maestro!

5. Regular & Irregular Verbs

Regular vs. Irregular Verbs: Taming the Verb Tense Jungle

Verbs are the workhorses of a sentence, expressing actions, occurrences, or states of being. But venturing into the world of verb forms can feel like entering a jungle.  This article will be your guide, helping you distinguish between two key verb types: regular and irregular verbs.

Why Are Verbs Classified into Regular & Irregular?

In English, verbs are broadly classified into two categories based on how they form their past tense and past participle forms: regular verbs and irregular verbs. Understanding the distinction between these two types is essential for proper verb conjugation and overall grammatical accuracy.

Regular Verbs: Following the Rules

Regular verbs are the good guys of verb conjugation. They follow a consistent and predictable pattern when forming their past tense and past participle. Typically, this involves adding -ed or -d to the base form of the verb.

Formation Rules:

Base Form + -ed: Most regular verbs form the past tense by adding -ed to the base form.

  • Example: walk -> walked, jump -> jumped.

Base Form Ending in -e + -d: If the base form ends in -e, only -d is added.

  • Example: love -> loved, bake -> baked.

Consonant Doubling Rule: For one-syllable verbs ending in a single vowel followed by a consonant, the final consonant is doubled before adding -ed.

  • Example: stop -> stopped, plan -> planned.

Y to I Rule: If the base form ends in a consonant followed by -y, change the -y to -i before adding -ed.

  • Example: carry -> carried, cry -> cried.


  1. Predictable Patterns: Regular verbs follow predictable rules, making them easier to learn and use correctly.
  2. Consistency: Once the basic rules are understood, forming the past tense and past participle of regular verbs is straightforward and consistent.


  • Present Tense: play, dance, work.
  • Past Tense: played, danced, worked.
  • Past Participle: played, danced, worked.


Regular verbs are common in everyday language, and their predictable patterns make them relatively simple for learners to master.

  • Example: She played the piano yesterday. / He has worked here for years.

Irregular Verbs: Charting Their Own Course

Irregular verbs are the wild cards of the verb world. Unlike their regular counterparts, they don't follow the "-ed" rule. Their past simple and past participle forms can be completely different from the base form, and memorization is often the key.

  • Base form (present tense): Sing, buy, write
  • Past simple tense: Sang, bought, wrote
  • Past participle: Sung, bought, written

Formation Patterns:

Vowel Changes: Many irregular verbs change their internal vowel sounds to form the past tense and past participle.

  • Example: sing -> sang -> sung, drink -> drank -> drunk.

Consonant Changes: Some irregular verbs change consonants as well as vowels.

  • Example: build -> built -> built, send -> sent -> sent.

Entirely Different Forms: A few irregular verbs have completely different forms for the past tense and past participle.

  • Example: go -> went -> gone, be -> was/were -> been.


  1. Unpredictable Patterns: Irregular verbs do not follow a single rule or pattern, making them more challenging to learn.
  2. Frequency in Language: Despite their irregularity, many of the most commonly used verbs in English are irregular.


  • Present Tense: go, see, write.
  • Past Tense: went, saw, wrote.
  • Past Participle: gone, seen, written.


Irregular verbs are frequently used in both written and spoken English. Their irregular forms must be memorized as there are no rules to predict their past tense and past participle forms.

  • Example: He went to the store. / She has seen that movie.

Practical Applications


Regular Verbs: Apply the standard rules of adding -ed or -d for past tense and past participle.

  • Example: She danced all night. / They have completed the project.

Irregular Verbs: Memorize the specific forms as they do not follow a set pattern.

  • Example: He drank the coffee. / They have written the report.

Language Learning:

  • Regular Verbs: Focus on understanding the rules and applying them consistently.
  • Irregular Verbs: Practice and repetition are key to mastering the various forms.

Consistency in Writing and Speaking:

Ensuring the correct forms of both regular and irregular verbs are used helps in maintaining grammatical accuracy and clarity in communication.

Tips for Taming Irregular Verbs

  1. Make friends with flashcards: Write down the base form, past simple, and past participle of common irregular verbs and practice regularly.
  2. Use them in sentences: The more you use irregular verbs in your writing and speaking, the more comfortable you'll become with them.
  3. Don't be afraid to consult a dictionary: If you're unsure about an irregular verb, look it up! Most dictionaries will list the different verb forms.

Remember: There are hundreds of irregular verbs in English, but don't be discouraged. By understanding the difference between regular and irregular verbs and using some helpful strategies, you'll be conjugating verbs like a pro in no time!

6. Causative Verbs

Causative Verbs: Making Things Happen

Causative verbs are the power players of the verb world.  They allow speakers to express situations where one person or thing causes another person or thing to take an action. This helps in accurately conveying who is responsible for the action.

For example, when you say, "The child walks," you mean that the child is walking by itself.

But if you say, "Mother walks the child," you mean that mother is causing the child to walk. 

1. What are Causative Verbs?

Causative verbs are verbs which indicate that one subject causes another subject to do something. These verbs change the structure of the sentence by introducing an element of causation.


  • Example: The manager made the team stay late.
  • Meaning: The team stayed late because the manager said so.

The causative verb makes it clear that the manager is the cause of the team staying late.

Focus: The focus in a causative sentence is on who or what caused the action, not necessarily the person performing the action.

3. Sentence Structures with Causative Verbs

Causative verbs usually follow two specific patterns: 

(i) Subject + causative verb + person (who does the action) + base verb (action) 

(ii) Subject + causative verb + object (thing affected) + past participle (of the verb).


  • Example: He got the mechanic to fix the car. (Pattern i)
  • Example: He got the car fixed by the mechanic. (Pattern ii)
  • Meaning: He asked the mechanic to fix the car, and the mechanic fixed it. 

2. Common Causative Verbs

The most frequently used causative verbs are:

  • Make
  • Have
  • Let
  • Get
  • Help

Each of these verbs has specific uses and slightly different sentence structures.


Structure: Subject + make + object + base form of the verb

  • Example: The teacher made the students read the book.
  • Meaning: Here, "the teacher" causes "the students" to "read."


Structure: Subject + have + object + base form of the verb (active)

  • Example: She had her assistant call the clients.
  • Meaning: "She" causes "her assistant" to "call."

Structure: Subject + have + object + past participle (passive)

  • Example: He had his car repaired.
  • Meaning: "He" causes "his car" to be "repaired."


Structure: Subject + let + object + base form of the verb

  • Example: Her parents let her stay out late.
  • Meaning: "Her parents" allow "her" to "stay out late."


Structure: Subject + get + object + to-infinitive

  • Example: She got her brother to help her with homework.
  • Meaning: "She" persuades "her brother" to "help."


Structure: Subject + help + object + base form of the verb

  • Example: He helped his friend move.
  • Meaning: "He" assists "his friend" in "moving."

7. Forms of Verbs

In English, verbs can take on various forms, which are used to convey different tenses, aspects, moods, voices, and other grammatical features. The main forms of verbs in English include:

  1. Base Form: This is the simplest form of a verb, usually the infinitive form without the "to" particle. For example: to run, to eat, to sleep.
  2. Infinitive Form: This is the base form of a verb with the "to" particle. For example: to go, to study, to sing.
  3. Simple Present Form: This form is used to describe actions that are habitual, factual, or generally true. For regular verbs, it often takes the base form, while for third-person singular subjects, an "s" is usually added. For example: I walk, he walks.
  4. Simple Past Form: This form is used to describe completed actions in the past. It often involves adding "-ed" to regular verbs. For example: I walked, she talked.
  5. Present Participle Form: This form is used to create continuous tenses and gerunds. It often involves adding "-ing" to the base form. For example: running, eating.
  6. Past Participle Form: This form is used in various tenses, including the present perfect and past perfect. For regular verbs, it often involves adding "-ed." For example: gone, played.

Select the correct answer

Q1. The most essential part of a sentence is-----.
Hard words
Q2. The base form of a verb is called-----.
strong verb
an infinitive
weak verb
transitive verb
Q3. Which one can be used as a lexical verb?
Q4. ‘Am, is, are, was, were’ are examples of-----.
helping verbs
action verbs
auxiliary verbs
be verbs
Q5. Which sentence does not have an auxiliary verb?
He is sleeping.
He was not invited.
I am tired.
You are reading.
Q6. A verb that can take two objects is called a-----verb.
Q7. How many modal verbs are there in English?
Q8. ‘Dare, need, used to and ought to’ are called-----.
modal verbs
semi-modal verbs
half-modal verbs
main verbs
Q9. A verb having no object is a/an-----.
di-transitive verb
mono-transitive verb
ambi-transitive verb
intransitive verb
Q10. The opposite type of verbs of transitive verbs is-----.
di-transitive verb
mono-transitive verb
ambi-transitive verb
intransitive verb
Q11. The opposite type of verbs of finite verbs is-----.
non-finite verb
copular verb
infinitive verb
factitive verb
Q12. The opposite type of verbs of action verbs is-----.
cognate verb
state verb
linking verb
quasi-passive verb
Q13. The opposite type of verbs of principal verbs is-----.
auxiliary verb
lexical verb
modal verbs
action verbs
Q14. Some verbs don’t have meanings. They are called-----.
auxiliary verb
lexical verb
modal verbs
action verbs
Q15. Which one is a phrasal verb?
look after