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Types of Verbs

Sep 2, 2022

Verbs are also known as action words. 

Verbs describe an action (both physical and mental) and also a state of being. 

For example: to run, to write, to think, to be 

Types of Verbs 

There are different types of verbs based on the functions they perform in a sentence. They are: 

Types of Verbs
  1. Action verbs or main verbs 
  2. Linking verbs 
  3. Auxiliary verbs or helping verbs 

Action Verbs or Main verbs 

Action verbs tell us what the subject is doing. 


For example: Maria is singing a song. 

This example answers the question  “What is Maria doing?”. Here, the action verb is singing. 

Action verbs are again classified as follows. 

Action Verbs or Main Verbs

Transitive Verbs  

Transitive verbs are those verbs in which action is done upon an object. A transitive verb is always accompanied by an object.  

For example: Tom is kicking a ball. 


Here, the subject is Tom. What is Tom kicking? He is kicking a ball. So the object is ball and the transitive verb is kick. 

Intransitive Verbs  

Intransitive verbs are those verbs in which action is not done upon any object. In such sentences, the verb will not have any object. 

For example: Joan is playing. 

Here, Joan is the subject. Joan is playing. There is no object upon which the action of playing is being done. Playing is the intransitive verb. 

Dynamic Verbs 

These verbs are used when an actual action occurs in a sentence. 

For example: He is making coffee. 

The subject “he” is doing the action of making coffee. This act of making coffee can be physically seen by someone. Here, “making” is a dynamic verb. 

Stative Verbs 

Stative verbs do not tell us about an actual action happening in a sentence. 

These verbs tell us about the state of mind of the subject or they describe the situation he/she is in.  

They can also describe the relationship between the subject and the object. 

For example: Linda hates fruits. 

Here, the hatred towards fruits is not an action but the mental condition of the subject, Linda. 

“Hates” is a stative verb. 

Linking Verbs 

Linking verbs link the subject to a word in the predicate by showing what the subject is like or what the subject has. These verbs do not tell us anything about the subject. 

For example: The baby is cute. 

Here, “the baby” is the subject,“cute” is the adjective that tells us about the baby and “is” is the linking verb that links the subject with the adjective. 

The most common linking verbs are the forms of the verb “to be” and “to have”.  

Forms of “to be” are is, am, are, was, were, been and being. 

Forms of “to have” are have, has and had. 

Sometimes verbs like seem, appear, taste, turn, sound, smell etc. are also used as linking verbs. 

For example: The pudding tastes good. 

Here, “pudding” is the subject, “tastes” is the linking verb which links the subject with its complement “good”(Complement is a word or phrase that comes after the verb and gives more information). 

Auxiliary Verbs or Helping Verbs 

Auxiliary verbs are classified as: 

Auxiliary Verbs or Helping Verbs 

Primary Auxiliaries 

These are the verbs used in forming the tenses and voices of other verbs. 

Forms of be, do and have come under primary auxiliaries. 

Other forms of be are is, am, are, was, were, been, and being. 

Forms of have are has, have and had. 

Do has the forms do/ does, did and done. 

For example: I am cleaning my room. 

Here, “am” is the auxiliary verb and it shows that the subject is in first person singular and tense is present tense as it is happening at present. 

Modal Auxiliaries 

Modal auxiliaries are used to express modality. 

Modality helps the speaker to talk about ability, certainty, permission, advice, possibility, willingness, obligation and necessity. 

Modal verbs in English are can/ could, may/ might, shall/ should, will/ would, must/ had to, ought to, used to, need and dare. 

For example: Shall we go for a movie? 

Primary And Modal Auxiliaries
Primary And Modal Auxiliaries


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