Definition: Verbs are a class of words used to show the performance of an action (do, throw, run), existence (be), possession (have), or state (know, love) of a subject. To put it simply a verb shows what something or someone does.
- Paul rides a bicycle.
* Here, the verb rides certainly denotes an action which Paul performs - the action of riding a bicycle.
- We buy some books to learn English verbs.
* In this example, the action word is "to buy". It tells us that the subject "we", that is the person who performs the action of the verb is "buying some books".
The verb tense shows the time of the action or state. Aspect shows whether the action or state is completed or not. Voice is used to show relationships between the action and the people affected by it. Mood shows the attitude of the speaker about the verb, whether it is a declaration or an order. Verbs can be affected by person and number to show agreement with the subject.
Most statements in speech and writing have a main verb. These verbs are expressed in "tenses" which place everything in a point in time.
Verbs are conjugated (inflected) to reflect how they are used. There are two general areas in which conjugation occurs; for person and for tense.
Conjugation for tense
Conjugation for tense is carried out on all verbs. All conjugations start with the infinitive form of the verb.
The infinitive is simply the to form of the verb For example, to begin.
The present participle form (the -ing form), is formed by adding ing to the bare infinitive. For example, to begin - beginning.
There are two other forms that the verb can take, depending on the tense type and time, the simple past form and the past participle.
The form of the verb or its tense can tell when events take place.
For example, the verb kiss:
|Present Simple |
|Past Simple |
|Future Simple |
|Present Perfect |
|Past Perfect |
|Future Perfect |
will have kissed
|Present Continuous (Progressive) |
|Past Continuous (Progressive) |
|Future Continuous (Progressive) |
will be kissing
|Present Perfect Continuous (Progressive) |
has/have been kissing
|Past Perfect Continuous (Progressive) |
had been kissing
|Future Perfect Continuous (Progressive) |
will have been kissing
Conjugation for person
Conjugation for person occurs when the verb changes form, depending on whether it is governed by a first, second, or third person subject. This gives three conjugations for any verb depending on who is acting as the subject of the verb. For example: we have I begin, you begin , and he begins. Note that only the third conjunction really shows a difference.
In English, we distinguish between regular and irregular verbs. Regular verbs are those ones which form their past simple and past participle just by adding "-ed" to the base of the verb. The rest are irregular.
- Dracula bites his victims on the neck.
- In early October, Giselle will plant twenty tulip bulbs.
- She travels to work by train.
- We walked five miles to a garage.