Grammar verbs



Grammar verbs


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Grammar verbs


Verbs: Verbs are one of the major grammatical groups, and all sentences must contain one. Verbs refer to an action (do, break, walk, etc.) or a state of being (am, like, own).


● Action: An action verb shows physical or mental action.


EG: Jane threw the baseball. (Threw shows physical action.)


● Transitive - A transitiveverb is one that takes an object, moving the action from the doer to someone or something.                                                                                                                                           


EG: He opened the door. (Door is the object of the action; it is affected by the operation.)


● Intransitive - An intransitive verb is one that does not take an object, leaving the action with the subject.

                                                                                                                                                        EG: They arrived. (The verb does not require an object to complete it.)


● Helping: A helping verb is a verb that helps the main verb to express tense, voice, or mood, but has little meaning of its own. Some examples include be, do, have, can might, would, may, will, and must.


EG: We are waiting in a long line.

EG:  I would have gone with him.         


● Linking: A linking verb connects a subject and its complement. Sometimes called copulas, linking verbs are often forms of the verb “to be”, but are sometimes verbs related to the five senses (look, sound, smell, feel, taste) and are sometimes verbs that somehow reflect a state of being (appear, seem, become, grow, turn, prove, remain).  


EG: Those people are all professors. (The linking verb are connects the subject, people, with the complement, professors.):                                                                                                                            EG: This room smells bad. (The linking verb smells connects the subject, room to the complement, bad.)


● “To be” verbs: The verb “to be” is mainly used to express states or feelings, descriptions, definitions, or general truth. It is the most irregular verb in the English language. To make questions using the verb "to be" you simply place it in front of the sentence.


EG: She is a happy person. (Present tense of “to be” as a statement)

EG: Is she a happy person? (Present tense of “to be” as a question)


Conjugation of the verb “to be” in

present tense:


Singular                                    Plural

I am                             We are

You are                        You are

He, she, it is                 They are

Conjugation of the verb “to be” in

past tense:


Singular                                    Plural

I was                           We were

You were                      You were

He, she, it was                          They were



● “To be” Verbs: Use the past participle of “to be”, been, for the perfect tenses.


● “To be” Verbs as Helping Verbs:  The verb “to be” most frequently works in conjunction with another verb as an auxiliary verb or a helping verb.


EG: He is playing the piano.

EG: She will be arriving this afternoon.


● “To be” Verbs as Linking Verbs:  The verb “to be” also acts as a linking verb, joining the sentence subject with a subject complement or adjective complement. A linking verb provides no action to a sentence: the subject complement re-identifies the subject; the adjective complement modifies it.


Other forms of the verb, “to be” are as follows:

Infinitive                    to be

Present                       am, is, are

Past                            was, were

Present Participle      being

Past Participle                       been

Present Subjunctive                          be

Past Subjunctive                    be

Imperative                             b


● “To be” Verbs as “State of being” Verbs:  “State of being”: The state-of-being verbs: Is, am, were, was, are, be, being, and been show a condition and often appear as either linking verbs, main verb of a sentence, or as helping, auxiliary, verbs. State of being verbs can show time.


The present tense “state of being” verbs are: am, are, is.

The past tense “state of being” verbs are: was and were.


Note: Be, being and been always need a helping verb.


EG: Pat has been sick all week. (Has is the helping or auxiliary verb to “been”)


● Principal parts/Regular verbs: Every verb has three main parts called principal parts.


1.  The present is used by itself for the present tense and with the helping verb will for the future tense.
EG: I begin.                       (Present Tense)

      EG:  I will begin.                 (Future Tense)

2.  The past is used for the past tense

      EG: I began.                       (Past Tense)


3.  The past participle is used with the helping verbs have, has, or had to make the three perfect tenses.

      EG: I have begun.              EG:  I had begun.                     EG:  I will have begun.

            (Present Perfect)             (Past Perfect)                        (Future Perfect)


● Regular Verbs:  Most verbs follow a regular pattern to change principal parts. Just add d or ed to change the present to the past or past participle.  These are called Regular Verbs.

EG:                  Present                                  Past                                        Past Participle
Now I talk.                               Yesterday I talked                     I had talked.

                        Now you clap.                           Yesterday you clapped.             You have clapped.


● Principal parts/Irregular verbs: An irregular verb is one that does not take the -ed ending for the Past Simple and Past Participle forms. Some verbs do not change; put \ put \ put, while

others change completely; buy \ bought \ bought, etc.


● Troublesome verbs: Are verbs that can be easily confused.


Examples include:  Sit/set, lie/lay, rise/raise, can/may, let/leave, teach/learn.

Tenses: There are three basic tenses: present, past, and future. Each has a perfect form, indicating completed action; each has a progressive form, indicating ongoing action; and each has a perfect progressive form, indicating ongoing action that will be completed at some definite time. Here is a list of examples of these tenses and their definitions:


Simple Forms

Progressive Forms

Perfect Forms

Perfect Progressive Forms



am/is/are taking

have/has taken

have/has been taking



was/were taking

had taken

had been taking


will/shall take

will be taking

will have taken

will have been taking


● Present tense expresses an unchanging, repeated, or reoccurring action or situation that exists only now. It can also represent a widespread truth.


EG: The mountains aretall and white.


● Past tense expresses an action or situation that was started and finished in the past. Most past tense verbs end in -ed. The irregular verbs have, which must be memorized.


EG: WW II endedin 1945. (regular verb ending)

EG: Hemmingway wrotethe novel, The Old Man in the Sea. (Irregular verb form)


● Future tense expresses an action or situation that will occur in the future. Using will/shall with the simple form of the verb forms this tense.


EG: The speaker of the House will finish her term in May of 1998.


● Present perfect tense describes an action that happened at an indefinite time in the past or that began in the past and continues in the present. Using has/have with the past participle of the verb forms this tense. Most past participles end in -ed. Irregular verbs have special past participles that must be memorized.


EG: The researchers have traveledto many countries in order to collect more significant data. (at an indefinite time)

EG: Women have voted in presidential elections since 1921. (Continues in the present)


● Past perfect tense describes an action that took place in the past before another past action. Using had with the past participle of the verb forms this tense.


EG: By the time the troops arrived, the war had ended.


● Future perfect tense describes an action that will occur in the future before some other action. This tense is formed by using will have with the past participle of the verb.


EG: By the time the troops arrive, the combat group will have spent several weeks waiting.



● Voice: Voice is a verb-form that indicates the relationship between the subject and the action expressed by the verb. Verbs are said to be either active or passive.


In the active voice, the subject and verb relationship is straight forward:  the subject is a “be-er” or a “do-er”,  and the verb moves the sentence along.


EG:  The executive committee approved the new policy. (The committee is doing the action.)


In the passive voice, the subject of the sentence is neither a “do-er” nor a “be-er”, but is acted upon by some other agent or by something unnamed.


EG: The new policy was approved. (The policy is being acted upon by an unnamed source.)


Nouns and Verbs, Agreement: The subject and verb must agree in number: both must be singular, or both must be plural. Problems occur in the present tense because one must add an -s or -es at the end of the verb when the subjects or the entity performing the action is a singular third person: he, she, it, or words for which these pronouns could substitute.

EG: The student sings. (He or she sings, singular).                                                                                   EG:  Thebird doesmigrate. (It does, singular).                                                          

EG: Your children sing. (They sing, plural).

EG:  Those birds do migrate. (They do, plural).

Note:  In order to find out if the subject and verb agree in a sentence, you need to be able to identify the subject of the sentence

Articles:  a, an, and the are called articles.


  • The is a Definite Article indicating a specific person, place or thing.
  • A and An are both Indefinite Articles indicating a nonspecific person, place or thing.


Adjectives: An adjective modifies a noun. It describes the quality, state or action to which a noun refers.  Adjectives answer the questions:  which one, how many, and what kind.


● Common/proper: Common adjectives are formed from common nouns and are not capitalized.  Proper adjectives are made from proper nouns and are always capitalized.


EG: The Italian food was delicious!  Italian is a proper adjective.


● Predicate: A predicate adjective is an adjective that follows a linking verb.  It describes the subject of the sentence.  


EG: The sky looks stormy. (Stormy modifies sky)

      The day is cold and damp. (Cold and damp modify day)


● Comparative: The comparative form of an adjective or adverb is used to compare two things. To create a comparative form, short adjectives add -er to the end, and longer ones use more before the adjective:


EG: The Nile is longer than the Amazon. - Long >> Longer

EG: Many students find writing more difficult than reading. - Difficult >> More Difficult


● Superlative: The superlative form of an adjective or adverb shows which thing has the quality above or below the level of the others. There must be three or more elements to compare. To form the superlative, use “the”, a definite article, before short adjectives and add “est” to the end of the word. For longer adjectives, use “the” and include the word “most” before the word.


EG: Mount Everest is the highest mountain in the world

EG: It is themost expensive restaurant I've ever been to.


● Demonstrative: This, that, these, and those show whether the noun the adjectives refer to is singular or plural and whether it is located near to or far from the speaker or writer: This, These = near; That, Those = far.


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Grammar verbs


  • Verbs:

Tell what the noun does.  Verbs are the action words or state of being words in a sentence.  Without verbs you don’t have a complete sentence.  Be careful! Verbs have lots of rules to follow.  Whole books have been written about using verbs, but here we will only look at the most common uses and ways to write verbs.


  • One verb alone can be a sentence.  The subject is implied but not written and is meant to be you.

ex.  Stop!  Go!  No!  Yes!  Read!  Move!

  • The action a verb shows does not need to be physical it can be a mental action too. 

ex.  think, wonder, dream, sleep, etc.

  • Verbs can have an active voice or a passive voice.

ex.    The dog bit him. (active voice-the subject performs the action)

Timmy was bitten by a dog. (passive voice-the subject has something done to it)

Most people prefer to read the active voice in sentences, and teachers like it when you write sentences with the active voice.

  • Verb Agreement:

When the subject talks about one person, place or thing then it’s singular.  When the subject talks about more than one person, place, or thing then it’s plural. All verbs used in the sentence must agree with the subject (nouns/pronouns) used in the sentence. 

ex.  My cat runs fast. (the singular noun “cat” puts an “S” on the end

                                of the verb.) 

All the cats run fast. (the plural noun “cats” makes the verb       

                                stand without an ”S”)

ex.  The team wins the trophy. (team -a singular collective noun)

     The teams win the trophy.  (teams -more than one collective


  • Verbs have a tense, meaning they tell when the action happens, has happened, or will happen.


  • Keep verbs in a sentence the same voice. (the same tense)

When you have more than one verb in the same sentence, you want to keep the voice (tense) in agreement.

ex.  He rides his bike by the house so the dog bites him. (Both tenses

      are  written in an active voice)

ex.   He rides his bike by the house and was bitten by a dog. (This

       has an active and a passive voice making the sentence sound

       awkward.  Avoid using mixed verb tenses.)

ex.   He rode his bike by the house and was bitten by a dog. (The

      tenses now agree and the sentence sounds much better.)


Verb tenses can be: (there are six [6] of them)

  • present-the action is right now or happens all the time

ex.  He rides his bike.  Or  He is riding his bike.

  • in the past-the action happened before now (the helping verbs “was” or “were” are  often used with the past tense verb)

ex.  He rode his bike.  Or  He was riding his bike an hour ago.

  • or in the future-the action has not yet happened (the helping verb “will” is used with the verb)

ex.  He will ride his bike tomorrow.

  • present perfect tense-means the action started in the past and just finished or started in the past, is happening now, and will continue to happen (the helping verbs “has” or “have” are used with the verb)

ex.  He has ridden his bike all day.

  • past perfect tense-shows the action in the past ended before another action started (the helping verb “had” is used with the verb) 

ex.  He had ridden his bike after he mowed the lawn.

  • future perfect tense- shows an action that will start in the future and will finish sometime in the future ( the helping verbs “will” or “shall”, and “have” are used with the verb)

ex.  He will be riding his bike all day.  Or  He will have ridden his bike  

     all day.

      We shall have ridden our bikes to Maine next Thursday.


  • Helping verbs: helping verbs are also called auxiliary verbs

Without helping verbs some main verbs don’t make any sense.  They help the main verb express action, thinking, and doing.  There are twenty-three (23) helping verbs:

  • 3 begin with B -  be,  being,  been
  • 3 begin with D – do,  does,  did
  • 3 begin with M – may,  must,  might
  • 3 begin with H – have,  has,  had
  • 3 end with –ould  -  could,  would,  should
  • 2 end with –ll  -  shall will
  • 5 are the verb “to be” – am,  are,  is,  was,  were
  • and lastly is the word -  can
  • Irregular verbs:

Irregular verbs say the past tense in weird ways.  They change the spelling of the verb every time just to say the present, the past, and past participle with the same word.  Often the spelling changes involve a change in the vowel being used and the addition of an –n or –en to the ending. 

Some examples:

                (Present)            (Past)        (Past participle)

                swim                 swam                 (have, has) swum

                bite                   bit                    (have, has) bitten

                lie                     lay                    (have, has) lain

                fall                    fell                    (have, has) fallen


        If you are in doubt about how the verb should be written – use your dictionary to find the right past tense spelling.


  • Linking verbs: linking verbs do not always show action, sometimes they connect the subject of the sentence to a word or phrase in the predicate.  They complement the subject by describing, identifying, renaming, or explaining something about the subject. 

Sometimes linking verbs can become the action or doing word in

   the sentence.

(to test the verb to see if it’s a linking or action verb try substituting a “to be” verb in it’s place.  If it still makes sense then it’s a linking verb.  ex.  Abby feels sick.  “feels” can be replaced with “is” so it’s a linking verb here.    A dog feels the cold.  “feels” can’t be replaced with any “be” verb here, so it’s an action verb.)

  • Linking verbs help modify the noun/pronoun by connecting it with other words. Linking verbs explain the action in the sentence, and sometimes without it the sentence doesn’t make sense.


The most common linking verbs:

ex.  to seem,  to appear,  to feel,  to become,  to remain,  to look, 

     to stay,  to grow,  to smell,  to taste,  to sound,  to act,  to prove,  

     to turn,  to get   (five of these relate to our senses)


  • Predicate nouns or predicate adjectives always follow linking verbs.

ex.   The cake tastes delicious. (the adjective is the modifier –a cake

can’t taste)

   She looks pretty in blue.  (the adjective is the modifier --she

                                         can’t look in blue)

       After rescuing the cat, he became a hero. (noun)

   We went to the store, got a newspaper, and went home. (noun)


  • The most common linking verb is “be”.  This is discussed under the heading “To Be” verbs.
  • “To Be” verbs or state of being verbs can be main verbs or helping verbs.
  • “to be” verbs do not have a passive voice.
  • There are eight (8) “to be” verbs:

amisare    (show present tense)

waswere,  (show past tense)

be   (shows future tense and needs “will” or “shall” with it)

been  (shows present perfect tense, past perfect tense, or

future perfect tense and needs one of the words “had”, “have” or “has” with it)

  • They can express the main action or state of being.

ex.   We are glad you came with us. (“are”-main verb)

        I am tired. (“am” –main verb)


  • They become helper verbs for the main verb in the sentence.

ex.   You should speak loudly so we hear you. (“should” helps “speak”)

        We will color the pictures tomorrow.  (“will” helps “color”)


  • Regular verbs:

Most verbs are regular. Thank goodness!  But regular verbs have spelling rules too. The past tense doesn’t need to change to a weird spelling. Verbs are made past tense verbs by adding a “d” or “ed” to the end of them.  These are called inflected endings.

ex.    jump   jumped,   climb  climbed,   lie  lied (don’t you lie!)

  • When adding –ing to a verb that ends with an “e” that is silent, drop the “e” and add the –ing.

ex.   ride  riding,   bite  biting,   slide  sliding 

  • When the verb ends with a single vowel (a, e, i, o, u) followed by a single consonant, you need to double the consonant before adding  -ing or -ed.

ex.   blab  blabbing  blabbed,   hug  hugging  hugged,  

rob  robbing  robbed

  • When the verb ends with a consonant and a “y” remember the “y” changes to an “i” before adding the –ed

ex.   try  tried,  cry  cried,  fry  fried

  • When the verb ends with a consonant and a “y” don’t change the word, just add the  -ing.

ex.  try  trying,   cry  crying,   fry  frying


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