A verb is often described as a ‘doing word‘.
To expand on this, a verb may be defined as a word that describes taking action, an event taking place, or an occurrence that directly relates to the scenario described in the sentence where the verb appears.
A verb is one of the main types of words, along with nouns and adjectives.
There are more types of words too. These include pronouns, adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions, and interjections. These are all discussed on the Write Correctly website. Collectively, these are known as the classes of words, of which there are eight in total.
The Cambridge Dictionary description of a verb is: ‘Verbs are one of the four major word classes, along with nouns, adjectives and adverbs. A verb refers to an action, event or state‘.
Types of Verb
There are several types of verbs and several verb forms. Types of verbs include modal verbs, regular verbs, and irregular verbs.
There are five verb forms. These are the infinitive, the past form, the past participle, the -ing form, and the -s form.
|Sung (or Sang)|
Regular verbs are verbs that conform to the standard rule when it comes to the endings of the words for their past form and past participle.
This rule is that ‘ed‘ (or sometimes just ‘d’) is added to the infinitive (base form of the verb) to create the past form and the past participle.
Irregular verbs are ‘doing’ words that are linked with meaning, but spelled alternatively. These include:
- Bite, bit, bitten, biting, bites
- Sing, sang, sung, singing, sings
- Ride, rode, ridden, riding, rides
- Ring, rang, rung, rings, ringing
- Feed, fed, fed, feeds, feeding
- Become, became, become, becoming, becomes
- Deal, dealt, dealt, dealing, deals
- Lie, lay, lain (laid), lying, lies
The above are in order of infinitive (base verb), past form, past participle, ending with ‘ing’ verb, and ending with ‘s’ verb.
Verbs can be added to several parts of a sentence. Ther may precede or follow other classes of word, or be included in short sentences that relate to the wider context of the document or paragraph.
- After reading the information about verbs on the Write Correctly website, David formed one opinion. He despised it.
In the above example, despised is the verb, in its past participle form. Note that both the past form and past participle of despise is despised. The above example is the past participle because it relates to the action that one individual is displaying.
An example of where verbs are used in longer sentences is:
- The cooks are busy cooking David’s dinner. David hopes that his dinner is cooked to perfection.
In the above example, cooking and cooked are verbs. This is because they are the actions (doing words) in the sentences. In this particular example, the word ‘cooks’ is a noun because it is the name of the people doing the cooking. In the example below, the same word is used as a verb. Always note the context that the word is written in to ascertain whether it is a noun or verb.
The chef cooks David’s meals almost every day.
In the English language, there are several words that are spelled the same way but have different meanings depending on the context and situation that they are used.
Active and Passive Verbs
Verbs can be active (a doing currently word) or passive (has been done word).
An active verb is usually defining an action or occurrence that is happening now, or a continuously active occurrence (maybe current as in a continuous series of linked actions but not physically happening at this point in time) that is allowing some other kind of current event or facility to be active, accessible, or utilized.
An example of an active verb is:
- The Write Correctly website is written to help visitors understand grammar, punctuation, and spelling.
A passive verb is a doing word that describes an action or event that has already taken place and is unlikely to be an actively recurrent occurrence of the same action or event.
An example of a passive verb in a sentence is:
- The Write Correctly website’s page about verbs was written in August 2020 to help visitors understand the use of verbs.
In the above examples, the same word has been used as both an active verb and a passive verb. The active or passive element relates to the current or historic nature of the ‘doing word’ context.
Concluding Comments about Verbs
We hope that this page has helped you to understand the use of verbs. There are many different ways that verbs can be written. This can make learning a language very difficult. In fact, many native speakers of a language may not fully understand its grammatical structure completely. Do not be concerned if some of this seems too complex.
We are not English teachers and are in no way experts in the English language. We have created the Write Correctly website to help those writing documents, letters, and other forms of communication to do so correctly with the help of a quick reference that is accessible on the computer and mobile device. We actually use what we discover when writing this site to benefit ourselves.
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