Verbs belong to the different parts of speech that help us form sentences and convey thoughts. Their basic aim is to help us describe actions that someone or something can do.
Well, there are different types of verbs. But when a verb is directly explaining an action that the subject is performing, they are said to be the main verbs. These are the key verbs that carry the root meaning in a sentence.
Every sentence has a main verb, and it may seem easy to identify it. However, that is only the case when there is one verb in a sentence. What happens when there are two verbs? So, it is necessary to know how main verbs work and how to recognize them.
What are main verbs?
By definition, main verbs are simply the key words in a sentence that describe the action or state of the subject. So, when a verb has a subject, describes an action performed by the subject, along with the object that is the receiver of the action, it is called the main verb of a sentence.
These verbs are also known as lexical verbs, finite verbs, or principal verbs. Which means they are the words that carry the important message in a sentence. Another important point about the main verb is that it can stand alone in a sentence or make sense in an independent clause.
Let us look at some examples and identify the main verbs.
- I played the sitar yesterday.
- He travels very often to Delhi.
- I worked very hard for this.
The words marked in bold describe the actions that the subject is engaged in. Hence, they are the main verbs.
Sometimes, the main verb can also appear with a helping verb. But helping verbs can never be the same as main verbs because they just help the main verb. They do not have a meaning of their own.
For instance, a helping verb can show the possibility or obligations of the main verb in a sentence. And primarily, they are verbs like to be, to have, to do, which modifies the main verb. Let us look at some examples.
- You should wash your car.
- I am driving right now.
Here, should and am work as helping verbs. They modify the nouns by trying to show their obligations and tenses.
Classifications of main verbs
Main verbs can be any verb with correct requirements. However, there are specific classifications that we can study them in to identify them easily.
Transitive verbs and intransitive verbs: Transitive verbs are those verbs that describe an action performed by the subject with the presence of a direct object. On the other hand, intransitive verbs are those verbs that also describe an action but do not take a direct object.
- I shut the door. Shut – action; door– object
- The dog ran. Ran– action; the object is missing.
Linking verbs: Another common classification of main verbs is the linking verbs. When we say that a verb describes an action or a state, the state of something is functioned by linking verbs. Here, they link or connect the subject to the information related to its state of being.
- The coffee was very cold.
- Jane is a doctor.
So, we see main verbs are the ones that describe an action or state of being of the subject in a sentence. It can be confusing to identify the main verb sometimes, but knowing its classifications will definitely help.