The Rules of Verb Usage

What is a verb?

Verbs, when used as predicates, are often thought of as action words.


She rode the bus. [rode is a verb and a predicate]
The dog chewed the toy. [chewed is a verb and a predicate]

However, there are three types of verbs: linking verbs, helping/auxiliary verbs, and action verbs.

Linking Verbs: Linking verbs link sentences together. There are twenty linking verbs, the most common are: is, am, are, was, were, being, and been (These are all forms of to be). Other linking verbs include: appear, become, feel, grow, look, remain, smell, seem, sound, taste, stay, and turn. To see if a word is being used as a linking verb, replace it with a form of to be. If the sentence sounds correct, then the word is a linking verb.

Helping/Auxiliary Verbs: Helping verbs help the verb they are next to. (i.e. She may go to the store today.) There are twenty-three: do, does, did, has, have, had, may, might, must, should, would, could, shall, will, can, is, am, are, was, were, be, being, been. These verbs are used to form verb phrases or verb strings.

She might go to the store today.
You are being very weird, and I don't like it.
Where did you say the bathroom was?


Action Verbs: These verbs are what you would normally think of when you think of a verb. They signify action and tell you what the subject of the sentence is doing. Usually, you will see one of three common types of verbs: present, past, and future.


Present
: She is walking to school.
Past: She walked to school.
Future: She will walk to school.

Action verbs also show possession, such as have and own. Action verbs can be transitive or intransitive.

A transitive verb has a direct object as its noun.
She picks the flower.
In this sentence, picks is referring to flower.

A transitive could also have an indirect object as their noun.
She gives the flower to her mom.
In this sentence, gives is the verb and mom is the indirect object.

An intransitive verb, however, has neither a direct nor indirect object.
She rose slowly from her chair.
The primary purpose of the phrase slowly from her chair is to modify the verb rose; there is no direct or indirect object in this sentence.

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