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Verbs

Introduction to Verbs


These are the words which describe an action, event or state of being in a sentence. It is derived from the Latin ‘verbum’ which means ‘a word’. If it is proper to compare different parts of speech according to their relative importance, then verbs can be considered as the most important part of speech. You can form a sentence without any of the other parts of speech, but you cannot make a sentence without a verb.

For example: Run! Jump! Fight! Eat! Drink! Sing!

All these can be regarded as sentences as they contain the most important part of a sentence—verb. However, the following don’t:

This not a sentence.

Why this not a sentence?

In both these cases, the verbs are absent. Hence, they cannot be called sentences. Let us study verbs in detail.

Properties of verbs

As mentioned before, verbs are used for describing an action, event or state of being. The same verb can be used differently in different sentences. Let us study the properties of a verb that undergo changes. These properties are as follows:

1. Person and Number

2. Tense

3. Voice

4. Mood


A verb changes according to the number and the person of its subject.

Singular and plural are the two numbers. Singular means one, while plural means more than one.

The persons in English language are classified as first person, second person and third person. The first person refers to the person or persons speaking. The second person refers to the person or persons being spoken to. The third person refers to the person or persons being spoken of.

The following table lists the singular and plural forms of the persons:

 

First Person

Second Person

Third Person

Singular

I

You

He, She, Noun, It

Plural

We

You

They

Using the verb ‘do’, let us see how a verb changes its form according to the number and person of it subject.

 

Present

Past

Future

First Person Singular (I)

do

am doing

have done

have been doing

did

was doing

had done

had been doing

will do

will be doing

will have done

will have been doing

First Person Plural (We)

do

are doing

have done

have been doing

did

were doing

had done

had been doing

will do

will be doing

will have done

will have been doing

Second Person Singular (You)

do

are doing

have done

have been doing

did

were doing

had done

had been doing

will do

will be doing

will have done

will have been doing

Second Person Plural (You)

do

are doing

have done

have been doing

did

were doing

had done

had been doing

will do

will be doing

will have done

will have been doing

Third Person Singular (He/She/Noun/It)

does

is doing

has done

has been doing

did

was doing

had done

had been doing

will do

will be doing

will have done

will have been doing

Third Person Plural (They)

do

are doing

have done

have been doing

did

were doin...

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