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Overview of Verbs

Every English sentence needs a verb. So, it is important that we know how to use verbs correctly. Learning the different kinds of verbs will help us.

This lesson we give a brief overview of the different kinds of verbs and how we use them. The following lessons will cover these in more detail.

You can also learn about verbs by studying our verb tense lessons. The verb tense lessons have a lot of detail, explanation, examples, and a quiz for each lesson.

Action Verbs

Action verbs show an action. They show what the subject is doing in the sentence. Here are some examples of action verbs.

runeatsleephitcut
establishdiscussthinksingplay

Action verbs change depending on the time are talking about. If we are talking about the past, then we use past tense verbs. If we are talking about the future, then we use future tense verbs.

You can study the verb tenses in detail with our free verb tense lessons.

Here are just a few examples. Pay attention to where the verb is in each sentence.
  • They do not play baseball every day.
  • We discussed the plan at the meeting yesterday.
  • She will go to the beach tomorrow.
  • My father is not eating now.
  • I have played the piano for 5 years.
  • Will you go to the party tomorrow?
  • Do you like to eat spicy food?
  • Does she work with you?
  • Have you been to China?
  • Can you swim?
  • Is he sleeping?
  • Where do you work?
  • What do you do on the weekend?
  • Why did you go?
  • Where did they eat dinner last night?
Be Verbs

Be verbs do not show a state of action. They show a state of being. We use usually them with nouns and adjectives. Be verbs change depending on the subject and tense.

Here are a few examples of sentences and questions.
  • I am a teacher.
  • He is nice.
  • The cookies were good.
  • The teacher was angry.
  • The weather will be nice tomorrow.
  • Are you tired?
  • Is he angry?
  • Was she a good student?
  • What is your name?
  • Where are you from?
  • Why is it good?
We also use be verbs with continuous verb tenses.
  • He is sleeping.
  • They are watching a movie.
  • My boss was walking to the meeting.
  • Is he studying?
  • What are you doing?
  • What will they be doing tomorrow?
  • Where will you be going?
3. Linking Verbs

Linking verbs connect the subject of the sentence to the adjectives and nouns that describe it. Be verbs are considered linking verbs. Some other linking verbs are:

seemlookfeel
soundtastesmell
appearactget

Here are some example sentences and questions.
  • It looks good.
  • That plan sounds interesting.
  • She acted sad, but she was okay.
  • The weather is getting warm.
  • Dinner smells delicious.
  • He sounds like a bad man.
  • The weather seems nice.
  • It seemed like a good company to work for.
  • She looked tired yesterday.
  • Did he look angry?
  • Does it smell bad?
  • Will it taste good?
  • Does it feel good?
  • Did he act angry?
4. Stative Verbs

Some English verbs are called non-continuous or stative verbs. These are very similar to action verbs, but they describe a state or situation that lasts for some time. Here are some examples of stative verbs. Notice that they do not show a true action.

likelovehateneed
doubtincludehavefeel

Notice that some linking verbs (#3) are stative verbs, but not all linking verbs are stative verbs.

5. Present Participles

We form the present participle by adding "-ing" to the end of a verb.

Base VerbPresent Participle
eateating
sleepsleeping
askasking
readreading

Present Participles can be used in many different ways.
  • He is sleeping.
  • I like to go shopping.
  • We saw them laughing.
  • The show was amazing.
  • He spends a lot of money gambling.
  • I caught him stealing.
  • Talking to himself, he entered the room.
  • Being hungry, I stopped to get some food.
Study the next free English grammar next lessons to learn more about the different kinds of verbs.

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