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What are the Different Types of Verbs?

Looking for a verbs list? Fret not. Here’s a quick guide on the list of verbs with illustrative examples. But before we get down to the list of verbs, let’s quickly brush through the definition of a verb. 

A verb in the simplest sense is a word that describes an action, an event or a state. It tells you what the subject of a sentence is doing. The verbs (like those in the verb list below) are usually the main words in a sentence and without them a sentence is incomplete. Having said that, how do you recognize a verb in a sentence?

Well, verbs (like those in the verbs list below) are typically used after a noun or a pronoun. The nouns or pronouns in such cases, are referred to as subjects. 

For example: 

  • Anthony went to the market. 

In this case the action of Anthony physically having went to the market is the verb. 

In this guide, verbs are categorized into a few different lists: 

  • action verbs list
  • linking verbs list
  • helping verbs list
  • irregular verbs list

Except for the linking verb list, the other categories break down into different types. The next list of verbs can be physical or mental. The list of helping verbs can be auxiliary or modal. The list of irregular verbs shows verbs in different tenses. 

Learning the words in each verb list can help you develop your English-speaking skills. To make comprehension easier, example sentences have been provided in the verb list sections.

List of Action Verbs

In an action verbs list, each verb can be used to state a subject’s action in a sentence. There are two types of action words you’ll find in this list of action verbs.

Type 1: Physical

The physical verb list features action words. In other words, the words within a physical action verb list usually describe an action that someone or something physically does. In a nutshell, a particular motion made using one’s body or a tool to complete an action is referred to as an action verb. For example, let’s start with a short list of action verbs: 

  • Walk
  • Open
  • Speak 

All of the words on this short action verb list describe physical actions. The verb list below is a much longer list of action verbs that are useful to know.

Physical Action Verb List:

Act Answer Approve Arrange
Break Build Buy Coach
Color Cough Create Complete
Cry Dance Describe Draw
Drink Eat Edit Enter
Exit Imitate Invent Jump
Laugh Lie Listen Paint
Plan Play Read Replace
Run Scream See Shop
Shout Sing Skip Sleep
Sneeze Solve Study Teach
Touch Turn Walk Win
Write Whistle Yank Zip


Hopefully you already recognized a few (or all) of the words on this action verbs list. They are all very useful! If you think you’ll need it, feel free to print this action verbs list for future reference.  

Before moving on from the physical action verb list and looking at the mental verbs list below, consider reading these resources explaining MLA format and APA format. They could help you understand how to format your next writing assignment. Or, if you’re ready, let’s move on to the next list of action verbs.

Type 2: Mental

The second type of action verbs list is for mental action words. Mental action words describe intellectual processes that don’t happen physically, but rather take place in your mind. Examples of mental action words (that are part of the action verb list below) include think, feel, and want.

List of Verbs Describing Mental Action:

Concern Decide Dislike
Doubt Feel Forget
Hate Hear Hope
Impress Know Learn
Like Look Love
Mind Notice Own
Perceive Realize Recognize
Remember See Smell
Surprise Please Prefer
Promise Think Understand


It’s important to understand that some mental action words on this action verbs list don’t refer to the literal use of the word. For instance, the mental list of verbs includes the words see, look, hear, and smell. These words could also be included on a list of action verbs describing physical motion. When you don’t use these words in the literal sense, they become mental action words. In other words, these words could be found on both a physical and mental action verbs list.  

Here are some examples showing the difference:

  • Action: I can see Paul jumping up and down.

In this example , you can literally see Paul jumping around.

  • Mental: Frank returned from Europe yesterday? I see.

However, in the above example you can’t literally see Frank returning from Europe. Instead, “I see” means to understand. Therefore, ‘see ’used in this context is a mental word.

  • Action: These roses smell wonderful.

This example refers to the physical action of smelling flowers and comments on their scent.

  • Mental: Something smells funny about this situation.

On the other hand, in this example, nothing literally smells funny. Instead, it means that there’s something strange and unusual about the situation.

To summarize, there are hundreds of words that could go on an action verbs list. The physical verbs list and the mental list of verbs only include a few basic words of each type. There are many more to learn and they’re all fun to use. In order to expand your vocabulary, it’s helpful to study another list of action verbs. For a PDF list of action verbs, visit this site

The next verbs list is a list of linking verbs. Even if you don’t know what they are yet, these words are very important! Pay close attention to the list of linking verbs below. You never know when a list of linking verbs might come in handy.

Linking Verbs List

There’s a list of verbs that do not describe any action. Instead, these words explain a state of being such as a condition or relationship.They are also commonly known as linking verbs, and they make up the linking verb list below. 

The words in the linking verbs list are words that connect the subject of a sentence to specific information about the subject. In other words, linking verbs connect the subject to a predicate noun or a predicate adjective. 

A list of linking verbs could also be called a ‘being verbs list.’ This is because the words within a linking verbs list show a state of being. You’ll notice that most verbs on the being verbs list are forms of ‘to be’. Other verbs like ‘become’ and ‘seem’ also belong on a being verbs list. 

These ‘being’ verbs (see the list of linking verbs/being verbs list below for examples) are used with subjects that are both in past and present tense. Being verbs like ‘was/were’ should be used instead of ’be’ in the past tense, and ‘is/am/are’ in the present tense. For instance: 

  • Amy was being cynical.
  • We are being noisy.
  • Andrew was afraid of Luna.
  • You appear to be scared.

The being/linking words in the sentences above are included in the being verbs list below. You can use words in the linking verbs list to connect the subject with other words in a sentence. There aren’t as many words on a linking verb list as there are on a verb list for mental and physical action words, but each word in the list of linking verbs is nonetheless important.

Linking Verbs List / Being Verbs List:

Am Appear Are
Be Become Been
Being Feel Grow
Is Look Remain
Seem Smell Sound
Stay Taste Turn
Was Were


As you can see on the linking verbs list above, all forms of to be are important linking words. It would be difficult to have a conversation about yourself without using any of the words on this linking verbs list. Want to remember all of these? Feel free to print and save this linking verb list for reference. You could also look for another linking verb list and examples to study.

Now that you’re well-versed with action words, and the linking verb list, let’s move on to helping words.

Helping Verbs List

Now that we’ve gone over the list of linking verbs let’s talk about helping verbs. A helping verb ‘helps’ or supports the main verb. There are two types of words within the helping verbs list: auxiliaries and modals. 

Both auxiliaries and modals add more meaning to the main action or the being word. They can also describe the period of a physical or mental action taking  place. They can also add emphasis to your sentences and indicate an event happening. 

Auxiliaries (like those in our helping verb list below) extend the main verb and help show time, tense or possibility.

Examples of auxiliary verbs:

  • Matthew is going out for lunch. 
  • I have finished my homework. 

Modals indicate possibility, ability or expectation. A list of helping verbs that are modal are further down this page, but let’s start with a few example sentences; they’ll help us understand how they’re used.

Examples of modals:

  • Wilson may want to talk to you again. 
  • Alexa must go to work today.

If you want to learn how to create complex sentences, then it’s important to study a helping verbs list. Here’s your first list of helping verbs.

List of Helping Verbs, Auxiliaries

Auxiliary Word And all its forms…
To Be Am, Are, Is, Was, Were, Be, Been
To Have Have, Has, Had
To Do Do, Does, Did


So, how do you know  that the words in this auxiliary helping verbs list are actually ‘helpful’ or act as standalone words? Simply look for other verbs (action or being words) in the sentence. If you notice any form of ‘to be, ‘to have’, or ‘to do’ before another action or being word, then you’re looking at a sentence with an auxiliary. 

Using the previous auxiliary helping verbs list, can you figure out which word is the auxiliary in the examples below?

  • Charlie’s mother is cooking breakfast for us tomorrow.
  • Tina hasn’t exercised today.

Both modals and auxiliaries can be found on a list of helping verbs. Modals are usually followed by the infinitive of another verb. Just like the list of linking verbs, the list of modals within the list of helping verbs is also small and therefore easy to remember. A verbs list with modal verbs is given below.

List of Helping Verbs, Modals

Can Could May
Might Must Ought to
Shall Should Will


Here are some examples of how modals, from the above list of verbs, explain uncertainty, obligation, and possibility. 

  • I must go to school today.

There’s an obligation to go to school.

  • You could go to school today.

In this sentence, it’s possible that you will not go to school today.

  • Jennifer’s not sick and should go to school today.

And in this sentence, it’s possible that Jennifer doesn’t go to school.

  • If Tommy feels better tonight, he might go to school tomorrow.

Whereas in this sentence there’s a chance that Tommy may or may not go to school. 

Now that you are well versed with a linking verbs list, a list of verbs that are ‘helpful,’ and a verbs list for action words, let’s move on to the next section: a list of irregular verbs. 

Irregular Verbs List

The next verbs list you’ll look at is the list of action verbs that are irregular, thus they are part of the irregular verbs list. So what exactly are irregular verbs? Well, verbs that do not follow the normal rules for conjugation fall into the irregular verbs list. 

Basically, most ‘normal’ words in the past tense have an -ed at the end. Examples include jumped, skipped, and leaped

  • jump → jumped
  • skip → skipped
  • leap → leaped
  • walk → walked

This conjugation pattern applies to most words. However, irregular verbs — like those in the irregular verbs list below — don’t follow this normal pattern. For example:

  • Draw → drew, drawn

These verbs shift tenses according to its own set of rules, and thus belong on our list of irregular verbs. 

The words in the list of irregular verbs below are shown with their past simple and past participle versions. You could say, that it is also an irregular past tense verbs list. 

An irregular past tense verbs list generally includes words like brought, were, became, etc. The irregular past tense verbs list below presents English past tense verbs.

Irregular Past Tense Verbs List:

Be Was or Were Been
Become Became Become
Bring Brought Brought
Build Built Built
Catch Caught Caught
Draw Drew Drawn
Fly Flew Flown
Get Got Got
Go Went Gone
Grow Grew Grown
Hold Held Held
Learn Learnt/Learned Learnt/Learned
Smell Smelt Smelt


Did you come across any new verbs in this irregular verbs list? There are many other words that could be added to this irregular past tense verbs list, but this list of verbs is a good start. Hopefully, this list of irregular verbs (or irregular past tense verbs list) will help you write your assignments with greater precision. Once you’re done studying the list of irregular verbs, visit this informative site for further learning.

Congratulations on reviewing many verb list types! Now that you have finished reading  a comprehensive linking verbs list and studied a helpful list of verbs along with an irregular verbs list, why not get some help on your next English assignment? The paper checker from Citation Machine Plus lets you make citations in APA format and more citation styles. Try it out today!


Published March 5, 2019. Updated April 16, 2020.

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