Verbs – Definition, Types, and Examples

Verb Definition: What is a Verb?

A verb is a word that describes an action, a state, or an occurrence. It tells us what someone or something is doing, feeling, or being. In short, verbs are the “action” or “state” words in a sentence. Verbs are usually placed after the subject and before the object in a sentence.


  • Maria reads a book. (action)
  • The ice cream is cold. (state)

Types of Verbs

Action Verbs:

These verbs express a physical or mental action.

  • Run, jump, think, dream

Linking Verbs:

These connect the subject of a sentence to more information about the subject. Common linking verbs include “am”, “is”, “are”, “was”, and “were”.

  • She is a teacher.
  • The flowers smell nice.

Helping (Auxiliary) Verbs:

These are used with main verbs to help express the verb’s tense, mood, or voice. Common helping verbs are “be”, “have”, and “do”.

  • She is running fast.
  • They have completed their work.

Modal Verbs:

These express necessity, possibility, ability, or permission. Common modal verbs are “can”, “could”, “may”, “might”, “shall”, “should”, “will”, “would”, “must”.

  • She can sing.
  • You must finish your homework.

Phrasal Verbs:

Phrasal verbs consist of a main verb and one or more particles.


He gave up smoking.

Transitive and Intransitive Verbs:

Transitive verbs have an object, while intransitive verbs do not.

  • Example: She reads books. (Transitive)
  • Example: He sits. (Intransitive)
See also  Common Nouns – Definition and Examples

Usage of Verbs

Present Tense:

Describes what is happening now.

  • She writes a letter.

Past Tense:

Describes something that happened before.

  • He walked to school yesterday.

Future Tense:

Describes something that will happen later.

  • They will travel to Paris next month.

Verbs are crucial for constructing meaningful sentences. A verb is a fundamental part of English grammar, giving life and action to sentences. Understanding the different types of verbs and how to use them accurately will aid learners in mastering English grammar and becoming proficient in communication. Through practice, learners can become more familiar with how verbs function and how they bring life to our sentences, making the learning journey enjoyable and rewarding. Recognizing and understanding different types of verbs will help learners form clear and meaningful sentences in English.

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