A verb tells about an action or a state of being. There are three types of verbs: action, linking, and helping.
An action verb expresses action. It tells what a person or a thing does.
Muskrats swim in marshes.
We buil ta fantastic sandcastle.
To find out whether a word is an action verb, ask yourself whether that word expresses something you can do. Can youmuskrat?No! Can youmarsh?No. But can youswim?Yes—swim is an action verb.
A linking verb links the subject of the sentence with information about it. Sometimes linking verbs are called "state-of-being verbs."
The car is a convertible.
The new car looks shiny.
In the first sentence,islinks car (subject) to information about it. The fact is the car is a convertible. That is the car's state of being.
In the second sentence, lookslinks carto information about it—shiny. Did you thinklookswas an action verb? Well, it is—when the subject is doing the looking. In this sentence, the car is not doing the looking. The car itself looks shiny. That is the car's state of being.
The most common linking verbs are forms of the verbs be: is, are was, were, am, being, been.
Other linking verbs include the following: smell, look, taste, remain, feel, appear, sound, seem, become, grow, stand, and turn. Remember, these verbs link when the subject is not really doing the action.
A helping verb goes with another verb. They "help out" the main verb.
Ms. Sothros is reading our stories.
We should dig for buried treasure.
In the first sentence, the helping verb,is,helps out the main verb,reading,by telling when the action is taking place—right now in the present.
In the second sentence, the helping verb,should,helps out the main verb,dig,by telling about its importance—digging must be important, if it is something thatshouldhappen.
Note that you can'tisorshould.This reminds you that they are not action verbs.
Be, have,anddoare the most common auxiliary verbs. Other common auxiliary verbs includecan, could, should, would, may, might,andmust.
Subject and Verb Agreement
The subject and verb of a sentence must agree with one another. If you use a singular subject, use a singular verb.
Anthony helps Mr. Kelly.
The singular subject, Anthony, agrees with the singular verb helps.
If you use a plural subject, use a plural verb.
The boys helpMr. Kelly
The plural subject boys agree with the plural verb help.
Present Tense: states and action is happening now or regularly.
Examples: I like soccer. We practice everyday.
Past Tense: states an action or state of being that happened at a specific time in the past.
Examples: Anne kicked the soccer ball. She was the goalie.
Future Tense: states an action that will take place. It is formed by using will or shall before the main verb.
Examples: I will like soccer forever. We shall practice everyday.
Regular vs. Irregular
Regular: Most verbs are regular. You add -ed to regular verbs to state a past action.
Example: Yesterday, I played soccer with my friends.
Irregular: Some verbs are irregular. Instead of adding -ed, the word changes its entire form. For a list of irregular verbs,click here.