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verb

The most important word in the English language is the verb. Without it, we could not write sentences. In fact, if you want to write a one-word sentence, that one word must be a verb.

We have four kinds of main verbs: (1) action transitive verbs, (2) action intransitive verbs, (3) the verb to be, and (4) linking verbs.

A fifth kind of verb is the auxiliary verb, which joins with a main verb in verb conjugation.

Verbs fulfill five functions in our language. In their (1) conjugated form, they enable us to form clauses, either as complete sentences or as dependent clauses. They also appear (2) as infinitives (to verbs), (3) as present participles (‑ing verbs), and (4) as past participles (ordinarily ‑ed verbs). In these three forms, they appear as verbal phrases. And, in their ‑ing and ‑ed forms, they can appear (5) as single‑word adjectives.

We can use two of the verbal phrases (to phrase, ing phrase) as nouns, adjectives, and adverbs. We can use the third verbal phrase (the ed phrase) as an adjective. In short, verbs can perform the roles of all major parts of speech: nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs.

That’s power.

With so much versatility inherent in the verb form, one would think that writers would favor verb‑based writing. The good writers do just that: They fashion their styles around the verb. But soft, fluffy writers shy away from verbs. Instead, they prefer the noun form.

We urge you to study the section on Verbs in Parts of Speech on Grammar.com. Click here for the beginning of that discussion.

Also study the eBook Developing a Powerful Writing Style. To become an excellent writer, you must master the use of verbs.

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