Verb: Definition and Examples

It is in primary school that students are formally given their first glimpse into the field of grammar. At this educational level, the different parts of speech such as nouns, pronouns, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions, interjections, and verbs are all introduced.

Since you have learned these word types at your mother’s knee, it is understandable if you need a little review to refresh your knowledge of basic grammar. This article will focus on answering the question, “What is a verb?” and discuss its kinds and tenses.

What is a Verb?

A verb can be considered as one of the most important parts of a sentence. You probably already know that a sentence must be composed of a subject and a predicate, so what makes a verb so important? Well, the verb is the main component of a predicate. Without it, there won’t be a sentence, just a bunch of words with an incomplete thought. Simply defined, the verb is a part of speech which is used to demonstrate an action or a state of being.

What are the Different Kinds of Verbs?

Your primary school teachers must have defined verb as an “action word.” That is right, however, verbs are more than just words that express an action done physically like:

run, jump, dance, write, kick, etc.

In reality, verbs may also refer to an action done mentally such as:

think, ponder, guess, imagine, wonder, etc.

1. Normal Verbs and Non-Continuous Verbs

The first type of verb used to express physical action is called  a Normal Verb, while the second one, which refers to an action you can’t see someone do, is called a Non-Continuous Verb.

Sample Sentences:

  • Jesse Pinkman laughed hysterically.
  • The verb in this sentence is laughed and the subject who does the action is Jessie Pinkman.
  •  Aegon Targaryen and his sisters conquered the Seven Kingdoms.
  • The verb is conquered, while the subject in this sentence is Aegon Targaryen and his sisters.
  • Darth Vader thought of an evil plan to get rid of Darth Sidious.
  • Thought is the mental action word done by the subject Darth Vader in the sentence above.
  • I wonder what will happen on the next episode.
  • The pronoun, I, is the subject in the last sentence and the verb is wonder.

2. Linking Verb

Aside from the Normal Verbs and Non-Continuous Verbs, there is another type which is called the Linking Verb.

As the name suggests, a linking verb is a kind of verb that links a subject to the complement. A complement is the part of a sentence which modifies or provides more information about the subject. Examples of linking verbs are:

am, is, was, are, were, has been, might have been, become, etc.

The words listed above are just some of the “true linking verbs.” They are called that way because they have no other functions but to serve as linking verbs. However, just like some people, certain verbs also have dual personalities. Take a look at the two sentences below:

  • Irine tasted the exotic food.
  • The exotic food tasted great!

In the first sentence, you can easily say that the italicized word is an action word done by Irine. However, in the second sentence, the same word has a different function. It serves as a linking verb that connects exotic food with the word, great.

What are Multi-Part Verbs?

Do not assume that verbs are limited to a single word. Sometimes, they come in two to four words. The basic formula for verbs with multiple parts is:

parts of a verb

The auxiliary verbs, also called “helping verbs,” allow you to write in various verb tenses and voices when combined with a base or main verb.

Take a look at the examples below:

  • I was given a two-week notice by the sales agent.
  • The sentence above is written in the passive voice.  Was is the auxiliary verb and given is the main verb.
  •  It must have been raining very hard.
  • The main verb is raining and the auxiliary verbs are must have been.

What are the Different Forms of Verbs?

In order to be able to construct a grammatically correct sentence, it is very important that you know how to write in the proper verb tense. The three basic forms of verbs are past, present, and future. The first one obviously refers to an action that was already done, the second is for present action, and the third is for an action that will be done.







will aim



will count



will march



will pick



will walk


You will notice that:

1. The present form is just the basic form of the verb (add –s or es for a singular subject)

  • Example: He marches; Soldiers march

2. The past tense is the basic form plus –ed.

  • *Note: The past tense of a verb pertaining to a singular subject and a plural subject is the same.
  • Example: She walked; They walked

3. The future tense is the word will plus the basic form of the verb.

  • *Note: The future tense of a verb pertaining to a singular subject and a plural subject is the same.
  • Example: Andrea will count; The teachers will count

Although most verbs follow these rules, there are still some exceptions. Take a look at the examples below:






will drive



will read



will feel



will teach



will think


The verbs presented in the table above are called irregular verbs. There are actually no specific rules on how to form this kind of verb. But don’t worry because you can easily find a complete list on the internet.

Final Thoughts

Verbs are very easy to spot. What can be challenging is deciding which correct verb tense to use. However, this can be easily solved by reading a lot and practicing your writing skills. Other people might find grammar a trivial thing, but the truth is that a considerable amount of knowledge in proper grammar can take you a long way.

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