What is a Verb

What is a Verb: Verb Definitions, Types & Examples

Introduction

Here we will examine an important Part of Speech which I personally consider the most important one – verb. What is a Verb? Before we get to answer that, consider this short pithy lines by R. Buckminster Fuller, a U.S. architect, designer and inventor in his work, ‘No More Secondhand God’…

Here is God’s purpose –
for God, to me, it seems,
is a verb,
not a noun,
proper or improper.

He considers a verb so important that he feels God is a verb.

What is a Verb?

A verb is the Part of Speech that is often referred to as the ‘doing’ word. It can be defined as any word that expresses an action or a state of being of the noun or pronoun. It can also be described as the word in a sentence that is most concerned with the action and is usually essential to the structure of the sentence; in other words, it is the most important element in the structure of a sentence. All other sentential elements are optional but a verb is very compulsory.

Types of Verbs

There are different types of verbs in the English Language, but they can be broadly categorised into two major types or categories. These are:

Main Verbs

Auxiliary Verbs.

 Let us take a closer look at each of these two main divisions…

Main Verbs

These are the main or in a sentence and they can occur alone without the assistance of other types of verbs. They are also called ‘lexical’ verbs because they contain the actions in a sentence. In other words, they can occur as the ONLY verbal element in a sentence. Examples include:

  • He made a lot of money from the deal.
  • The President gave him a medal of courage.
  • Children sleep a lot.
  • They rested after walking a long distance.

Auxiliary verbs

These are verbs that are used in forming tenses, moods and voices of other verbs. They help the main verbs to function. They can be classified into two types:




Modal auxiliary verbs

Non-modal auxiliary verbs

We also refer to the non-modal auxiliary verbs as Primary auxiliary verbs.

Examples of Auxiliary Verbs include:

  • She is eating right now.
  • We are going to see them tomorrow.
  • He has been invited to the party.

All the verbs in bold font are auxiliary verbs. Read more extensively about Modal Auxiliary Verbs. You can equally see a detailed discussion on Non-Modal Auxiliary Verbs.

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