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Verbs | What Is a Verb? | Types of Verbs & Examples

Updated on November 27, 2015
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Muhammad Rafiq is a freelance writer, blogger, and translator with a Master's Degree in English literature from the University of Malakand.

What is a Verb?
What is a Verb? | Source

What is a Verb?

The word verb derives from the Latin word verbum, which means a word. It is called a word as it is the most important part of a sentence. It is a part of speech which indicates action, state or it tells us about the action performed by the subject. Look at the following sentences:

  1. The sun rises in the East.
  2. The book is on the table.
  3. They finished their homework.
  4. The train stopped suddenly.

If you look at the above sentences, you will notice that the highlighted words tell us something about the action performed by the subjects. That’s why; they are called verbs. The first sentence shows us the action, while the second sentence indicates the state of the book. Similarly, the rest of the sentences indicate the action performed by the subjects.

Types of Verbs

There are many types of verbs. Some of them are explained below:

Action Verbs

Those verbs which indicate action are called action verbs. They show the action performed by the subject or agent. For example, in He eats an apple the word eat is an action verb. Similarly, in Ahmad is playing cricket the word playing is an action verb. It shows us the action performed by Ahmad. Action verbs are further divided into transitive and intransitive verbs.

Transitive Verbs

Transitive verb is a kind of action verb that requires a direct object to complete its meaning. It denotes an action which passes from the subject to the object of the verb. For example, in Adela has written a book the verb written requires the object book to make it a complete sentence. Without the object, the sentence would be incomplete. That’s why; the verb is called a transitive verb.

Intransitive Verbs

Intransitive verb is a kind of verb that doesn’t require a direct object to complete its meaning. Intransitive verb doesn’t allow the action to be passed on to the object. That’ why; it is used without addition of a direct object. For example, in It rains the verb rain is an intransitive verb. Similarly, the verbs sleep, weep, walk and ran are intransitive verbs.

Stative Verbs

A stative verb is a type of verb that indicates state or being. For example, in They know him very well the verb know is a stative verb. Similarly, the verbs seem, believe, think, have, appear, include, feel, perceive, contain etc. are all stative verbs. Stative verbs are not used in progressive mood. That’s why; they are called stative verbs.

Auxiliary Verbs

Auxiliary verbs are also called helping verbs. They are called auxiliary verbs as they assist the main verb in a sentence. For example, in The car is moving fast the auxiliary verb is assists the main verb moving to complete its meaning. The auxiliary verbs are: is, was, have, had, are, am and were.


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Lexical Verbs

Verbs other than auxiliary and model operators are called lexical verbs. They are the main verbs in sentences. For example, in The birds are chirping the verb chirping is a lexical verb, while the verb are is an auxiliary verb. Similarly, in He could pass the exam the verb pass is the main verb, while the verb could is a model operator.

Finite Verbs

A finite verb is a type of verb that has past and past participle forms. They indicate the action performed by the subjects. Actually, they are the main verbs. For example, in He has purchased a book the verb purchased is a finite verb. Similarly, in She has won the match the verb won is a finite verb.

Non-Finite Verbs

Non-finite verbs are different from finite verbs. They are the verbs which have no past and participle forms. The infinitive verbs i.e. verbs ending on –ing and –ed are also non-finite verbs. For example, in Smoking is prohibited here the verb smoking is a non-finite verb. Similarly, in They were told to continue the work the verb continue is a non-finite verb.

Regular Verbs

A regular verb is a type of verb that is inflected to form its past and past participle forms. Usually, -ed and –d or in some cases –t is added to the base form of the verb. For example, Chalk Chalked Chalked; Increase Incsreased Increased; and Walk Walked Walked.

Irregular Verbs

An irregular verb is a type of verb that has an irregular pattern of past and past participle. Unlike regular verbs, they don’t require –ed or –d to form their past and past participle forms. Rather, they have specific past and participle forms. For example, Run Ran Run, Go Went Gone etc.

© 2015 Muhammad Rafiq


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