2. The Problem of English
is a part of speech that denotes a process
in the wide meaning of the word.
performs the central role in the expression
of the predicative functions of the
possesses quite a lot of grammatical
Semantic features of the verb.
The verb possesses the grammatical
meaning of verbiality - the ability to denote
a process developing in time.
The processual meaning is embedded in
all the verbs.
The types of process:
processes of doing, or material processes,
e.g. Mary is writing a letter;
processes of happening, e.g. The old man is dying;
verbal, e.g. She told me the truth;
mental, or evaluative
e.g. The student did not know the answer;
She did not feel the pain;
He hates spiders.
e.g. John is clever; Mary is at home; John has a new car;
existential, e.g. There is a dog under the table.
According to the lexical meaning
are verbs that have no endpoint built in.
Such verbs denote processes that go on without
reaching a limit.
The earth turns round the sun.
Unbounded processes can be paraphrased
using the verb stop:
John loves Mary. vs. John stopped loving Mary.
Unbounded processes can only be interrupted,
but not finished.
can be paraphrased using the verb finish:
John wrote a novel. vs. John finished
writing a novel.
Verbs like boil, write can be called
bounded verbs proper.
Bounded verbs proper do not have to be
‘programmed’ with respect to an end-
point; an end-point is inherent in their
The verbs of double lexical nature
may represent both an action in its
development and an action as a
To see – видеть – увидеть
To hear -слышать – услышать
To understand - понимать - понять
Stative unbounded verbs express a
static situation, i.e. a situation in which the
entity is at rest.
Dynamic verbs express a situation in
which the entity is engaged in some or
To stative verbs belong:
1) cognitive verbs (e.g. know, think, i.e.
be of an opinion; understand, believe,
2) perceptive verbs (e.g. smell, taste,
3) affective verbs (e.g. like, love, hate);
4) relational verbs (e.g. be, have, lack).
John has learned the rule.
_ John knows the rule.
Mary has grasped the meaning of the
_ Mary understands the word.
The dog has perceived the smell of a
_ The dog smells a cat.
Dynamic unbounded verbs
express a dynamic situation, i.e. a
situation in which the entity is engaged in
The verbs run, walk, swim, skate, play,
sleep, stand (i.e. to keep an upright
position), live, stay, etc. belong to
dynamic unbounded verbs.
constitute a much larger class.
We can distinguish two subclasses of the
1) punctual (e.g. shoot, promise, propose,
2) non-punctual (e.g. boil, read, write,
paint, peel, slice, kill).
Punctual verbs have very short duration:
the time occupied to express the process
is longer than the time occupied to
perform it. Such processes are indivisible.
*The soldier started shooting an arrow nor
*The soldier is shooting an arrow nor *The
soldier finished shooting an arrow.
Only non-punctuals can be divided:
He started writing; he is writing; he
he started going;
he is going;
he is arriving.
Verbs that denote only the inceptive or the
final phase are called achievements; and
verbs that have all the three phases are
called accomplishments (e.g. write, read,
paint, do, make, etc.)
The Verb Categories and Forms
Taxis or Time-Relation
The category of tense is a verbal category
that reflects the objective category of time.
Future I Future II
work - is working
- be V-ing
employs the meaning of
Taxis or Time-Relation
represents temporal correlation
works - has worked
- has/have V-ed
meaning of priority
writes - is written
- be V 3/ed
Syntactic features and
Sentence level: Predicate; a part of
Phrase-level:1) N + V
2) V + N
3) V + D
4) V + Adj
Classifications of English verbs
According to different principles of
classification, classifications can be
Owing to the historical development of the
verb system the English verbs fall into two
groups: regular and irregular.
The regular verbs, which go back to the
Germanic weak verbs, constitute the
The past indefinite and participle II of these
verbs are formed by means of the dental
suffix –ed added to the stem of the verb
E.g.: to talk-talked-talked
All English irregular verbs are native, originating in
Groups of irregular verbs include:
The remaining strong verbs, which display
the vowel shift called ablaut and
sometimes have a past participle in -en or
-n: e.g., ride/rode/ridden.
Weak verbs that have been subjected to
sound changes over the course of the
history of English that have rendered them
irregular. Many of these acquired a long
vowel in the present stem, but kept a short
vowel in the preterite and past participle;
Weak verbs that show the vowel shift
sometimes called "Rückumlaut" in the
present tense e.g.. think/thought.
Weak verbs that end in a final -t or -d
that made the addition of the weak
suffix -ed seem redundant; e.g.,
A handful of surviving preterit-present verbs.
These can be distinguished from the rest
because their third person simple present
singular (the he, she, or it form) does not take
a final -s. All of the surviving verbs of this
class are modal verbs, a class of auxiliary
verbs or quasi-auxiliaries; e.g.,
Verbs that contain suppletive forms, which
form one or more of their tenses from an
entirely different root. e.g., be; go/went/gone
(where went is originally from the verb to
The irregular verbs are divided into some
The verbs that change their forms by the vowel
interchange of consonants (send-sent-sent)
suffixation and alteration (speak-spoke-spoken,
The verbs with homonymous forms (cut-cut-cut;
Suppletive verbs (be-was, were-been; go-went-
Special type (do-did-done; have-had-had)
Defective verbs (can-could; may-might)
From the point of view of outward structure of the
verbs, they are characterized by specific forms of
The verb stems may be
Simple (go, take, read, etc)
Sound-replacive (feed, bleed)
Stress-replacive (to im’port, to trans’port)
Expanded (typical suffixes –ate (cultivate),
-ify (clarify), -en (broaden), -ize (normalize); be-
(befriend), en-/em- (engulf, embed); re- (remark),
over- (overestimate), sub- (submerge), mis-
(misunderstand), un- (undo), etc.
Composite (blackmail, proof-read)
Phrasal (have a smoke; give in)
The class of verbs falls into a number of
subclasses distinguished by different semantic
and lexico-grammatical features
the set of verbs of full nominative value
(notional verbs). It includes the bulk of the
the set of verbs of partial nominative value
(semi-notional or functional verbs)
auxiliary verbs (be, have, do, shall, will,
should, would) whose function it is to
give further semantic information about
the main or full verb which follows it (be,
have, do, shall, will, should, would)
E.g.: is written, has written
Do you understand, I don’t know;
Yes I do
English contains many verb phrases that
function as quasi-auxiliaries, such as be
going to, used to, is about to.
modal verbs (can, may, must, shall, will,
ought, need), which express ability,
obligation, permission, advisability, etc.
Most of the modal verbs are defective – with
an incomplete conjugation.
semi-notional verbid introducer verbs
of discriminatory relational semantics
(seem, happen, turn out)
of subject-action relational semantics (try,
of phasal semantics (begin, continue, stop)
link verbs, which introduce the nominal
part of the predicate commonly
expressed by a noun, an adjective, or a
phrase of a similar semantico-
pure link verb be
perceptional seem, appear, look, feel,
factual become, get, grow, remain,