What is a verb?

What is a verb?

A verb is a part of speech that is used to show a physical or mental action, a process or a state. Examples of verbs include drink, like or dream. There are three main types of verbs in English: auxiliary, modal and main verbs.

Auxiliary verbs are used with main verbs to make up various grammatical forms, such as negative sentences or certain tense forms.
Some examples of auxillary verbs are do, be and have.
I don’t think so. I am starting to notice it more and more. I have stopped drinking.

Modal verbs are used to express the modality of an action meaning the ability, obligation, or possibility. Their lexical meaning is very general. Modal verbs are not used on their own. They are used with the main verb whose modality they are demonstrating.
Some examples of modal verbs are must, should and can.
I can dance. I should go. I can help you.

Main verbs carry the main lexical meaning in a sentence.
Some examples of main verbs are dance, think and jump.
I jump up and down when I’m happy. I think I want to go to Harvard. He danced with her all night.

Verbs can also be divided into transitive and intransitive.
Transitive verbs can have a direct object that undergoes the action.
Some examples of transitive verbs acting upon a direct object include, to read a book or to kiss somebody.
I read that novel in one night. He kissed me on the cheek.

Intransitive verbs do not need a direct object for the sentence to make sense.
Some examples of intransitive verbs are fall, fly and swim.
He fell. The bird flew. The children swam.

**Another type of verb which we should mention is the phrasal verb. Phrasal verbs are built by adding a preposition or a particle to a verb thus forming a new lexical unit.
Some examples of phrasal verbs include: get up, look after, stand down.

The meaning of the resulting phrasal verb usually differs, often greatly, from the original meaning of the verb used to make it.

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