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A verb is a word or more than one word (verb phrase) that is used to express an action or a state of being of the subject. The verb is an essential element in the construction of a sentence as almost every sentence has a verb. Without a verb, a sentence is left incomplete.

Most sentences consist of a noun as the subject and a predicate. The predicate typically includes one or more verbs. The verb follows the subject, to which it must match in number, even if there are words intervening between them. The verb in turn is followed by an object or a complement.

A verb takes the infinitive form which includes the word to (to paint, to walk) or a conjugated regular form (paint/paints, walk/walked) that is used in accordance with a grammatical classification such as person, tense or voice. The conjugated irregular verb form introduces a change in its spelling (go/went/gone), or a change in its ending (hide/hid/hidden). Such modification of a verb to express a different grammatical category is also called inflection.

A verb that is used in a sentence is usually an action verb or a linking verb. An action verb describes the physical or mental action of the subject. A linking verb links the subject to the rest of the sentence that provides information about the subject.

A verb can be just a word.


  • She greets me.
  • They left early.


A verb can be more than one word.


  • He is washing his car.
  • You have broken my window.


An action verb takes an object.


  • Lee drives a car. (Subject: Lee / Object: car)
  • Someone has eaten my pizza. (Subject: someone / Object: pizza)


A verb may not have an object.


  • The sun shines.
  • It is raining.


A verb connects the subject to a complement. The complement or subject complement can be a noun or an adjective.


  • They are my brothers. (Subject: they / Complement: brothers)
  • She is beautiful. (Subject: she / Complement: beautiful)


There are different kinds of verbs
Verbs as a part of speech are divided into regular verbs and irregular verbs.
  • Regular verbs are those whose past tense and past participles are formed by adding a -d or an -ed to the end of the verb.
  • Irregular verbs are those verbs that do not follow the typical pattern of the regular verb in the formation of the simple past and past participle.
The verbs can also be divided into transitive verb and intransitive verb.
  • A transitive verb is an action verb that must have a direct object.
  • An intransitive verb is an action that does not have a direct object.
There are auxiliary verbs (also called helping verb) and main verbs.
  • An auxiliary verb or action verb is used in conjunction with the main verb to form the tenses, moods, and voices.
  • Helping verbs are used with main verbs to create the verb tenses
  • The main verb expresses the main action or state of being of the subject in the sentence. The main verb is also called the lexical verb.
There are also verbs that are finite or nonfinite.
  • Finite verb can be the main verb in a sentence as it has a subject.
  • Nonfinite verb does not show tense and it comes in three types: gerund, infinitive, and participle.
Action verb is used to express physical or mental action.
Primary verbs are the verbs be, have, and do that can function as either main verbs or auxiliary verbs.


Conjugation of verb
We can list the different forms of a verb (conjugate) according to voice, tense, aspect, person, gender, number, and mood. We must conjugate a verb to express the different grammatical categories as listed here.
Voice – Verbs can be in the active voice or the passive voice
Tense – Verbs come in three tenses: past, present, and future
Aspect – Verbs have four main aspects: simple, progressive, perfect, and perfect progressive
Person – Verbs are conjugated for each of the six different persons: first person singular (I), second person singular (you), third person singular (he/she/it/one), first person plural (we), second person plural (you), and third person plural (they)
Gender – Verbs have three genders: masculine, feminine, and neuter
Number – Verbs have two numbers: singular and plural
Mood – Verbs can be in one of the three moods: indicative, imperative, or subjunctive.