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English Verbs


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English Verbs

  1. 1. English VerbsBy Piret Lehiste
  2. 2. VerbsA verb is a word used mainly to indicate a type ofaction (fly, walk, throw), though sometimes theaction is merely emotional or intellectual(believe, think). It may also be used to indicatea state of being (live, exist).The term ‘verb’ is from the Latin ‘verbum’ meaning‘word’: hence it is the word of a sentence.Depending on the language, a verb may vary in formaccording to many factors, possibly including itstense and voice. It may also agree with theperson and number.
  3. 3. Transitive vs Intransitive VerbsAll action verbs are divided into transitive andintransitive verbs.To determine whether a verb is transitive, askwhether someone or something receives theaction of the verb. If it does, then the verb istransitive and the person or thing that receivesits action is the direct object.E.g. Becky walked the dog. – ‘walk’ is a transitiveverb here.But the word ‘walk’ can also be intransitive. E.g.Becky walked to school. There is no objectfollowing the verb in this example.An intransitive verb never has a direct or indirectobject. E.g. He lives in Haapsalu.
  4. 4. Linking VerbsA linking verb connects the subject of a sentenceto a noun or adjective that renames or describesit. This noun or adjective is called the subjectcomplement.E.g. Jason became a businessman. – The verb‘became’ links the subject to its complement.The most common linking verb is the verb BE in allof its forms (am, is, are, was, were, etc.). But itmay also be used as a helping verb (see nextslide). Other common linking verbs are:become, seem. Some verbs may be linkingverbs in some cases and action verbs in othercases, e.g., to feel, to smell, to taste, to appear,to look, to turn, etc.
  5. 5. Helping VerbsOnce upon a time there was a wealthy merchant namedMr. Do. Mr. Do was very old and very rich. His manyrelatives were dreaming of the day the old man woulddie. They wondered which one of them would inherithis money. Finally, one day Mr. Do died. All therelatives searched his house for a will. They didnt findone. They searched his house three times. They stilldid not find a will. The relatives did not get one dimeof Mr. Dos fortune.The moral of the story: Maybe Mr. Do should havehad a will.Remember this sentence and you will know how to setup a chart of the 23 helping verbs! The largest"family" is the "BE" family with 8 members. The otherfive families have 3 members each.
  6. 6. Helping VerbsMay be do should have willMight being does could has canMust been did would had shallamisarewaswereA sentence may contain up to three helping verbsto the main verb. E.g. The dog must have beenchasing the cat.
  7. 7. Helping VerbsHelping words are also called auxiliary verbs.They come before the main verb of a sentenceand convey additional information regardingaspects of possibility (can, could, etc.) or time(was, did, has, etc.). Together with the main verbthey form a verb phrase.Auxiliaries can be used before the word ‘not’, mainverbs cannot. The contracted form ‘n’t’ can alsobe attached to almost all auxiliaries; this is notpossible with main verbs (apart from ‘be’ and‘have’)A modal verb is a type of auxiliary verb that isused to indicate modality (i.e. possibility,necessity), e.g., can, shall, will, must, may.
  8. 8. Phrasal VerbsPhrasal verbs are "multi-word verbs“, e.g., pickup, turn on or get on with. These verbs consistof a basic verb + another word or words.The other word(s) can be prepositions and/oradverbs. The two or three words that make upmulti-word verbs form a short "phrase“ — whichis why these verbs are often called "phrasalverbs".The important thing to remember is that a multi-word verb is still a verb. "Get" is a verb. "Getup", is also a verb. "Get" and "get up" are twodifferent verbs.
  9. 9. Regular vs IrregularRegular verbs appear in 4 forms: the base form (aform with no endings, as listed in a dictionary),the –s form (used for the 3rdperson singular inthe present tense), the –ing form (presentparticiple), the –ed form (in the past form and-ed participle form). E.g. work, works, working,worked.An irregular verb is one where some of the formsare unpredictable. They have either anunpredictable past tense or an unpredictable –edparticiple form or both. Many irregular verbstherefore appear in 5 forms: e.g. sing, sings,singing, sang, sung.There are more than 400 irregular verbs in English.
  10. 10. TensesA tense is a form of a verb used to indicate thetime, and sometimes the continuation orcompleteness, of an action in relation to the timeof speaking. (From Latin tempus = ‘time’).So, we talk about time in English with tenses. But:• we can also talk about time without using tenses(for example, going to is a special construction totalk about the future, it is not a tense);• one tense does not always talk about one time(If I had time, I would go).
  11. 11. The English Verb Tense SystemPresent Simple Past Simple Future SimplePresent Continuous Past Continuous Future ContinuousPresent Perfect Past Perfect Future PerfectPresent P. Continuous Past P. Continuous Future P. Continuous+Future Simple in the pastFuture Continuous in the pastFuture Perfect in the pastFuture Perfect Continuous in the past16 tenses in Active Voice10 tenses in Passive Voice
  12. 12. VoiceA voice shows the relationship of the subject to theaction. In the active voice, the subject does theaction (cats eat mice). In the passive voice, thesubject receives the action (mice are eaten by cats).Among other things, we can use voice to help uschange the focus of attention.E.g. He has broken the window. - activeThe window has been broken. - passiveMost verbs which take an object (transitive verbs) canappear in both active and passive constructions (eat,break, buy). There are just a few exceptions, suchas resemble and most uses of have (e.g. I had acar.).
  13. 13. BibliographyCrystal, D. (2003). The Cambridge Encyclopedia ofthe English Language. CUPUnderstanding Verbs: Basic Types of Verbs: Verb English Verb Tense