Verbs Overview




Verbs are words that convey an action, occurrence, or state of being.

Unlike most of the other parts of speech, verbs change their form. The different forms of verbs show different meanings related to tense (past, present, future). One of the most important things about verbs is their relationship to time. Verbs can indicate something:

  • has already happened;
  • is currently happening;
  • will happen at a later time.

Irregular verbs are verbs that don’t follow the rules for changing tense by adding the usual -ed ending (e.g., sing, sang vs. laugh, laughed).

Verbs fall into three categories: action, linking, and helping.

Action verbs tell about something a person, animal, thing, or force of nature can do or be.

K-2 Verbs eat, run, jump, drink, walk, chop, sing, act, kick, mix
3-5 Verbs climb, grasp, borrow, laugh, paint, observe, rescue, search, travel, celebrate
6-8 Verbs compose, emphasize, interrupt, persuade, investigate, erupt, adjust, vibrate, pursue, verify
9-12 Verbs negotiate, fluctuate, modify, extinguish, thrive, eavesdrop, acquire, abolish, confiscate, plunder

Linking verbs do not show action, but tell about the state or condition of subjects. They link the subject with either a noun that renames it or an adjective that describes it.

Forms of be be, am, is, are, was, were, been, being
Other linking verbs appear, become, feel, grow, look, seem, remain, smell, sound, stay, taste, turn

Helping verbs do not stand alone or express action. They are part of verb phrases that “help” the main verb. Helping verbs define the tense (past, present, future) or change the meaning of the main verb. Some common helping verbs:

will
be
was
have
should
being
must
do
am
were
has
could
would
shall
did
is
been
might
had
may
can
does
are
having