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Five Kinds of Verbs - An Overview

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  Ed Good  —  Grammar Tips
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F. Scott Fitzgerald is quoted as saying, “All fine prose is based on the verbs carrying the sentence.”

Let’s look back and make certain we all understand the five kinds of verbs. Broadly, we have two groups of main verbs, action and no-action, which further break down into four types of main verbs.

Action Verbs

1. Transitive verbs are those action verbs that can have a noun attached directly to them, as in write book, hit ball, or answer questions.

2. Intransitive verbs are those action verbs that cannot attach directly to a noun; they need the help of a preposition, as in walk to the store, comply with the regulations, proceed with the inquiry.

No-Action Verbs

3. The verb to be can serve either as a main verb or as an auxiliary verb. When it acts as a main verb, it typically couples a grammatical subject with an adjective (predicate adjective), as in John is big or The sunset is beautiful. Or it couples a grammatical subject with another noun (predicate noun), as in Mary is president or War is hell.

Or it might couple a grammatical subject with a phrase, as in

The book is on the table


He is from the South.

When it acts as an auxiliary verb, the verb to be forms the progressive tense, as in We are studying grammar, or the passive voice, as in The ball was hit by John.

4. Linking verbs are non-be verbs that link a grammatical subject to an adjective (Watermelon tastes good), to a noun (She seems an honest woman), or to a phrase (He looks out of sorts).

Those are the four types of main verbs: (1) action transitive, (2) action intransitive, (3) no‑action to be, and (4) no‑action linking.

5. The fifth kind of verb is not a main verb, but an (5) auxiliary verb, also called a helping verb. It does not form a sentence all by itself. Instead, it hooks up with a main verb and helps it show various tenses or conditions or states, as in By the time I arrived, he had completed the assignment.

Now it’s time to take a look at the various forms of a verb, particularly its infinitive, finite, and two participial forms.

Hard Copy

You may download our entire discussion of the Parts of Speech. Simply download the Grammar eBook Understanding the Parts of Speech.


Previous: Auxiliary Verbs - Called “Helping Verbs”

Next: Four Principal Parts or Forms of Verbs

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  • Sankarachari Kalikota
    Sankarachari Kalikota
    Even a pioneer also to a professional teacherjust like me.
    LikeReplyReport 12 years ago
  • Tichum Lee
    Tichum Lee
    Very helpful.
    LikeReplyReport2 years ago
  • Micky A Praize
    Micky A Praize
    Nice one
    LikeReplyReport2 years ago
  • Ibrar Mehmood
    Ibrar Mehmood
    LikeReplyReport2 years ago
  • Gian Rahman
    Gian Rahman
    LikeReplyReport3 years ago
  • Hamilton Vega
    Hamilton Vega
    hola seño como se acer el deber
    LikeReplyReport3 years ago
  • Moazzem Hossain
    Moazzem Hossain
    LikeReplyReport 13 years ago
  • Rinki Kumari Rinki Kumari
    Rinki Kumari Rinki Kumari
    LikeReplyReport 23 years ago
  • Farman Ullah Khan
    Farman Ullah Khan
    Hi Reneo...
    let you know
    Positive Senctance; A sentence simply declares/asserts or expressess something about some one or something then it can be called Positive senctence... hopefully you would better understand from the example give below;
    He goes to school.
    they worked hard.
    she plays guitar every morning.
    they wrote me a letter.
    Negative sentances: when we find some negation in a sentence it is called negetive sentances such as;
    I don't work hard.
    she does not go to school.
    He did not play well.
    Interrogative Sentances: those sentances which ask question or seek information are called interrogative sentances such as;
    who is that boy?
    Where do you live?
    which one is your sister?
    Is it raining?
    Are you crying?
    LikeReplyReport 14 years ago
  • Reneo Cetak
    Reneo Cetak
    I hope that you could help me. I find a difficulty when I like to categorize these groups of sentences or words. Would please help me to give category names of them.
    Group I
    Positive Sentence, Negative Sentence, Interrogative Sentence
    Group II
    Simple Sentence, Compound Sentence, Complex Sentence
    Group III
    First Person, Second Person, Third Person

    I'm glad to wait for your help. Thank you.
    LikeReplyReport 14 years ago
  • Bhasha Asia
    Bhasha Asia
    How about do/does? Do they have special category as well or they are just normal action verbs ?
    LikeReplyReport4 years ago
    • Muhammad Ibrahim
      Muhammad Ibrahim
      LikeReplyReport4 years ago
  • Prota Mwenye G Zake
    Prota Mwenye G Zake
    LikeReplyReport 14 years ago
    • STANDS4
      Thanks Prota!
      LikeReplyReport4 years ago
  • Zahoor Mahsud
    Zahoor Mahsud
    LikeReplyReport4 years ago
  • Rashid Ali Jatoi
    Rashid Ali Jatoi
    well information of basic grammar for new learner
    LikeReplyReport5 years ago
  • Allen T Manyumbu
    Allen T Manyumbu
    LikeReplyReport5 years ago
  • Ram Cel Lasconia
    Ram Cel Lasconia
    LikeReplyReport 15 years ago
  • Tayyab Suleman
    Tayyab Suleman
    LikeReplyReport5 years ago
  • Kernel Kernel
    Kernel Kernel
    LikeReplyReport5 years ago
  • John Caballero Salanio Gutual
    John Caballero Salanio Gutual
    LikeReplyReport5 years ago
  • Habbtyl Kheir Abdallah Mohamed
    Habbtyl Kheir Abdallah Mohamed
    LikeReplyReport5 years ago
  • Barid Bhowmick
    Barid Bhowmick
    LikeReplyReport5 years ago
  • Katherine Joy C. Berano
    Katherine Joy C. Berano
    LikeReplyReport5 years ago
  • Karylle Cassandra Co
    Karylle Cassandra Co

    LikeReplyReport 15 years ago
  • Earl Priela
    Earl Priela
    nice one
    LikeReplyReport5 years ago
  • Medan Condes
    Medan Condes
    LikeReplyReport5 years ago
  • Adonis Moyo
    Adonis Moyo
    This is a well simplified version of types of verbs which I hope every college student or pupil will understand. Good work.
    LikeReplyReport5 years ago
  • Chaman Malik
    Chaman Malik
    LikeReplyReport5 years ago
  • Rahul Yadav
    Rahul Yadav
    LikeReplyReport5 years ago
  • Rufino Escobar Balisi
    Rufino Escobar Balisi
    pretty good
    LikeReplyReport5 years ago
  • Jeyalizabeth
    being inadequate
    LikeReplyReport5 years ago
  • Subhash Vaartha
    Subhash Vaartha
    LikeReplyReport5 years ago
  • JOHN
    very good..
    LikeReplyReport5 years ago
  • Dela Fuente Miguel
    Dela Fuente Miguel
    pogi talga ako
    LikeReplyReport5 years ago
  • Adrian Nadrasam Notna
    Adrian Nadrasam Notna
    LikeReplyReport5 years ago
  • Tajuddin Sahak
    Tajuddin Sahak
    Not bad
    LikeReplyReport6 years ago
  • Samuel Telan Medrano
    Samuel Telan Medrano
    LikeReplyReport 16 years ago
  • Roberto Bautista Tarrayo
    Roberto Bautista Tarrayo
    LikeReplyReport 16 years ago
  • Russel R. David
    Russel R. David
    wala naman yung sagot
    LikeReplyReport 16 years ago
  • CriseLda Relii
    CriseLda Relii
    Nice :)
    LikeReplyReport 16 years ago
  • James Rusty Jalmasco
    James Rusty Jalmasco
    d wow
    LikeReplyReport 16 years ago
  • Jay-r Precilda
    Jay-r Precilda
    LikeReplyReport 16 years ago
  • Angelo Derama
    Angelo Derama
    gwapo sya?
    LikeReplyReport6 years ago


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