A verb is a word or group of words that express an action or a state.
Go, jump, sleep, eat, think, be, change, become, drive, complete.
We had a nice lunch.
I think that he is right.
He drove for hours.
The word “verb” comes for the Latin word verbum, which means “word.”
Auxiliary Verbs (also called “helping verbs”)
Auxiliary verbs (helping verbs) and compound verbs.
Auxiliary verbs are verbs that are used together with the main verb of the sentence to express the action or state.
Main verb + auxiliary verb = complete idea. The main auxiliary verbs are: be, am, is, are, was, were, do, did, have, has, had.,
Example sentences (the auxiliary verb is in bold, and the main verb is underlined):
They are jogging.
She was sitting.
We were waiting for hours.
Is she sleeping?
He didn’t know the answer.
We have gone a long way.
Has she received any of my letters?
Do you smoke?
Will she help?
A compound verb = auxiliary verb + main verb.
Examples: was playing, has eaten, and doesn’t want.
They were discussing their future.
He didn’t tell us the truth.
I have finished my homework.
She will meet us there.
Stative verbs are verbs that express a state rather than an action.
Examples: be, seem, love, own, want, sound, have, know, understand.
She is a great wife.
He seems rather strange.
He wanted to see you.
That sounds awesome!
We have enough things to do.
Stative verbs are usually not used in the progressive tenses.
Incorrect: He is wanting to see you.
Correct: He wants to see you.
Incorrect: I am knowing what to do.
Correct: I know what to do.
Incorrect: They are seeming nice.
Correct: They seem nice.
However, if the same verb is used to describe an actual action (not a state), then it can be used in the progressive tenses.
When the verb “have” means “own” – it is a state. So we do not use it in the progressive tenses.
Incorrect: I am having a laptop.
Correct: I have a laptop.
When the verb “have” means “eat” – it is an actual action. So we can use it in the progressive tenses.
Correct: I am having lunch with Kate.
Correct: I have lunch with Kate.
Dynamic verbs are the opposite of stative verbs. They express a real action.
Jump, swim, catch, write, call, sleep, hit, open, speak.
They swam to the other side.
She hit me on the head!
Open the window, please.
The dynamic verbs can be used in the progressive tenses.
Correct: He is drinking water.
Correct: He drinks water.
Regular verbs are verbs that follow this rule: Past form of the verb = present form of the verb + ed / d.
Past form of “check” = check + ed = checked.
Past form of “open” = open + ed = opened.
Past form of “bake” = bake + d = baked.
There are certain rules to adding “d” or “ed” to a verb. Read about them in the Regular Verbs and Irregular Verbs section .
Irregular verbs are verbs that do not follow the above rule, and there are quite a lot of them!
Past form of “drink” = drank.
Past form of “sleep” = slept.
Past form of “bring” = brought.
A phrasal verb is a verb that is combined with an adverb or a preposition. The combination creates a new meaning.
Run = to move very quickly with your legs. (“She can run fast!”)
Into = in the direction of something. (“He looked into my eyes.”)
Run into = to meet someone by accident. (“I ran into Joe yesterday.”)
Make = to create or do something. (“He made a lot of noise.”)
Up = to a higher point. (“Look up!”)
Make up = invent (a story, an excuse). (“It never happened. He made the whole thing up!”)
Put = to place something somewhere. (“Could you put this upstairs?”)
Up = to a higher point. (“Look up!”)
With = concerning (“She is happy with her workplace.”)
Put up with = to tolerate. (“I cannot put up with his behavior any more!”)