You are on page 1of 13

Verbs This list of verbs should help you to understand verbs a little better.

For a more in-depth look at verbs, see the verb page. Quick Refresher: Verbs are words that show action or state of being. There are three main types of verbs: action verbs, linking verbs, andhelping verbs (also called auxiliary verbs).

* When you're done with this list of verbs, check out the little lesson in sentence diagramming at the bottom of the page!

Action Verbs As their name implies, these verbs show action. Keep in mind that action doesn't always mean movement. Example: Talia thought about bears. In that example, the verb thought does not show movement, but it is a mental action, and therefore, it is still a verb. There are many, many action verbs. Here is random assortment of some action verbs.

























Linking Verbs These types of verbs link the subject of a sentence with a noun or adjective. Example: Lana became a famous equestrian. If you count all of the forms of "to be" as one word, there are 13 linking verbs. Memorize these!

Forms of be

be, am, is, are, was, were, been, being

Other Linking Verbs

appear, become, feel, grow, look, seem, remain, smell, sound, stay, taste, turn

This video shows you the difference between linking verbs and action verbs. To learn more, see these English grammar lessons.

Helping Verbs These do just what their name implies. They help action verbs or linking verbs. There can be more than one of them used in a single verb phrase. Example: (used with the action verb love) Greta will love these sausages. There are only 24 helping verbs. Use this chart and this lovely song to memorize them! <="" embed="">

























How Do You Diagram Verbs? If you've checked out this site much, you know that I think sentence diagramming rules when it comes to teaching and learning English grammar. Sentence diagramming is a way to visually show how all of the words in the sentence are related to each other. All verbs are diagrammed on a horizontal line after the subject. A vertical line separates the subject from the verb, and the rest of the sentence depends on the type of verb you are diagramming. Here are the three categories of verbs.

Examples of Verbs

Action verb with no helping verb

I ate five pizzas!

Helping verb helping an action verb

Now, my stomach will hurt for awhile.

Two helping verbs helping anaction verb

Actually, my stomach will be hurtingfor a few days.

When you have a helping verb along with an action or linking verb, all of those verbs together are called a verb phrase. Here are some examples of sentences with verb phrases. Example 1: Now, I will eat fruits and veggies.

helping verb


main verb (action verb)


verb phrase

will eat

Example 2: I have been feeling great!

helping verbs

have been

main verb (linking verb)


verb phrase

have been feeling

What is a verb? Got it all? Here's a summary:

• • • •

There are three categories of verbs (action, linking, helping). Only two are main verbs (action, linking). Main means that the verb is strong enough to be the only verb in the sentence. Helping verbs are not main verbs. They help action and linking verbs. A helping verb and a main verb working together are called a verb phrase.

Verb Types So, you now know the answer to the question, "What is a verb?" (It's a word that expresses action or a state of being!) You also know that there are three categories of verbs (action verbs, linking verbs, and helping verbs). For the next little while, we are going to focus on main verbs. So, forget about those poor little helping verbs for a bit, and let's turn our attention to action verbs and linking verbs. These two main types of verbs can act in four different ways.

Transitive Active Action Verb John kicked Jen.

Intransitive Complete Action Verb Jen cried.

Transitive Passive Action Verb John was kicked.

Intransitive Linking Linking Verb Jen felt happy.

Transitive Active Certain action verbs called transitive action verbs transfer action to something called a direct object.

Transitive Active These action verbs transfer their action to a receiver. That means that something or someone is always being acted upon. In our example sentence, Jen is receiving the action kicked - even though she probably doesn't want to be receiving it. The receiver of the action is called the direct object. In our example sentence, Jen is the direct object. Every single transitive active sentence must have a direct object, and the direct object always receives the action.

Transitive Passive (A Type of Action Verb) This type of action verb does not pass any action to anyone or anything.

Transitive Passive These action verbs also transfer their action to a receiver. Only the receiver of the action is always the subject. Check out the example. Who is receiving the action? John is. John is the subject of the sentence, and he is receiving the action was kicked. The subject always receives the action in a transitive passive sentence.

Notice that we may not actually know who initiated the action. (Who kicked John?) Sometimes we find this out in a prepositional phrase, such as: John was kicked by Jen. But, it doesn't change anything. The subject is still receiving the action.

Intransitive Linking Verb These verbs link the subject to another noun, pronoun, or adjective.

Helping Verb Helping verbs help the main verb. They are used in sentences with either linking verbs or action verbs. It's easy to see that they help another verb when you see how they are diagrammed.

Intransitive Linking Linking verbs differ from the three other verb types because they are the only verb type that does not express any action. What do linking verbs do? It's pretty simple. Linking verbs link. They will always link the subject of a sentence to either a noun (which renames the subject) or an adjective (which describes the subject). Nouns that rename the subject are called predicate nouns. Adjectives that describe the subject are called predicate adjectives. It may help you to think of linking verbs as an equal sign between the subject and a predicate noun or a predicate adjective. Example:

I am a teacher.

I = teacher

The soup is salty.

soup = salty

Am is linking the subject I with the predicate noun teacher. Is is linking the subject soup with the predicate adjective salty. Intransitive Complete Again, these are action verbs. Unlike the two verb types above thattransfer their action, this type does not. Since it does not transfer action, there can be no receiver of any action.

What is a verb? Here are a few more example sentences.

Transitive Active Cats drink milk. Clocks make noise. I lost my ticket. Transitive Passive Milk was drunk. The clocks were wound. My ticket was lost.

Intransitive Complete Cats drink. Clocks tick. Buses move. Intransitive Linking Milk tastes delicious. Clocks are helpful. I am the bus driver!

Action Verbs Show Action! I know. You're shocked to discover that action verbs show action. Okay, you probably already guessed that. The question is, do you know what kind of action they show? They can show action in three ways, and I'll teach you about all of them!

Mini Pre-Lesson:

• •

A transitive verb transfers its action to someone or something. An intransitive verb does not transfer its action to someone or something.

There are two types of transitive verbs that show action, and there is one type of intransitive verb that shows action. Don't get confused yet! I'll make it clear. Check it out:

The Three Types of Action Verbs 1. Transitive Active Transitive active verbs are action verbs. Here are some examples: Mark kicked the ball. The dog scratched its back. The wind rustled the leaves. TRANSitive active verbs are action verbs that TRANSfer their action to something or someone.

The subject always performs the action with this kind of verb, and the verb's action is always transferred to someone or something. Look at those example sentences again. Can you see that the subjects are performing the action? Can you see that the verbs are transferring their action? Good! The someone or something that receives the action with these verb types is called the direct object (ball, back, leaves). Transitive active verbs need direct objects. It's a fact. They are bound together like mac and cheese or peanut butter and jelly. So... let's review! In all of the example sentences, the subjects (Mark, dog, wind) are doing something (kicking, scratching, rustling) to someone or something (ball, back, leaves). All of those verbs show action, and they all transfer that action to a direct object. (The ball is receiving the kick, the back is receiving the scratch, and leaves are receiving the rustle.) That means that they are all transitive active verbs. Here is a sentence diagram of a sentence with a transitive active verb. The baby kicked the ball.

2. Transitive Passive Transitive passive verbs are action verbs. Here are some examples: The ball was kicked. The dog's back was scratched. The leaves were rustled. TRANSitive passive verbs also TRANSfer their action to someone or something. But, with this verb type, the subject is the one receiving the action, and sometimes we don't even know who performed the action! Look at those example sentences. Can you see that the subjects are all receiving the action? Good! Did you also notice that none of those sentences tell us who or what is performing the action? That's because this kind of verb doesn't have to tell us that information. If you want to include the doer of the action with transitive passive verbs, you do so in a prepositional phrase that usually begins with the word by. I'll show you what I mean. Here are those same sentences, but this time, you'll be able to see who or what performed the action. The ball was kicked by Mark.

The dog's back was scratched by the dog. The leaves were rustled by the wind. Did you notice anything else about these verbs? Did you notice that these are made of more than one word? Transitive passive verbs are formed with a helping verb and a main verb. So... let's review! In all of the example sentences, the subjects (ball, back, leaves) are receiving the action. These types of verbs don't have to tell us who or what is performing the action, but they may do so in a prepositional phrase. These types of verbs are formed with the help of a helping verb. Got it? Good! Here is how you diagram a transitive passive verb: The ball was kicked by the baby.

3. Intransitive Complete Intransitive complete verbs are action verbs. Here are some examples: The boy laughed. My sister sneezed. The dog barked. Did you know that the prefix in- means not? That is a helpful tidbit when it comes to understanding this verb type. INTRANSitive complete verbs do NOT TRANSfer action to anyone or anything. They show action, but they are complete all by themselves. Notice that the boy didn't laugh something, and he was not laughed. That would be strange. My sister didn't sneeze something* (that would be gross), and she was not sneezed. (* I'm reminded of a time in second grade when Leah Krentz accidentally sneezed apple onto my leg. That was gross, and in that case, sneezed was a transitive active verb!) The dog didn't bark something, and he was not barked. As you can see, intransitive complete verbs don't transfer their action to anyone or anything!

Here is how you would diagram an intransitive complete verb: Cats will meow.

There are four types of verbs. You know all about one type, and now it's time for you to learn about another. In this chapter, you will learn about another kind of action verb, transitive active verbs. These verbs have direct objects and indirect objects. Direct objects receive the action of the verb. The direct object in the bubble at the top of the page is ball. The ball is receiving the action kicked. Find the direct object in this sentence: I chopped the wood. Since wood is receiving the action chopped, it is the direct object. Indirect objects receive the direct object. That means that you can only have an indirect object in a sentence that already has a direct object. The indirect object in the bubble at the top of the page is me. The word meis receiving the direct object ball. Find the direct object and the indirect object in this sentence: I gave youthe book. Book is receiving the action of the verb gave, so it is the direct object. The word you is receiving the direct object, so it is the indirect object. For more information, see this page Ready? You can do this! The answers are at the bottom of the page. When you finish, you'll be ready to learn about the other two types of verbs!

6.0 Diagramming Direct Objects Directions: Diagram the following sentences. Use the example for help. Example: The baby kicked the ball.

1. Does your sister love furry cats? 2. The tallest boy on the basketball team dunked the ball. 3. Wow! You will run a marathon on Sunday? 4. My dad videotaped me during the play. 5. The sick English teacher blew her nose.

6.1 Diagramming Indirect Objects Indirect objects are diagrammed in kind of a funny way. Before I show you how they are diagrammed, look at this sentence: The baby kicked the ball to me. This sentence has transitive active verb, a direct object, and a prepositional phrase. The word me is the object of the preposition to. There is another way we can say that sentence without the word to. The baby kicked me the ball. This sentence still has a transitive active verb and a direct object, but there is no prepositional phrase. Now, the word me is an indirect object instead of an object of the preposition. When you diagram indirect objects, diagram them underneath the verb as if they are objects of the preposition. Put an (x) where the preposition would go. Directions: Diagram the following sentences. Use the example for help. Example: The baby kicked me the ball.

1. Could you please bake me a cake? 2. Nate bought his mother flowers. 3. Arrrg, the bookstore sent me the wrong book! 4. Caroline and Mike gave Emilie a birthday card. 5. The woman handed Alex a new passport.

6.2 Diagramming Compound Direct and Indirect Objects Directions: Diagram the following sentences. Use the examples for help. Example: The baby kicked the ball and toy. The baby kicked Elmo and me the ball.

1. I smelled the delicious homemade pie and cookies. 2. Yikes! The tornado violently hit the house and threw the trees across the field. 3. The guests gave Mary a book about Germany, and she gave them a photo of her town. 4. I reluctantly gave Edward and Bella the keys to my car. 5. My friend and I walked into the woods and picked Sara flowers.

Types of Verbs: Answers! 6.0 Diagramming Direct Objects Get these answers in the ebook!

6.1 Diagramming Indirect Objects