Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Lesson 9: Basic Facts About Verbs


A verb is a word that expresses action or a state of being.

Action: The children played all morning.

Being: We live in the province.


In regard to form, verbs may be classified as follows:

Regular Verb - 'ed' or 'd' is added to denote past tense.

  • talk - talked
  • listen - listened
  • save - saved

Irregular Verb - undergoes change to denote past tense.

  • run - ran
  • think - thought
  • eat - ate

Principal Verb - member of a verb phrase that contains the main idea.

  • have eaten
  • has been doing
  • have done

Defective Verb - lacks some of the parts that most verbs have.

  • must
  • may
  • shall

Redundant Verb - has more than one form for the past tense.

  • light - lit or lighted

Causative Verb - one that expresses agency or cause and is derived, as a rule, from another word.

  • dark - darken (darken has a different definition)
  • fright - frighten (frighten has a different definition)
  • light - lighten (lighten has a different definition)


Most of the thousands of English verbs cause no problems of usage at all because they form the past tense and the past tense participle by simply adding -ed or -d to the present tense.
for example: believe - believed; walk - walked.

There are some 80 verbs, however, whose past forms do not follow this pattern. They are irregular verbs.

In fact, the most commonly used verbs, be and have, not only form the past tenses irregularly but change from person to person in the present tense; such as I am, you are, he is, I have,, he has.


In regard to their relationship to other parts of speech in a sentence, verbs are classified as follows:

A. Transitive Verb - it passes the action to the receiver.

  • Justin played the game. ('Game' receives the action of played. )

B. Intransitive Verb - is does not pass the action to the receiver.
  • Justin plays all the time.

C. Copulative / Linking Verb - connects a preceding word or idea with a following one.

  • The man looks handsome.
  • We are great.
  • He is not good.

D. Impersonal Verb - indefinite in regard to subject and thus in regard to the source of the action.

  • It rains.
  • Throw it!

E. Cognate Verb - followed by an object that repeats its idea.

  • He slept a peaceful sleep.

F. Verb of Incomplete Predication - means nothing unless it is followed by a complement.

  • The stone feels... (means nothing) The stone feels cold. (it now means a thought)
  • The house became..(means nothing) The house became old. (it now means a thought)


Expand the following sentences:

  • The man walked.
  • The man walked to his room.

1.) The pilot flew __________.

2.) The child cries __________.

3.) My friend recovered __________.

4.) I rested __________.

5.) The children wrote __________.

6.) My best friend sang _________.


~end of lesson~

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