Definition and Types of Verb

In this article you will learn about general definition of verb, definition of verb in major dictionaries, examples of verb, types of verb, transitive verb vs intransitive verb and at last you will find a quiz on verb with 10 MCQs. 

Definition of verb

Definition of verb

A verb shows the happening or state of something. It is an action word.

It can show

  • If somebody does something; like, This cat sleeps all day.
  • If something has done onto someone; like, A stranger patted the stray cat.
  • The state of someone or something; like, The cat is alive fortunately.

Verb is the most important part of any sentence. A sentence does not make sense without a verb in it. There are some instants where a one-word answer can make up for a whole sentence; like, yes or indeed, etc. without the use of verb, but these responses are not used in formal writing.

Verbs can also consist of more than one word, such as:

The children were playing in the backyard.

Definition of Verb in Major Dictionaries

Definition of verb varies according to different dictionaries. Below are the definitions of verb in two major dictionaries.

Definition of Verb in Cambridge Dictionary

Cambridge Dictionary defines verb as : “a word or phrase that describes an action, condition, or experience.”

Definition of Verb in Oxford Learner’s Dictionary

Oxford learner’s dictionary defines verb as: “a word or group of words that expresses an action (such as eat), an event (such as happen) or a state (such as exist).”

Types of Verb

These are the main types of verb

  • Auxiliary Verbs 
  • Action Verbs (Transitive Verb and Intransitive Verb)
  • Regular Verbs and Irregular Verbs
  • Reflexive Verbs
  • Modal Verbs

Below you can read the types of verb in detail with examples.

Auxiliary Verbs

Auxiliary Verbs help the main verb in a sentence and are called Helping Verbs. Auxiliary verbs, when used with ordinary verbs help in changing the tensesmood or voice of a sentence. They also help in making negatives and interrogatives of sentences. Auxiliary verbs are also simply called auxiliaries. Common words that come under this category are as follows:

Is, am, are, was, were, have, do, etc.

Examples in sentences:

was going to the shop.

Here the Auxiliary is used to form a continuous tense.

The car door was opened.

Here it is used in formation of a sentence in passive voice.

have to reach the airport at 5:00 am.

To form questions, to emphasize on something, or to make a request, the Auxiliary Do is used.

Do you know where the parking lot is?

You do look great.

Do visit!

Action Verbs: Transitive verb vs Intransitive verb

Action verbs show action. They create an image of the happening in your head. There are two types of action verbs: Transitive verb and Intransitive verb.

Transitive Verb

This is one of the most commonly used type of verb. The verb, in a sentence, that has a direct object is known as transitive verb. The verb should have something on which it is performed. The sentences containing transitive verbs can also be converted from active voice to passive vice.

Examples of transitive verb:

The batsman hit the ball hard.

She walked the streets alone.

In the first example, we can see that the verb hit has a direct object ball. The sentence can also be converted into passive voice: the batsman hit the ball.

The same case is with the second sentence. The verb walked has direct object streets and the sentence can be converted into passive voice: The streets were walked by her, alone.

Intransitive Verb

The verb in a sentence that does not have a direct object is known as intransitive verb. The sentences containing intransitive verbs cannot be converted from active voice to passive voice

Examples of intransitive verb:

The lion cub sleeps.

The house is flawed.

In both of the above examples, there is no direct object. Both cannot be converted into passive voice too. So, the verbs; sleeps and flawed are intransitive.

  • Most verbs can be used both transitively and intransitively. For example:

The child rings the bell.

Here the verb ‘rings’ has a direct object and is used transitively.

The bell rings loudly.

Here the verb ‘rings’ does not have a direct object and is used intransitively.

More Examples:

stopped the car. (Transitively)

The car stopped suddenly. (Intransitively)

There are some verbs such as: go, sleep, die, fall, etc, which show an action that cannot be done to anything or anyone. Hence, these verbs can never be used Transitively.

Regular Verbs vs Irregular Verbs

Regular Verbs

Mostly English verbs are regular and they have a set pattern for change in their form unlike irregular verbs. In this type of verb, all the verbs are changed by adding -ed simply to the words. For example the forms of verb love are loved (past tense), loved (past participle) and loving (present participle).

Some common examples of regular verbs are: 

Walk walked walked

Dance danced danced

Kick kicked kicked

Irregular Verbs

Few English verbs are irregular and they do not have a set pattern for change in their form unlike regular verbs. In this type of verb, verbs are not changed by adding -ed simply to the words but each word has different rule. Their is no specific pattern but students are to learn them. Some time all the three forms of verb are alike like read, read and read For example the forms of verb begin are began(past tense), begun(past participle) and beginning (present participle).

Some common examples of irregular verbs are: 

Go, went, gone

Put, put, put

Come, came, come

 

common irregular verbs

Reflexive Verbs

Reflexive verbs are those whose subject and direct object are the same. They refer back to the same thing or person. Let us see the examples below.

She stays home herself.

The cat cleans itself.

In both the above examples, the verbs are referring back to the same person. Their subject and object are the same, hence they are reflexive verbs. The reference back is done in form of reflexive pronouns by which they are being called reflexive verbs.

Auxiliary Verbs

Auxiliary Verbs help the main verb in a sentence and are called Helping Verbs. Auxiliary verbs, when used with ordinary verbs help in changing the tensesmood or voice of a sentence. They also help in making negatives and interrogatives of sentences. Auxiliary verbs are also simply called auxiliaries. Common words that come under this category are as follows:

Is, am, are, was, were, have, do, etc.

Examples in sentences:

was going to the shop.

Here the Auxiliary is used to form a continuous tense.

The car door was opened.

Here it is used in formation of a sentence in passive voice.

have to reach the airport at 5:00 am.

To form questions, to emphasize on something, or to make a request, the Auxiliary Do is used.

Do you know where the parking lot is?

You do look great.

Do visit!

Modal Verbs

Modal verbs are the verbs that are used before the ordinary verbs to show meanings such as: possibilities, permission, certainty etc. They can just simply be called Modals. Common modal verbs that are used are as follows:

Can, could, may, might, will, would, shall, should, must, ought.

Never and dare are also used as modal verbs sometimes.

Examples in sentences:

You dare not do such a thing.

You must be Sara’s sister.

You could have stopped them.

Modals are mostly put in the category of auxiliaries. Then they are sometimes called Modal Auxiliaries.

In this article you learned general definition of verbexamples of verb, definition of verb in major dictionaries, types of verb, and difference between transitive and intransitive verbs.

Welcome to your quiz on verb

There are ____ kinds of action verbs.
The verb in a sentence that has a direct object is known as ____ verb.
The batsman hit the ball hard. hit is ____ verb.
The sentences containing intransitive verbs can be converted from active voice to passive voice.
The bell rings loudly. The word rings is ___ verb.
Reflexive verbs are those whose subject and direct object are the ____.
The cat cleans itself. Here verb is ____.
Auxiliary Verbs help the main verb in a sentence and are called ____.
I was going to stop running cars. How many verbs are in the sentence?
____ are the verbs that are used before the ordinary verbs to show meanings such as: possibilities, permission, certainty etc.

About Authoress: The article “Definition and Types of Verb” was written by Sayeda Javaria. You can reach her at javaria.hanan@gmail.com or view her profile at Sayeda Javaria Hanan .

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