Verbs – Types, Definition and Examples

The verb is the most fundamental part of speech. Only verbs can make a statement about the subject.

Every sentence must have a verb. An action verb expresses physical or mental action. A linking verb expresses what is
or seems to be.


  • Mario ran up the hill at top speed. (ACTION VERB)
  • Mario is a marathon runner. (LINKING VERB)

Every sentence has a subject and a predicate. The verb is always in the predicate.

Verbs perform many jobs.

  • Verbs express time.
  • Verbs show person and number.
  • Verbs take objects.
  • Verbs can make a question or statement.
  • Verbs can make a command.
  • Verbs lend a helping hand.

All English Grammar, This chapter takes a close look at all the jobs verbs can perform. You will also learn the names given to each type of verb. This will help you to identify and use each verb correctly and effectively. Here is a summary of the material about the forms and uses of verbs covered in this chapter.

English Verb Forms

  • Verb Families

A family’s name is important to any family. It includes all the members of that family. Verbs also have families. Each verb family has many different parts that belong within the family. In grammar, we call the family name of a verb its infinitive form. The infinitive form consists of the word “to” plus the base form of a verb.

Here are three examples of the infinitive form:

  • to eat
  • to swim
  • to write

Because verbs can take many different forms, knowing the verb’s family name makes it much easier to use verbs correctly. As a next step, we will cover the different types of verbs you need to be able to recognize.

Types of Verbs

A verb is a word showing or expressing action, being, or state of being. What kind of action does a verb show? Some verbs show physical action.

  • Action Verbs

Action verbs express the action, often physical action, that the subject does.

Examples : to write – to swim – to eat

  • Non-Action Verbs

Non-action verbs tell about states of mind or senses.They do not express physical action.

Here are three examples of non-action verbs: to think, to look, and to understand.

  • Linking Verbs

Linking verbs convey a state of being. They link the subject of a sentence with a word that renames or describes the subject. To be is the most important linking verb. In this chapter, the following forms of the verb to be appear in examples: am, are, is, was, and were.

  • Helping Verbs

Verbs often use other verbs in sentences. Although a main verb represents the important idea of the sentence, it may need a helper to express its full meaning. Here are the forms of three helping verbs that appear in this chapter:

to be am, are, is, was, were
to do do, does, did
to have have, has, had

Could, would, and must are examples of a special kind of helping verb that will be explained later in this chapter.

The following explanation of these helping verbs will make it easier to sort out how they do their jobs.

Helping verbs help the main verb to make a statement, ask a question, or give a command.

Verbs are complex; we include here the essential information for understanding verbs and how to use them. You will find the following short definition of verbs helpful.

A verb is a word that tells what the subject of a sentence does, experiences, or owns.

The next section will cover the two main verb groups that you need to understand before we explain the principal parts of verbs.

Regular and Irregular Verbs

Verbs change in form. Based on how they change, verbs are divided into two groups. One group of verbs uses a predictable pattern in changing form. You will see this pattern in the four examples of the verb watch:

  • Regular Verb

This first group of verbs is called regular verbs. All regular verbs display the same pattern of predictable changes.
The second group does not follow a regular pattern.

Today I watch the race.
I am watching the race.
Yesterday I watched the race.
I have watched the race every day

Verb forms in this group change for no apparent reason. There is no obvious pattern you can apply when learning them.

  • Irregular Verb

This second group includes verbs that are not regular. They are called irregular verbs.

We eat hamburgers.
We are eating hamburgers.
Yesterday we ate hamburgers.
We have eaten hamburgers every day.

All verbs in the English language can be divided into two groups: regular verbs and irregular verbs.

Most English verbs are regular. Irregular verbs have verb forms that require memorization before you can use them correctly. There is no easy way to explain their changes and no way to avoid memorizing their verb forms.