A verb in syntax is a part of speech which conveys action (bring, read, walk, run, learn) or state of being (exist, stand) or Verbs have traditionally been defined as words that show action or state of being.

Sentences in English have a main verb which is stated in a tense (simple present, simple past, simple future…)

Examples –

  • William writes short stories at home
  • Emma is buying a newspaper today.
  • Students went to the play ground often.

Types of Verbs –

  1. Main Verbs (or Action Verbs)
  2. Helping Verbs or (Auxiliary Verbs)
  3. Linking Verbs
  4. Transitive Verbs
  5. Intransitive Verbs
  1. Main Verbs (or Action Verbs) – Main verbs or action verbs are used to express action; something that an animal, a person or a thing does. In each of the following sentences, we only have a main verb. Or Action verbs are verbs that are used to explain what the subject of a sentence is actively doing.

Examples – Ran, swim, jump, move, look, and catch are all action verbs.

  • He is reading the newspaper.
  • A girl rolled down the hill on a skateboard.
  • wake up at 6 A.M. everyday
  1. Helping Verbs – As the name suggests, helping verbs help or support the main verb, also known as Auxiliary Verbs, lend a helping hand to the main verb in a sentence.

These verbs can assist in:

  • Forming a question
  • Creating a negative statement
  • Showing a possibility
  • Dictating verb tense

Examples – Is, Be, Do, Have, Could, Must, Will, Should, May, Might, Must, Were

  • Does Sophia write all her own reports?
  • may marry you soon.
  • She is watching a movie.
  1. Linking Verbs – Linking Verbs do not express action. Instead, they connect the subject of the verb to additional information about the subject.

Examples – be, being, been, am, is, are, was, were, seem, look, feel, sound, and taste.

  • This sweet tastes
  • The pizza is heavenly?
  • The fabric will feel
  1. Transitive Verbs- A transitive verb requires a direct object to complete its meaning, an ‘agent’ performs an action and a “patient” or “theme” undergoes the action. The direct object usually takes form as a noun phrase.

It has two prominent features:

  • It acts as an action verb, expressing an activity.
  • It uses a direct object that receives an action.

Examples –

  • know – Here, the verb is ‘know’ The object upon which that verb is acting is Emma. Therefore, know is a transitive verb in this case.
  • He lost my cat. – The verb is ‘lost’ The object upon which that verb is acting is my catLost, then, is a transitive verb in this case.
  • He found the article very interesting to read. – The verb ‘found’ is taking the object ‘the article,’ making this a transitive verb in this case.
  1. Intransitive Verbs – An intransitive verb does not accept an object (Noun Phrase) as its complement. Instead, it may take an adverb or a prepositional phrase as its complement (a required element) or as an adjunct (an optional element). A passive structure cannot be formed because there is no object.

Examples –

  • The students arrived at the residency in Chicago.
  • The patient’s health deteriorated quickly during the night.
  • The meeting continued after the break.

English Grammar Related Links

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