English Grammar : Verbs

Types of Verbs in English Grammar

What is Verb?

"Verb is a word of action."

'Verb' is used to describe an action, state, or occurrence, and forming the main part of the predicate of a sentence. A verb is the part of a sentence that tells us what the subject performs.

A verb is a word, which tells something about some person or thing (an action, event or state). A verb may be a one word or more than one word. All verbs have three forms – Base form, Past Tense & Past Participial but, Auxiliary Verb do not have any.

There are three kinds of verbs :

1. Transitive Verb ( Regular / Irregular Verb ) e.g. The cat killed the mouse.
2. Intransitive Verb ( Main Verb ) e.g. The peacock died.
3. Auxiliary Verb ( Helping / Supporting Verb ) e.g. I am reading my book

(1) Transitive Verbs

With Transitive Verbs action passes from the subject to the object. The word “transitive” is derived from a Latin word trans, which means to “go across.”
Transitive verbs simply express an action and are followed by a direct object (thing or person that receives the action of the verb).

A transitive verb has two characteristics. First, it is an action verb, expressing an activity. Second, it must have a direct object, something or someone who receives the action of the verb.

  • The cat killed the rat/mouse.
  • The boy kicked the ball.
Note : In above sentences verb 'killed' and 'kicked' are Transitive verbs.
More Examples:
Look at examples of transitive verbs in a sentence:
  • • Samir sent (transitive verb) a postcard (direct object) from USA.
  • • She left (transitive verb) the books (direct object) on the table.
  • • My Brother took (transitive verb) me (direct object) to the cinema for my birthday.
  • • Please buy (transitive verb) me a bike (direct object)!
Note : In each of the examples above the subject performs an action and there is an object that receives the action. Followed by the verb, the direct object answers the question What? or Whom?
(2) Intransitive Verbs
With Intransitive Verbs action does not pass from the subject to the object but stops with the subject unlike Transitive Verb. It shows the state or being with the subject.
An intransitive verb does not take a direct object to act upon. It is not done to someone or something. It only involves the subject.
Look at examples of intransitive verbs in a sentence:
  • • The peacock died.
  • • The baby sleeps.
  • • They jumped.
  • • She sang.
Note : In each of the examples above verb 'died', 'sleeps', 'jumped' and 'sang' are Intransitive used.
Uses of Transitive & Intransitive Verbs.
Transitively used Verbs
  • • The Children broke the glass.
  • • Doctor made him unconscious.
Intransitively used Verbs
  • • The glass broke.
  • • He fell unconscious.
How to identify Transitive and Intraisitive Verbs?

An easy way to identify the direct object in a sentence is by finding the sentence’s verb and then asking the question, “What?”

1. If you can easily answer the question, the verb has a direct object. Verbs with direct objects are called 'transitive verb'.
2. If the question doesn’t make sense for this sentence, or if you can’t answer it, then the sentence does not have a direct object and you are dealing with an 'intransitive verb'.

(3) Auxiliary Verbs
Auxiliary Verb is also called Helping or Supporting Verb because it helps or supports to complete the meaning of main verb.
An auxiliary verb is a verb that determines the mood, tense, voice, or aspect of another verb in a verb phrase. Auxiliary verbs include be, do, and have along with modals such as can, might, and will and can be contrasted with main verbs and lexical verbs.
  • • I am reading my book.
  • • He is playing cricket.
Note : Auxiliary verb has no forms like normal verb. (ie. Base form, Past Tense & Past Participial). They are used with normal verb.
Auxiliary verbs are used to form : (1) Tenses (2) Moods (3) Voices.
(1) Tenses
  • • I am working on a project.
  • • He has written the article.
  • • She hasn’t gone to college.
(2) Moods
  • • Be silent.
  • • You can sit.
  • • She may go.
(3) Voices (Active & Passive)
  • • English Language is used all over the world.- Active
  • • English Language is used all over the world by all the people.- Passive
  • • He opened the window. - Active
  • • The windows was opened by him. - Passive
  • • She wrote the letter. - Active
  • • The letter was written by her. - Passive
Types of Auxiliary Verbs
(1) Auxiliary–cum–verbs.

"Auxiliary-cum-verbs" are :

These 11 auxiliaries are also used as verbs, therefore, they are called Auxiliary–cum–verbs. These are used to form Tenses. ( Please refer Tense Table).

(2) Pure Auxiliary verbs..

These 20 auxiliaries only support normal verbs, therefore, they are called Pure Auxiliary Verbs. They are also called Models or Model Auxiliary Verbs.

Related Topics :
Types of Noun in English Language
Types of Pronoun in English Language
Types of Verb in English Language
Types of Adverb in English Language
Types of Adjective in English Language
Kinds of Preposition in English Language
Types of Conjunction in English Language
Uses of Interjection words in English Language


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