Finite and Non-finite Verbs

Any verb that changes, or that may change, in form to match its subject or to indicate present, past or future is a finite verb. Any verb that is not a finite verb is a non-finite verb. Non-finite verbs do not change in form to agree with a subject or to indicate past, present and future.

Phrasal Verbs

A phrasal verb is an expression that consists of a lexical verb plus an adverb or a preposition or both an adverb and a preposition. Some phrasal verbs are formed with adverbs (i.e. words such as away, back, by, down, off, on or out). Some phrasal verbs are formed with prepositions (i.e. words such as at, by, for, into, of, on, to or with).

Transitive and Intransitive Verbs

A lexical verb that has a direct object is a transitive verb. Some transitive verbs have both a direct object and an indirect object. All transitive verbs are action verbs. A lexical verb that has neither a complement nor a direct object is an intransitive verb. All intransitive verbs are action verbs.

Word Order in Verb Phrases

The verbs that form a verb phrase usually stand together in a sentence, but they may sometimes be separated by one or more other words, such as adverbs. Auxiliary verbs always come before main verbs in a verb phrase. Modal auxiliaries come before primary auxiliaries. The auxiliary have comes before the auxiliary be. There can only be one modal verb in a verb phrase.

Verb Phrases: Main Verbs and Auxiliary Verbs

A verb phrase is a group of two or more words that have the same function as a single verb in a sentence. The main verb in a verb phrase is the word that expresses the activity, event, feeling, etc that is being described in the sentence. Auxiliary verbs are sometimes called helping verbs. The main verb in a verb phrase takes different forms depending on the auxiliary verb that comes before it.

Action Verbs and Linking Verbs

Verbs that describe actions, activities, events and happenings are called action verbs. Some verbs do not describe actions, thoughts, events, etc, but are used in descriptions of what someone or something is or what they are like. Such verbs are known as linking verbs.

What Is a Verb?

A verb is a word that either describes an action or an event (what someone or something does) or else helps to describe a state or a condition (what someone or something is or is like). It is, of course, quite possible to have two or more verbs in a sentence.

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