What is a Verb? Types of Verbs

In English grammar, there are eight parts of speech. These parts are different sets of words that we use to form a sentence and convey a thought. Verbs are one of them.

Verbs are the words that help us indicate an action that a person or a thing performs. That means verbs are the action words that express what the subject is doing or does. They are used in almost every sentence. In fact, it becomes impossible to convey a complete thought without them in a sentence.

So, verbs hold equal importance as nouns. They are an integral part of a sentence, and even the simplest sentence requires a verb. In this post, we will learn them in more detail to understand their true meaning, and along with their definition, we will try to understand how they are divided and used.

What are verbs?

To define verbs, we can simply say that these are words that describe an action concerning the subject of a sentence. That means verbs basically express what the subject does. It can be both an external action relating to physical activities and an internal action that takes place mentally. As long as it describes what the subject is doing, they are said to be verbs.

Verbs also perform another very common function that describes the state of being concerning the subject. Here, they express the conditions of the subject instead of an activity or action.

Let us look at some sentences and identify the verbs.

  • She is driving her car.
  • I write regularly.
  • He plays cricket.
  • Sarah feels a little dizzy.
  • She owns a pretty big house.

Here, the bolded words are either describing what the subject is doing or what their state of being is. Thus, they are known as verbs.

Types of verbs

Once we understand what verbs are, we need to realize that various types of verbs function differently in different contexts. However, verbs can be broadly classified into the following ways.

Dynamic verbs

Dynamic verbs are the verbs that describe an action or an activity. These verbs are also commonly known as action verbs, meaning they express what the subject is doing. The actions can be both physical and mental. For instance

  • External: laugh, swim, cry, sing
  • Internal: guess, know, consider

Stative verbs

Verbs have two common functions. One is to describe an action, and the other is to describe a state. So, verbs that describe the state or condition of someone are called stative verbs or state-of-being verbs.

For instance; want, believe, hate, love, etc.

Another important division of verbs can be named as the main verbs and the helping verbs.

Main verbs

Main verbs are the verbs that carry the key meaning in a sentence. They describe actions that the subject engages in. For instance

  • She writes well.

Writes” is the main verb because that explains what the subject does.

Helping verbs

Helping verbs, on the other hand, are the verbs that aid the main verb. They modify them and help them present themselves in a sentence with different meanings. They are of two types; auxiliary verbs and modal verbs.

Auxiliary verbs are like to be, to do, to have. And modal verbs help main verbs by showing their possibility or obligations.
For instance,

Auxiliary verbs

I am going to swim now.

Modal verbs

I could come if you want.

These are the basic classifications of verbs. However, from these parts, there are several other units that take birth as we keep learning about verbs. All of them have different purposes, and they all are unique in themselves.

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