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Classification of Verbs

Lexical Verb or Main Verb: A main verb is also known as a lexical verb. The main verb in a verb phrase is the word that expresses the activity, event and feeling etc. that is being described in the sentence. All main verbs are either action verb or linking verbs. He plays football. Sumeet is reading a novel. Action Verb: A verb may describe an action or activity, or an event or happening. The word 'verb' comes from Latin word - 'verbum' means word. An action verb may equally describe a mental process such as thinking, knowing or wanting: Remember, forget, fear, suspect, wonder, need. An action verb may also describe something that happens to a person or thing: Get, receive and sustain etc. To find out the action verb in a sentence, ask yourself which word describes what someone or something is doing or thinking or what is happening. There are two kinds of action verb: i) Transitive Verb ii) Intransitive Veb Transitive Verb: A lexical verb that has a direct object is a transitive verb. Some transitive verbs have both a direct object and an indirect object. Transitive comes from Latin word 'transire' meaning 'to go across'. The action of the verb 'goes across' from the subject of the verb to the direct object of the verb: e.g. I like cows. It is further divided into three classes. Mono transitive verbs: Mono transitive verbs have only one object, a direct object. For example: I know the answer. Di transitive verbs: Di transitive verbs have two objects, a direct object and an indirect object.

I told him (indirect) the answer. (direct) Complex Transitive Verbs: Complex transitive verbs have a direct object and a complement (a word or phrase that says something about the direct object.) They have painted their house purple. (complement) I will prove you wrong

Verb categories

Verbs and verb phrases perform six main and six nominal grammatical functions in the English language. The following article lists the twelve functions of verbs and verb phrases and provides examples to illustrate usage. Also included is a printable study sheet of the twelve grammatical functions.

English Verbs and Verb Phrases


Verbs in English are traditionally defined as "words that indicate action or state of being." Verb phrases are formed by one or more verbs and any number of objects, modifiers, complements, particles, infinitive markers, and auxiliaries. Verbs and verb phrases perform twelve grammatical functions in the English language. The twelve functions are: 1. Verb phrase head 2. Predicate 3. Noun phrase modifier 4. Adjective phrase complement 5. Verb phrase complement 6. Adverbial 7. Subject 8. Subject complement 9. Direct object 10. Object complement 11. Indirect object 12. Prepositional complement The following sections discuss the twelve functions and include examples to illustrate use.

Major Functions of Verbs and Verb Phrases


Of the twelve possible functions, verbs and verb phrases perform six major functions: four verbal, one adjectival, and one adverbial. The six major functions are: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Verb phrase head Predicate Noun phrase modifier Adjective phrase complement Verb phrase complement Adverbial

The six major functions are prototypical functions of verbs and verb phrases.

Verb Phrase Head


Verbs first function as the heads of verb phrases. The following italicized verbs are examples of heads of verb phrases:

read eat the cookies to study listen to the music

wake up

Verbs always function as the heads of verb phrases.

Predicate
Verbs and verb phrases secondly function as predicates. A predicate contains at least one verb and any objects, modifiers, and complements. All clauses contain both a subject and a predicate. The following italicized verb phrases are examples of predicates:

Carnivores eat meat. The librarian is writing an article. The door was slammed shut by the child. All the guests have woken up. Your husband will install my new fence. He must have stolen at least three cars.

Only verbs and verb phrases can function as predicates.

Noun Phrase Modifier


Verbs and verb phrases thirdly function as noun phrase modifiers. A noun phrase modifier is a word, phrase, or clause that describes a noun or noun phrase. The following italicized verbs are examples of noun phrase modifiers:

The books shelved on the sixth floor cover education, art, languages, and literature. My daughter is the little girl wearing the pink hat. Did you hear that child screaming at her mother? I placed the cupcakes to eat on the counter.

Other grammatical forms that can function as noun phrase modifiers include adjective phrases, noun phrases, and prepositional phrases.

Adjective Phrase Complement


Verbs and verb phrases fourthly function as adjective phrase complements. An adjective phrase complement is a word, phrase, or clause that completes the meaning of an adjective. The following italicized verbs are examples of adjective phrase complements:

His wife is afraid to fly. My puppy is eager to learn new tricks. The students are curious to know more about verbs. She is happy to write another article.

Other grammatical forms that can function as adjective phrase complements include prepositional phrases and noun clauses.

Verb Phrase Complement


Verbs and verb phrases fifthly function as verb phrase complements. A verb phrase complement is a word or phrase that completes the meaning of the verb phrase. The following italicized verbs are examples of verb phrase complements:

We can afford to buy a new car. He offered to carry my suitcase. She always strives to succeed. The man has threatened to call the police.

The verbs following catenative verbs most often function as verb phrase complements.

Adverbial
Verbs and verb phrases sixthly function as adverbials. An adverbial is a word, phrase, or clauses that modifies an entire clause by providing additional information about time, place, manner, condition, purpose, reason, result, and concession. The following italicized verb phrases are examples of adverbials:

Running on the ice, the man slipped and fell. The puppy, panting from the heat, wants some water. Please open the window to let in some cool air. To make icing, mix powdered sugar with water.

Nominal Functions of Verbs and Verb Phrases


Verbs and verb phrases also perform six nominal functions. Nominal functions are functions prototypically performed by nouns and noun phrases. The six nominal functions of verbs and verb phrases are: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Subject Subject complement Direct object Object complement Indirect object Prepositional complement

English Verbs
Unlike many other widely-spoken Indo-European languages such as Spanish and French, the English verb system is largely periphrastic. Periphrasis, in contrast to inflection, is "a phrase of two or more words used to express a grammatical relationship that could otherwise be expressed by the inflection of a single word." All English verb forms except for the simple present and simple past are periphrastic. Although some grammars identify anywhere between twelve and sixteen English tenses, the nineteen finite, or conjugated, verb forms in English express more than just tense. To be more precise, English has:

Two tenses: present and past Four aspects: simple, progressive, perfect, perfect-progressive Three moods: indicative, subjunctive, imperative Two voices: active and passive

The following sections discuss the tenses, aspects, moods, and voices of the English verb system.

Tense
Tense is the expression of location in time of an action or state. Grammatical tense only roughly relates to time. English has only two verb tenses: present and past. The general formula for forming the simple present tense in English is: The base form of a verb in English is the infinitive without the preposition to functioning as an infinitive marker. Despite popular belief, English does not have a future tense. Futurity is, instead, expressed through modal verbs, specifically will and shall. For more information on the English modal system, please read the article English Modal Verbs.

Aspect
Aspect is the expression of the temporal structure of an action or state. Aspect in English expresses ongoing actions or states with or without distinct end points. English has four aspects: simple, progressive, perfect, and perfect-progressive. Although not always identified, the simple aspect is the default aspect of the simple present and simple past tenses. The simple aspect expresses single actions, habits, and routines. For the formation of the simple present and simple past verbs, please refer to the charts in the "Tense" section. The progressive aspect expresses incomplete or ongoing actions or states at a specific time. For example, the use of the progressive aspect in I am floating the book indicates that I started floating the book in the past and am still floating the book in the present and presumably the future. The formula for forming the present progressive is [simple present "to be" + present

participle]. The formula for forming the past progressive is [simple past "to be" + present participle]. The perfect aspect expresses the consequences resulting from a previous action or state. For example, the use of the perfect aspect in I have floated the book focuses on the end result of my floating the book (my having floated the book) as opposed to the process of floating the book. The formula for forming the present perfect is [simple present "to have" + past participle]. The formula for forming the past perfect is [simple past "to have" + past participle]. The perfect-progressive aspect expresses incomplete or ongoing actions or states that began in the past and continue to a specific time. For example, the use of the perfect-progressive aspect in I had been floating the book indicates that I started floating the book in the past and continued to float the book until a specific point in time at which I stopped floating the book. The formula for forming the present perfect-progressive is [simple present "to have" + past participle "to be" + present participle]. The formula for forming the past perfect-progressive is [simple past "to have" + past participle "to be" + present participle]. Present participles, or -ing forms, are formed by adding the suffix -ing to the base form of a verb. For example, the present participles of eat and read are eating and reading. Past participles, or -en forms, are formed 1.) identically to the -ed past tense, 2.) by adding the suffix -en to the base form, or 3.) with a stem change. For example, the past participles of study, take, and begin are studied, taken, and begun.

Mood
Mood is the expression of modality of an action or state. Modality is the expression of possibility, necessity, and contingency. Modality can be expressed through modal verbs as well as through grammatical mood in English. English has three moods: indicative, subjunctive, and imperative. The indicative mood allows speakers to express assertions, denials, and questions of actuality or strong probability. Most sentences in English are in the indicative mood because the indicative is the most commonly used mood. For example, the statement I read the book and the question Did you read the book? are both sentences in the indicative mood. The subjunctive mood expresses commands, requests, suggestions, wishes, hypotheses, purposes, doubts, and suppositions that are contrary to fact at the time of the utterance. The form of the present subjunctive is identical to the base form of English verbs. The form of the past subjunctive is identical to the plural simple past indicative. However, the subjunctive is only distinguishable in form from the indicative in the third person singular present subjunctive and with the verb to be in the present subjunctive and the first and third person singular in the past subjunctive. The imperative mood allows speakers to make direct commands, express requests, and grant or deny permission. The form of the English imperative is identical to the base form of any English verb. The negative form of the English imperative is created by inserting the do operator and the negative adverb not before the base form of the verb.

Voice
Voice is the expression of relationships between the predicate and nominal functions. English has two voices: active and passive. In the active voice, the subject performs the action of or acts upon the verb and the direct object receives the action of the verb. In the passive voice, the subject receives the action of the transitive verb. For example, the sentence I read the book is in the active voice because the subject I performs the action of reading and the direct object the book receives the action of reading. The sentence The book was read [by me], on the other hand, is in the passive voice because the subject The book receives the action of reading.