types of Verb

Types of Verb in English Grammar

A word which shows action or state of something is called Verb.

Examples: Write, run, eat, drink, catch, clean, speak, laugh, weep, sing.

She is writing a letter.

In the above example, the verb “write” expresses the action (writing) of the subject (she). A verb has its subject in sentence and verb tells what its subject does, did or will do.

Verbs describe action or state. Most verbs describe the action, such verbs are called “dynamic verb”, for example, write, eat, run, speak. Some verbs describe the state of something, such verbs are called “stative verb” and are not usually used in continuous tense, for example, be, impress, please, surprise, belong to, consist of, resemble, seem.

            He works in a factory.        (action)
            I bought a mobile phone.   (action)
            She seems happy.             (state)
            He resembles his father.    (state)

Some verbs can be used as a dynamic verb as well as a stative verb.
           She looks very beautiful.           (look as the stative verb)
           She looked at the black board.  (look as the dynamic verb)

Forms of the verb according to tense or time of action

Verb has three forms according to tense.

  1. Base form
  2. Past Simple   
  3. Past participle
  4. Present Participle

Go—went—gone. “Go” is base form, “went” is a past simple form, and “gone” is past participle form. These three forms may also be named as 1st form, 2nd form and 3rd form of verb, which are denoted by V1, V2 and V3 respectively. “ing” is added to base form verb to make present participle which can be used with auxiliary verb “to be” in continuous tense, for example, go—going, eat—eating, laugh—laughing.

Formation of the past simple and past participle

On the basis formation of the past simple and past participle, a verb is divided into

  • Regular verbs
  • Irregular verbs

Regular Verbs

Some verbs form their past simple and past participle form by adding “-ed” to their base form, such verbs are called regular verbs, for example, laugh—laughed—laughed, look—looked—looked. 
Some more examples

Verb Base form or V1 Past Simple or V2 Past Participle or V3 Present Participle
To advice advise advised advised Advising
To allow allow allowed allowed Allowing
To enjoy enjoy enjoyed enjoyed Enjoying
To scold scold scolded scolded Scolding
To smile smile smiled smiled smiling

Irregular Verbs

Some verbs form of past simple and participle in different ways for example, buy—bought—bought, eat—ate—eaten, teach-taught-taught such verbs are called irregular verbs. 

Some examples

Verb Base form or V1 Past Simple or V2 Past Participle or V3 Present Participle
To know Know knew known knowing
To go go went gone going
To drink drink drunk drunk drinking
To hold hold held held holding
To fight fight fought fought fighting

Some verbs remain same in past simple and past participle.

Some example

Verb Base form or V1 Past Simple or V2 Past Participle or V3 Present Participle
To cut cut cut cut cutting
To shut shut shut shut shutting
To spread spread spread spread spreading
To put put put put putting
To read read read read reading


Main Verbs and Helping verbs (Auxiliary)

A sentence can have both main verb and helping verb (auxiliary verb).

Main verb: A verb which has major meaning in terms of action is called the main verb, i.e. write, buy, eat, drink etc. 

Helping verb: A verb which supports the main verb to form the structure of sentence (according to a specific tense) and gives us information about the time of action expressed by the main verb, is called helping verb or auxiliary verb, i.e. is, am, have, was, had, is, will are etc. The main verb has real meaning and tells more about action while helping verb has no (or little) meaning if it is alone but it adds time information about action if used with the main verb to specify the tense or time of the main verb.


 She is teaching English.    (“teach” is the main verb while “is” is helping verb)
 She was teaching English. (“teach” is the main verb while “was” is helping verb)

The main verbs in these sentences “teach” convey the information about the action which is done on English, while the helping verbs in these sentences "is, and was" tell us the about the time of action by referring to specific tense. In the first sentence with helping verb "is" action (teaching English) is being done right now in the present time while in the second sentence with helping verb "was" action (teaching English) was being done in past. It means the MAIN VERB CONVEYS the meaning of action with a little information about its time, but the HELPING VERB (also called auxiliary Verb) tells us more about the time of action. Helping verbs and main verbs together make a structure of sentence of a specific tense (action and its time)

Use of helping verbs

There are three primary helping verbs, be, do, and have, which are majorly used in tenses.

  • Be (am, is, are). Forms of “be” are used for continuous tenses.

Example: She is laughing.  (Present Continuous tense)

  • Have (have, has, had). Forms of “have” are used in the perfect tense.

He has done his job.           (Present perfect tense)
He had driven a car.           (Past perfect tense)

  • Do (do, does, did). Forms of “do” are used in indefinite(simple) tenses i.e. present simple tense or past simple tense.

They do not play chess. (Present simple tense)
I did not see him. (Past simple)

Modal Verbs (Modal auxiliaries)

Modal verbs are used to express ideas such as ability, possibility, intention or necessity.

Modal verbs can be used before the main verb as helping verbs.

  • I can speak English.
  • She may come today.
  • You must take permission from your mother. 
  • I will meet you later.
  • You should respect your teacher.

Transitive and intransitive verbs

Transitive Verbs

A verb which needs to have an object in a sentence is called transitive verb. 
Transitive verbs should have an object in the sentence because without subject it does not covey complete meaning. 
He played  ______.

There should be some object in this sentence for the verb “play”. Without an object, the verb “played” does not show complete meaning. To make it more meaningful we use some object for the verb “played” i.e. cricket or football or tennis etc.... 

He played cricket.
He played football.
He played tennis.

More examples:
Ali is eating a mango.
He has done his work.
caught a bird in bushes. 
She told a story.

Intransitive sentence

A verb which does not need to have an object in a sentence is called intransitive.
Intransitive verb can give complete meaning with an object in sentence for it.
He slept.
She is smiling.
It has rained.
He is sleeping.
They arrived.

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