Verbs are the part of speech that show the occurrence or performance of an action or the existence of a condition or state of being. They can be either action verbs (run, swim, shout) or nonaction verbs (need, want, hate).

Verbs are the most important part of speech because they activate our sentences. They make our sentences “do” something. A verb is also the only part of speech that can express a thought all by itself. For example,

  • Hurry!
  • Stop!

Both of these are complete grammatical sentences (with an understood subject, of course) formed with nothing more than a verb.

There are many different classifications of verbs. Below are the most common classifications,

  • Action verbs: Action verbs are verbs that a person, animal, force of nature, or thing can actively do (run, jump, shout).
  • Nonaction verbs: Nonaction verbs indicate state, sense, desire, possession, or opinion (to be, imagine, believe).
  • Transitive verbs: Transitive verbs are verbs that require a direct object to complete their meaning.
  • Intransitive verbs: Intransitive verbs are verbs that do not need an object to complete their meaning.
  • Regular verbs: Regular verbs are verbs that fall into the standard pattern of conjugation and ones to which you can apply regular inflection rules.
  • Irregular verbs: Irregular verbs are verbs that fall outside the standard pattern of conjugation and ones that regular inflection rules do not always apply.
  • Linking verbs: Linking verbs are verbs that are used to equate something with something else. They link the subject to an equivalent word in the sentence.
  • Principal verbs: Principal verbs are verbs that can stand alone and, by itself, express and act or state.
  • Auxiliary verbs: Auxiliary verbs (also called helping verbs or modal verbs) are used with principal verbs to form a verb phrase that indicates mood, tense, or voice.
  • Phrasal verbs: Phrasal verbs are usually verbs plus a preposition (get up, pick on).

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