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Types of verbs

What is a Verb in English?

14th November 2020 CHALLA Comments Off

What is a Verb in English?

What is a Verb?

Definition: A verb is a word that tells us about an action, a state of being or existence or possession of someone or something.

The verb is the most important part of a sentence. In fact, it may be called the heart of a sentence.  Because without a verb, the sentence doesn’t exist. Even if there is a single word in a sentence, that word must be a verb.


am, is, are, have, had, play, drink, go, speak, run, eat, play, live, walk, like etc.,

(Another definition: Verbs are the words in a sentence that describe what a person is doing, what a person is or what a person has)

As stated in the definition, the verb can primarily be described in three ways:

  • Action or doing of the verb
  • Possession or having of the verb
  • State of being or existence of the verb

Action or Doing of the Verbs:


  1. Stand!
  2. Go. 
  3. The child goes to school every day. 
  4. They are playing chess now. 

Possession or Having of the verb: (Have Forms used as Main Verbs)


  1. I have a new car. 
  2. She has no wristwatch. 

State of being or Existence of the verb: (Be Forms used as Main Verbs)


  • Radhika is a teacher. 
  • Bhoopi and Gopi are professors at Delhi University.
  • My friend has been here for two weeks. 

The verb is found under several headings.  Here, an effort is made to explain all types of verbs to get a vivid picture of it.

Types of Verbs in English:

  • Main Verbs 
  • Regular and Irregular
  • Transitive and Intransitive Verbs
  • Auxiliary or Helping Verbs
  • Finite and Non-Finite Verbs
  • Action Verbs, Stative Verbs, and Linking Verbs
  • Phrasal Verbs
  • Verb Moods
  • Verbs of Incomplete Predication
  • Subject-Verb Agreement

Main Verbs

  • The main verb expresses the main action or state of being of the subject in the sentence.  
  • Main Verbs are also called lexical verbs, full verbs, principal verbs, or non-auxiliary verbs.
  • It changes its form according to the subject and the tense.
  • Main verbs are helped sometimes by the auxiliary verbs to give full meaning.

For examples:

  • Geetha usually sits on the backbench.
  • Teena stands in the front row.
  • Naveena is a clever student.
  • Bhanu has seen this movie several times.
  • Shivani has been attending the live classes.

Main verbs are further divided into two different groups – 

Regular and Irregular Verbs

Every main verb has five forms as shown in the table below.

Every main verb has five forms:
Base form/

Plain Infinitive/

Present Tense

Past Tense  Past Participle Present Participle -s or es Form
go went gone going goes
drink drank drunk drinking drinks
be (am/are) was/were been being is
have had had having has
play played played playing plays
write wrote written writing writes
see saw seen seeing sees


Transitive and Intransitive Verbs

Verbs in English can be classified into two groups as Transitive and Intransitive verbs. The Transitive Verb is the one that takes an object and the Intransitive Verb is the one that does not take any object.

Auxiliary or Helping Verbs

An Auxiliary Verb is also called a Helping Verb.  It is used with a main verb to help express the main verb’s tense, mood, or voice. 

There are three types of Auxiliary Verbs in English. 

Finite and Non-Finite Verbs

The Verb is of two types – Finite and Non-finite Verbs.  Finite verbs are used as the main Verbs and are limited by subject, tense and number whereas non-finite verbs are not limited by subject, tense and number.

A Finite Verb:

A verb that has a subject and shows grammatical tense, person and number is called a Finite Verb.  These verbs are also called Main Verbs.


  • I go to school regularly.
  • She goes to the office by bus.
  • We are working on this project.
  • They have already visited this place.

A Non-Finite Verb:

A verb that has no subject and does not show grammatical tense, person and number is called a Non-Finite Verb. These verbs are usually infinitives, gerunds, or participles.


  • Snehith loves to play chess.
  • To err is human.
  • You can impress them with your smiling face.
  • Smoking is injurious to health.

Kinds of Non-Finite Verbs:

Non-Finite Verbs are found in three different groups – Infinitives, Participles and Gerunds.

Action Verbs, Stative Verbs and Linking Verbs

The verb in English has been found in three different categories. 

They are 

  • Action or Doing Verbs,
  • Stative Verbs (state or static) and
  • Linking Verbs (Copula / Copular).

Verb Moods

The mode or manner in which a Verb is used is called its Mood.

There are three Moods in English:  Indicative, Imperative, and Subjunctive.

Verbs of Incomplete Predication

The Verbs which require a word or phrase to make a complete meaning of the sentence are called the verbs of incomplete predication. 

Here the verb refers to Linking Verb or Intransitive Verb which requires a Subjective Complement to make complete sense.


  • They are doctors.
  • My friend has been a professor.
  • The earth is round.
  • Honey tastes sweet

Subject-Verb Agreement

Generally, every sentence in English Grammar contains a subject and a verb. So the verb should agree with its subject in number (singular or plural) and person (first, second, or third). The basic rule in English is that singular subjects take singular verbs, and plural subjects take plural verbs. 


Subject and Verb agree in number (singular or plural) 

  • The boy is singing.  (Singular Subject and Singular Verb)
  • The boys are singing.  (Plural Subject and Plural Verb)

Subject and Verb agree in person (first, second, or third)

  • I am a teacher.
  • She is a teacher.
  • He was a lecturer.
  • They are students.
  • You were professors.
  • I have a car.
  • You have a car.
  • She has a car.
  • He has a car.
  • They have a car.


In the present simple tense, we have to use plural verbs (verbs ending in –s) with the third person singular subjects.

Person Singular/Plural Verb
I I, We, You play
II You play
III He, She, It plays
They play
Cat needs our care.
Cats need our care.