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English Grammar

Session II

Session II
 Topics to be covered :  Verbs- definition, transitive , intransitive  Finite verbs and infinite verbs (Gerunds, infinitives, participles)  Usage (Verbs)  Exercises on the topic  Practice Tests

A verb is a word (part of speech) that usually denotes an action (bring, read), an occurrence (decompose, glitter), or a state of being (exist, stand). A verb may tell us  What a person or thing does; as, e.g. 1.Hari laughs. 2. The clock strikes.  What is done to a person or thing; as, e.g. 1. Hari is scolded. 2.The window is broken  What a person or thing is; as, e.g. 1.The man is angry. 2. Glass is brittle. 3. I feel sorry. A verb often consist of more than one word; as,1. The girls were singing. 2. I have learnt my lesson.3. The watch has been found.


1. Transitive Verbs 2. Intransitive Verbs 3. Auxiliary Verbs 4. Linking Verbs

1. Participles 2. Gerunds 3. Infinitives

Verbs that need an object to make the sentence complete or meaningful are called transitive verbs. Here the action gets transferred from the subject to the object.

The hunter killed the tiger.

I watched a movie. In the above sentences, the verbs killed and watched need objects to make the sentence complete. Without the objects, the sentences will not make any sense.

Verbs that dont need an object to make the sentence complete or meaningful are called intransitive verbs. Here the actions do not get transferred from the subject to the object. The baby cries. The wind blows. Nandini runs fast. In the above sentences, the verbs are intransitive as they dont need an object to make the sentence meaningful or complete. It depends on the usage, whether a verb is transitive or intransitive. Most of the verbs can be used transitively as well as intransitively. Tell is a transitive verb whereas Say is an intransitive verb. Tell needs a receiver or listener.

The building collapsed. (Used intransitively) The earthquake collapsed the building. (Used transitively) This horse never kicks. (Used intransitively) This horse kicked the little boy. (Used transitively) In the above sentences, the verbs collapsed and kick have been used transitively as well as intransitively. Present Lie Lay Past Lay Laid Past Participle Lain (Intransitive) Laid (Transitive)


The doctor asked me to lie down. Please lay the table for me. He lay on the beach. The hen laid 3 eggs. Last Sunday, I had lain in the bed for over 12 hours.

Auxiliaries are helping verbs that indicate the tense or the mood of the sentence. Is, am, are, was, were, has, have, had, be, been, being, do, does, did are called Primary Auxiliaries. Can, could, shall, should, will, would, may, might, must, dare, ought to, has to, have to, had to, need, neednt are called Modal Auxiliaries. I am singing a song. (indicates tense) She has submitted her project. (indicates tense) I can cook Continental cuisine. (indicates mood) You must work hard. (indicates mood)

Linking verbs link or connect the subject to the predicate (i.e. the remaining part of the sentence) The Predicate identifies or describes the subject. Linking verbs do not indicate any action. The pizza smells delicious. The flowers appear to be fresh. The movie seems interesting. She was a brilliant student. I am a teacher. In the above sentences, the verbs do not indicate any action. They are just connecting the subject to the rest of the part of the sentence.

Participles are of two types Present and Past Present Participle is verb + ing Writing and Written are the two participles of Write Dancing and Danced are the two participles of Dance The participles can act as an adjective as well as a noun. The crying baby had a wet diaper. The burning log fell off the fire. I sold the broken chair as scrap. I am not interested in this proposal. In the above sentences, the participles have been used as adjectives.

When a participle is used as a noun, it is called a gerund. Smoking is injurious to health. I want to try paragliding. She hates cooking. Swimming is the best form of exercise. In the above sentences, the participles are used as nouns. They are either the subject or the object or complement but not verbs. These are called gerunds.

Infinitives are to + verb. They can act as a noun. I love to sleep. To wait seemed foolish when decisive action was required. I want to go to Goa. Do you wish to register?

Usage (Verbs)
 Make a verb agree in number with its subject. 1. The list of spare parts was long. 2. The lists of spare parts were long. 3. Even an animal has its own territory. 4. Even animals have their own territory. 5. The box of Nestles chocolates is missing. 6. His experience as teacher to boys and girls gives him understanding. 7. The prices of the new model vary from town to town.  Subject joined by and are usually plural and take plural verbs. 1. His typewriter and my radio were stolen. 2. Sony and Sanjay are going to Chennai today. Exceptions : a. If a subject consisting of two singular noun connected by and refers to the same person or thing or suggest one idea to mind, a singular verb is used. 1.My best friend and advisor has changed his mind again. 2.Cornflakes and milk is our Sunday Breakfast. b. When two subjects connected by and are preceded by each, every, many a, a singular verb is used: 1. Each man and boy is expected to meet his obligation. 2. Every shirt, tie and coat is marked for reduction sale.

Usages (Verbs)
 The most common way the Examiner confuses the number of the subject is to split up the subject and the verb by inserting a phrase in between. We must learn to eliminate the intervening phrase.  The houses of that rich man contain (And not contains) very expensive furniture.  Do not get confused by subjects followed by the word Of. These Of constructions are just clever middlemen that try to disguise the true subject.  The discovery of new lands (was/were) vital to the expansion of the British Empire.  The discovery of new lands was vital to the expansion of the British Empire.  The building of tall skyscrapers (has/have) increased in the past few years.  The building of tall skyscrapers has increased in the past few years.  The actions of my friend (is/are) not very wise.  The actions of my friend are not very wise.

Usage (Verbs)
 Words like with, together with, along with, besides, as well as, including, in addition to, etc. do not affect the number of the verb. If the subject is singular, a singular verb is required. If the subject is plural, a plural verb is required. The television, along with the cabinet, is to be sold. Mrs. Paula, with her son and daughter, is going to the theatre, this evening. Our chief competitor, as well as ourselves, is obliged to increase prices. The decoration of the room, including the carpets and furniture, is most pleasing. If the subject is made up of both singular and plural words connected by or, nor, either---or, not only---- but also, the verb agrees with the nearer part of the subject. Neither the quality nor the prices have changed. Neither the prices nor the quality has changed. Not only the headmaster but also the teachers are in favour of the expansion of the school. Not only the teachers but also the headmaster is in favour of the expansion of the school.

1. 2. 3. 4.  1. 2. 3. 4.

Usage (Verbs)
 Some verbs take a to-infinitive and other takes a gerund:  To infinitive: 1.Do you think well be able to afford to go to India?2. Brian agreed to pay half the cost. 3. Would you care to come along with us?  Gerund : 1.I suggested taking a taxi. 2. I cant stand sitting around doing nothing.3. I advised taking a taxi? 4. I dont allow sunbathing here? but 1. I advised the girls to take a taxi. 2. They dont allow people to sunbathe here. Verbs + to infinitive: afford, agree, aim, appear, arrange, ask, attempt, be dying, beg, cant wait, care, choose, claim, come, dare, decide, demand, expect, fail. Verbs +gerund: admit, advise, allow, anticipate, appreciate, avoid, cant help, confess, consider, delay, deny, detest, dislike, enjoy, escape.

Usage (Verbs)
Avoid split infinitives (Avoid sentences that insert a word between to and the verb.)  I need you to quickly run out to the store.  I need you to run quickly out to the store.  We would expect the police to thoroughly investigate the case.  We would expect the police to investigate the case thoroughly.  Government will do well to carefully examine the reasons for this popular discontent.  Government will do well to examine the reasons for this popular discontent carefully.  I wish to really understand his motive.  I really wish to understand his motive.  I wish really to understand his motive.  I wish to understand his motive really.

Usage (Verbs)
 1. 2.  1. 2. 3. 4. 5.  1. 2. 3. After except and but we normally use a bare infinitive: As for the housework, I do everything except cook (Not cooking). You have done nothing but grumble all day. The infinitive to is also used after had better, had rather, would rather, sooner than, rather than; as You had better ask permission. I had rather play than work. I would rather die than suffer so. I would stay here and eat flies sooner than go with them. I decided to skip lunch rather than eat in the cafeteria again. The subject can be possessive when used with gerunds, especially when it is a personal pronoun or a name. Its a bit inconvenient your (not you) coming in late. Do you mind my (not me) sitting here? Im fed up with Sarahs (not Sarah) laughing at my accent.

Usage (Verbs)
Do not use the infinitive with certain words which require a preposition followed by a gerund or by a Verbal Noun.
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. He is addicted to gambling. I assisted her in climbing the hill. He is averse to playing cards. I do not believe in pampering servants. I am bent on attending the meeting. He has hardly any chance of succeeding. He is confident of securing the first prize. He is desirous of visiting Japan. He appreciated the necessity of acting promptly. It was only pretext of delaying the matter. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. He despaired of achieving his objective. There is some difficulty in perceiving his meaning. Hereafter he is disqualified for holding any government post. Remember the duty of helping the poor. The firm was fortunate in securing the governments support. He is intent on visiting Norway. You were justified in imputing motives to them. He lacks the power of imparting, although he is a good mathematical scholar.

Usage (Verbs)
 On the other hand, certain words always take the infinitive after them; as, 1. He advised us to desist from that attempt. 2. I decline to say further. 3. I expect to meet opposition. 4. It is hard to get access to him. 5. He hopes to win the first prize. 6. We are all inclined to judge of others as we find them. 7. He intends to compile a Hebrew dictionary.


of Session