What is a Verb?

The verb is perhaps the most important part of the sentence. A verb or compound verb asserts something about the subject of the sentence and express actions, events, or states of being. The verb or compound verb is the critical element of the predicate of a sentence. In each of the following sentences, the verb or compound verb is highlighted: Dracula bites his victims on the neck. The verb "bites" describes the action Dracula takes. In early October, Giselle will plant twenty tulip bulbs. Here the compound verb "will plant" describes an action that will take place in the future. My first teacher was Miss Crawford, but I remember the janitor Mr. Weatherbee more vividly. In this sentence, the verb "was" (the simple past tense of "is") identifies a particular person and the verb "remember" describes a mental action. Karl Creelman bicycled around the world in 1899, but his diaries and his bicycle were destroyed. In this sentence, the compound verb "were destroyed" describes an action which took place in the past.
Types of Verbs We can divide verbs into transitive and intransitive verbs. Transitive Verbs: These verbs involve a direct object. Example 1: The boy throws the ball. Here ‘throws’ is the verb and ‘ball’ is the direct object. Example 2: The man reads the book. Here ‘reads’ is the verb and ‘book’ is the direct object

Intransitive Verbs: These verbs do not involve a direct object. Example 1: The boy throws.

Here the verb ‘throws’ is used intransitively. Example 2: The man reads quickly. Here the verb ‘reads’ is used intransitively.


A. Simple present = base form: I work. OR base form + -s: He works. She works. It works. OR base form + -es : I watch / she watches; I study / he studies 1. A general truth. The sky is blue. 2. A typical activity. I always brush after I eat. Bob watches TV every night. Sara works 5 days a week. 3. A statement of something existing at the time of speaking. I hear the train coming. I smell smoke. 4. A scheduled event or activity. My plane leaves at 8:30 tomorrow.

B. Simple past = base form + -ed for regular verbs : I worked yesterday. The simple past for irregular verbs varies : He ate lunch at noon. (irregular verb) 1. An activity begun and completed at a particular time in the past. I went to work yesterday morning.

2. Commonly used with “after” and “before” clauses. After Bob ate dinner, he drove to CEC. The students arrived in class before the teacher. 3. “Used to” = past habits (used to + base form) I used to ride horses when I was a kid.

C. Simple future = will + base form: I will work tomorrow. He will eat dinner later. OR am / is / are + (going to + base form): I am going to work tomorrow. She is going to eat dinner at Al’s Restaurant. We are going to study Unit 1 tonight. 1. A future event or activity. Our break will begin at 8:10. I will study later. I’m going to study later. 2. Use will (not: going to) to volunteer. A. Wait a second. I will help you with that sofa. If you try to move it by yourself, your back will be out for a week. 3. Use going to (not: will) with a preconceived plan. I’m going to mow my lawn tomorrow.

D. Present perfect = have + past participle : I have worked. I have eaten. OR has + past participle: She has worked. She has eaten. 1. An activity that began in the past and continues into the present , often using “since, ” “since...ago,” or “for”: “since” = a particular time: I have / She has studied English since 1997. “since...ago” = a particular time: I’ve / She’s studied English since 5 years ago.

“for” = a duration of time: 2. A repeated activity.

I’ve / She’s studied English for 5 years.

I have / He has gone to ESL class every day this week. 3. An activity that occurred at an unspecified time in the past. A. Have you ever visited New York? Orleans. B. No, but I have visited New

4. An activity in a time clause (e.g., when..., while..., after...) that ends before the main clause activity begins. I will go to the movie after I have studied Unit 1. E. Past perfect = had + past participle : I had worked. She had eaten. An activity in the past that ended before another activity in the past. e.g. They had already gone to Lab by the time I arrived.

F. Future perfect = will have + past participle : I will have worked. She will have eaten. An activity in the future that will end before another activity in the future. e.g. They will have left Lab by the time I arrive.

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