What Is a Verb ?

What Is a Verb ?

A verb is a word that is used to tell something about a person or a thing.

When you look at the sentence structure of English verbs, it can be a little difficult to understand how each verb stands in the sentence. In fact, this is one reason why many English learners find learning the English language so frustrating. They have a hard time understanding where to begin. If you’re among the many people who find this confusing, consider using a diagram to help visual learners see how each verb is derived from the other. In this article, we’ll be looking at the English verb “verb.” Here’s a little table that you can compare with the traditional English table that you might see in a classroom.


English verbs are classified into tense classifications based on whether the action is past present or future. Each verb class has several articles (or tenses) as well as moods that indicate whether the action is imperative subjunctive, conditional, or imperative. The table below compares the verb tense description for every English verb with its source word. Click on the image for a larger view.


Imperative – This type of verb is the most common in spoken English. It indicates an obligation or requirement. The verb in -ing has an -ing ending to indicate that it is an absolute rather than a conditional verb. Indicative and subjunctive to express the same meaning, but only infinitives are used in the indicative form. Both forms are found mostly in the imperative voice.


Subjunctive – This type of verb does not indicate an obligation, but rather offers a suggestion. The word order in -ing is reversed, similar to the way that -it is used in the infinitive. An imperative form of this verb is not changed. Adjectives can replace the subjunctive form of the verb.


Subordinal – This type of verb tense indicates a relationship between one thing or many things. In this case, there is a need to connect the subject and verb. You will often see this verb tense mixed with the imperative form. In the same way that the imperative expresses a command, the subjunctive does the same.


Imperative – This type of verb tense refers to an action that must be done. While it is a part of the language, it is quite clear that the verb cannot be used as a command word. As an example, I have a dog. This simple sentence implies that I have something that must be done. While the verb “have” is part of the sentence, it is always implied as the main verb.


Perfective – This type of verb tense indicates that something is perfect. In English, perfect verbs are used in the imperative form to denote that the action is complete. Perfective verbs are found mostly in the progressive and perfective forms. You will find them frequently combined with the subjunctive.


Other Verbs Types – Most of the verb infinitives can be derived from English by modifying the verb. The following are just some common examples:

  • he has made
  • he was born
  • he drowned
  • she cooked


Most verb tense can be used in almost any sentence but remember that some verbs take additional letters to form the infinitive. In most cases, the present tense precedes the verb. In verb tense where the future tense is used, the verb will come after the noun instead of before it.


Comparatives – Comparing two things is normally done with the present tense. However, in English the comparative verb tense is sometimes dropped completely. An example would be: He has more friends than me.


Conjunctions – Most verbs in English can be modified with the use of a conjunction. There are a number of exceptions to this rule. For instance, the word “be,” in the sentence above, would not be expressible as a verb in the infinitive.


Verbs take time to learn so try to always leave them until last. Practice every chance you get by listening to the natives of your destination country. When you see someone doing something out of the ordinary, try to ask them about it. This will help you gain knowledge about the verb infinitives and conjugation rules of your destination country. You will be surprised at just how much you will learn.


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