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Introduction to Verbs & What is a Verb

What is a Verb? Verbs are an important part of speech in the English language. In fact, sentences can’t occur without including at least one verb. Therefore, to communicate effectively you must understand everything you can about these crucial words. In this article, you’re going to discover what verbs are and how to use them. You’ll also learn how to structure your sentences properly while including this part of speech in your writing and speech. Once you’re done reading this article, click here to get more help.

What is a Verb?

At this point, you’re probably wondering, "what is a verb?" This group of words explains three main things: physical actions, mental actions, and states of being.

The first verb definition: Words that explain physical actions someone or something takes.

  • Martha ran around the block.

Martha is the noun and ran describes the action she takes.

  • The ball fell on the other side of the fence.

In this example, ball is the noun and fell describes the physical action.

The second verb definition: Words that describe mental actions someone or something takes.

  • Steve realized he didn’t do his homework.

Steve is the noun and realized describes what he just thought about.

  • The dog forgot its toy at the park.

Dog is the noun and forgot describes the mental action that happened.

These first two forms describe action. That is why people often refer to this part of speech as action words. Despite this, not all verbs describe action. There is also a third state.

The third verb definition: Words that describe a state of being.

  • Jenny is happy.

Jenny is the noun and is happy is her current state of being.

  • They are winning the football game.

They is the pronoun that stands for one of the teams playing a sport. Are winning is the team’s current state of being.

State of being words don’t express action and instead link a noun or pronoun with adjectives. They work by connecting the two main parts of a sentence so that you get a complete idea of the situation.

You’ll learn the formal terms for parts of a sentence a bit later. For now, it’s important to know that the most common state of being verb that connects words in a sentence is to be in all its forms.

  • Tina is silly."

  • You’ll be great during your dance recital!

What’s a verb that’s a true linking word? You have all the conjugations of be, including being, been, am, was, are, were, and is. The verb to become, as well as to seem, and all their forms are also always linking words.

What Are Verbs? Many Work as Both Active Words and Linking Words.

Furthermore, there are many more words that you can use as linking words. Whether these words work as action words or linking words depends on the context.

When a sentence involves action, you’ll find an active verb. On the other hand, if the sentence involves conditions or states of being, you’ll find a linking word. Yes, some words act as both active and linking words! Here are a few examples showing the difference.

Example 1

  • Active: Stephanie looked around for her keys.
  • Linking: The cake looked amazing.

Example 2

  • Active: Jake smelled the fresh cut grass.
  • Linking: The old egg smelled rotten.

What are verbs that act as both active and linking word? Appear, feel, grow, look, prove, remain, sound, and taste work as either linking or active words.

Now that you know about active and linking words, why not learn about MLA format and APA format? Understanding these styling formats will improve your writing assignments.

What is a Verb Phrase?

Do you remember how there are two parts of a sentence? These parts include the subject and the predicate. A subject is the noun or pronoun doing or being something. Similarly, the predicate is the part of the sentence explaining what the subject is doing or what it is like.

So, how can you define verb phrase? Basically, there are times when you need to use more than one action or linking word in a sentence. It’s necessary in events where someone acts or there’s a specific condition over a time period. Using multiple action or linking words together is the definition of a verb phrase.

What’s a verb phrase equation?

You use helping words with action words or linking words to create a phrase. You’ll always find the helping words before the action or linking words.

Helping word + action / linking word = a phrase.

What is a verb phrase example? Here are a few:

  • I was cooking my dinner when you called.

  • Yes, Stephanie does remember your pet hamsters.

You can find most phrases in the predicate of the sentence. However, there are also times when a phrase contains an adjective clause or adverb phrase. These modifiers give us more information on what’s happening in the sentence. For example:

  • Cleaning the house, which we haven’t done yet, happens on Saturday mornings.
  • Danny’s father frantically cleared the table for dinner.

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Verb Tense Definition

As you learn about action and state of being words, it’s important to define verb tense and understand what it is. Here’s a definition of verb tense with examples.

What is a verb tense? There are three tenses that you use to explain when something occurs or is going to occur. First, you have past tense. Past tense communicates that something occurred in the past. That could be yesterday, a few hours ago, or even last year. If something has already happened, you can talk about it using the past tense.

So, what are verbs in the past tense?

There are different past tenses. Here are examples of each:

Simple past tense:

  • This morning I rode a horse for the first time.

Past continuous tense:

  • He was riding a horse yesterday morning.

Past perfect:

  • Rachel had ridden 12 different horses that year.

Past perfect continuous:

  • Samantha had been riding horses since she was eight years old.

Define (a) verb in the present tense.

Next, there’s the present tense, which happens now or is ongoing. Here are the types and some examples:

Simple present tense:

  • I work every morning at 8 a.m.

Present continuous tense:

  • He is working on the computer right now.

Present perfect tense:

  • I have finished working.

Present perfect continuous:

  • She hasn’t been working today.

What’s the definition of (a) verb in the future tense?

Finally, you have the future tense. You use this tense with events that will occur in the future.

Simple future tense:

  • I will play video games tonight.

Future continuous tense:

  • He will be playing video games all night.

Future perfect tense:

  • I will have saved $100 by the end of this month.

Future perfect continuous:

  • Roger will have been working on his homework for three hours before eating lunch today.

Now, when someone asks you, “what does verb mean?” you can give them this verb definition: It’s a part of speech that describes an action someone or something takes, or a state of being someone or something is in.

Once you’re ready to learn more about action and state of being words, check this out.