Types of verbs in English

Types of Verbs in English Grammar | Definitions and Examples

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What is a Verb in English Grammar?

A verb is a word or parts of speech that expresses an action or doing something. The verb is the main backbone of a sentence. A sentence can’t fulfil its demand without using a verb. However, now it is cleared that a verb is the significant parts of a sentence in English grammar.

Let’s see some examples of different types of verbs; am, is, are, was, were, have, has, had, shall, will, buy, play, reach, walk etc. Verbs are marked in bold for easy identification:

  • I am going to visit a natural place.
  • He is an intelligent person for no doubt.
  • A group of dogs are attacking the cat.
  • She was not like to express her feelings.
  • They were going to arrange a party.
  • I have a younger sister.
  • He has left the place.
  • The boys had some beautiful memories of their childhood.
  • I shall buy a pen.
  • He will pay the price for his misdeed.
  • The boys play badminton.
  • Ultimately the man has reached the station.
  • Walking is a very good physical exercise for all human being.

Types of Verbs in English grammar

Verbs are divided into two main types. Today we will discuss these two verbs, their examples and sub-categories. These two verbs are:

what is a verb in English

  • Principal verbs
  • Auxiliary verbs

Principal Verbs

A verb that uses independently in a sentence without taking any help from other verbs is called a principal verb or main verb. For example:

  • The boy looks very handsome.
  • He plays cricket with his friends.
  • My father gives me a new laptop.
  • She is drawing a picture.
  • love my parents so much.
  • The members of the parliament take the oath for the country.
  • The thief has escaped from custody.

Principal verbs are of two types. They are:

1. Transitive verbs
2. Intransitive verbs

1. Transitive Verbs

A verb that refers to action and links with the subject and object in a sentence is called a transitive verb. Transitive verbs need an object to complete their proper meaning. For example:

  • My mother is preparing for cooking.
  • He has bought a car.
  • The girls want a new friend.
  • The bird looks good.
  • jimmy is going to his school.

Note: In the above sentences every transitive verb has an object to complete the sentence. So we can say a transitive verb must need an object to fulfil its meaning and complete the sentence as well. Now you may ask me what is an object? If you ask a verb “whom” or “what” and the answer you get is an object. Hope you can find an object easily.

2. Intransitive Verbs

A verb that refers to action and links with the subject but does not have an object is called an intransitive verb. Intransitive verbs don’t need an object to complete their proper meaning.

But some intransitive verbs take objects after them as similar to the verb. These types of objects are called cognate object. Example of the intransitive verbs are given below:

  • The boys are singing.
  • The old man is smiling.
  • Jack is very famous for dancing.
  • She is ready for sleeping.
  • Nathan sang a beautiful song.
  • The boy dreamt a sweet dream.

Note: First fours sentences don’t take objects to complete the sentence but later these two sentences take objects which similar to the verbs.

Auxiliary Verbs

A verb that can’t be used independently rather helps a principal verb to form a sentence is called an auxiliary verb or helping verb. Auxiliary verbs are of two types. They are:

1. Primary auxiliaries and
2. Modal auxiliaries

1. Primary auxiliaries

A verb that is used to help a principal verb to form a sentence is called a primary auxiliary verb. Primary auxiliaries can be changed their form according to the use of different tenses. Example of the primary auxiliaries are given below:

  • I am going to the new coffee shop.
  • kitty is going to watch the movie.
  • They are doing their task properly.
  • I have written a book.
  • He has been ill since morning.
  • She left the place yesterday.
  • I was enjoying a football match.
  • Jonny had done the job.
  • Katherine had been going to pray for her parents.
  • I will do it.
  • He will be joining in the meeting.
  • They will have the power to change the incident.
  • My father will have been visiting the place.

Note: In some cases, a primary auxiliary verb can be used as a principal verb. For example:

  • I am good at the English language.
  • He is a very smart boy.
  • They are in school.
  • Mathew has a pen.
  • I have a best friend. etc.

2. Modal auxiliaries

An auxiliary verb that expresses mood or manner in which the action is done is called a modal auxiliary. In other words, Modal auxiliaries express possibility, ability, permission or obligation. For example:

  • I can do the job.
  • He could go.
  • You may leave now.
  • John might solve the problem.
  • My brother should play a fundamental role in my family.
  • I would tell the story.
  • You must obey your responsibility.
  • I used to sleep.

Note: The Modals are different from other auxiliaries. They don’t permit to change the main form of a verb. such as; do-did-done, have-had-having, be-been-being etc.


From the above discussion, we come to the conclusion that the verb is the part and parcel of the parts of speech and English grammar as well. Further, verbs also play a significant role to form a sentence perfectly.

Verb Quiz

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1 year ago

I came across this board and I find It really useful & it helped me out a lot

Azizul Hakim
Azizul Hakim
1 year ago
Reply to  CliftonSusic

Thanks! Share it more.

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