1. What is a Verb?

A verb is a word that tells about the action is done by a person or a thing, or upon a person or a thing, or about a person or a thing. Some verbs help us determine the time of the actions. e.g., run, study, was, sleep, fight, etc.

2. Kinds of Verbs

Principal verbs or Main Verbs

The verbs having their own meaning and the meaning of the sentence depends on these are called principal or main verb. e.g.,

  • I read a novel.

Auxiliary or helping verbs

The verbs having no meaning of their own but are very important for the construction of the sentence are called auxiliary or helping verbs.

The primary auxiliary verbs in English are- be, do, and have.

Finite verbs

The verbs which change their forms according to the change of tense, person and number are called finite verbs. e.g.,

  • I go to college to study.
  • I went to college to study.
  • He goes to college to study

Non-Finite Verbs

The verbs which do not change their meaning even with the change of tense, number and person are called Non-finite verbs. It doesn’t possess a complete meaning.

  • We eat to live.
  • I go to college to study.

Non-Finite Verbs are elaborately discussed HERE.


The auxiliary verbs which are used in a sentence to change the mode of expression are called modal auxiliary. e.g.,

Shall(I & plural subject), will, should(suggestion at present), would(to request),
should have(suggestion at past), ought to, ought to have, can, could, may, might,
must, must have, need, dare, used to, etc.

Modals are elaborately discussed HERE along with the M-Chart.

Transitive Verbs

The verbs having an object to complete the sense and meaning of the sentence are called transitive verbs. (ask the verb with whom or what, = if valid answer)

  • I watch T.V.
  • I write a letter.

Intransitive Verbs

The verbs which do not take an object are called intransitive verbs. (ask the verb with whom or what, = if no answer)

  • He reached there in time.
  • He sleeps.
  • He walks.

3. Causative verbs

Verbs that show the reason that something happened. They do not indicate something the subject did for themselves, but something the subject got someone or something else to do for them. e.g., let, make, have, get, and help.

  • I don’t let my kids watch violent movies. Or,
  • I don’t allow my kids to watch violent movies.
  • Have your dinner done.
  • Get your lunch packed.
  • I helped him write the letter.

4. Cognate Object

The object which is derived from the main verb is called a cognate object. Cognate objects are of five types.

I. In both form & meaning:

5. Factitive Verbs

These are Transitive verbs of incomplete predication. These need extra word or words besides their objects to make a complete sense of naming, making or thinking ideas. e.g.,

  • She called me a fool.
  • We made him president.

6. Copulative Verbs

These are Intransitive Verbs of incomplete prediction. these need extra word or words by themselves to make complete sense. e.g.,

  • She is ill.
  • He seems exhausted.

7. Quasi-Passive Verbs

In Active Voice some verbs are used to enforce a vibe of Passive Voice, such verbs are called Quasi-Passive Verbs. e.g.,

  • Honey tastes sweet.
  • Eggs sell cheap.

8. Impersonal Verbs

Some verbs do not indicate any source of action and are generally used in the singular form (first person) with the pronoun ‘It’ as its indefinite subject. e.g.,

  • It rains.
  • It says.
  • It snows.
  • It helps.

9. Complement

Some verbs in English do not make complete sense by themselves but require some other word or words to complete the sense. The additional word or words thus required for the completion of the expressing sense are, called Complements. Thus complement denotes any kind of completion, except the object or objects to a transitive verb. Complements are of two kinds, I. Subjective Complement & II. Objective Complement.

10. Subjective Complement

Complements of Passive and Intransitive verbs associated with the subject are called Subjective Complement. e.g.,

  • She is a fool.
  • He was made secretary.
  • She went mad.

11. Objective Complement

Complements of Active and Transitive verbs associated with the object are Objective Complement. e.g.,

  • We saw him run.
  • They pulled the chain down.
  • The death of his daughter made him mad.

12. Complete or Incomplete Predication Verbs

Some common intransitive verbs are there which need or does not need complements. e.g.,

To be, become, seem, appear, grow, look, remain, etc.
  • He looks pale.
  • I became alert.
  • She grew up healthy.
  • Look at her.
  • God is.

13. Group Verbs or Prepositional Verbs

When a verb groups with prepositions and acts as a single transitive verb, is called a group verb. e.g.,

  • Gandhi presided over the meeting.
  • Go through the pages carefully.

Group Verbs are elaborately discussed HERE.

14. Transitive verb turns Intransitive

I. When the object is easily understood: We eat to live.

II. When Reflexive Pronoun is not used: Keep (yourself) up to date.

III. When Verb sits with an adverb: Malaria has broken out.

IV. When Quasi-Passive verb is used: Sharee sells cheap.

15. Intransitive verb turns Transitive

I. In a casual sense of use: I read articles on science.

II. When the verb used with prepositions: She laughed at me.

III. When ‘with’ and ‘over’ placed before the verb: I overcome the bad situation. She could no longer withhold her sentiments.

IV. When a Reflexive Object is used: She holds herself calm in any situation.

V. When a Cognet Object is used: They ran a race.

16. Strong & Weak Verbs

Strong Verbs: Certain verbs in English have the strength inherent in them of forcing their past tenses °by only changing a certain vowel, no outside help being required in the shape of any additions to the original root: rise-rose, ring-rang, fall-fell, sit-sat, etc.
Weak Verbs: There are other verbs that are lacking in this strength. They require the addition of ‘d’ or ‘t’ to the original root to form their past tenses; wish wished, bark-barked, hear-heard, mend-mended, deal dealt, etc. -P. Bhattacharyya

17. Defective Verbs

There are a few verbs that have not got all forms of conjugation. These verbs are called defective Verbs. e.g.,

Need, dare, ought, may, shall, will, can, must, owe, worth, quoth, etc.
  • I need not do this.
  • She need not do this.
  • They need not do this.
  • You need not do this.

18. Meaning of some Auxiliary Verbs

(a) She can do it – she has the power to do it.
(b) She may do it – she is permitted to do it or it is possible for her to do it.
(c) She will do it – denotes simple futurity.
(d) She shall do it – she is commanded to do it.
(e) She must do it – implies compulsion; doing is the only alternative.
(f) She might do it – she had the liberty to do it. Or, She was permitted to do it.
(g) She should do it – it is her duty to do it.
(h) She would do it, if she could – she meant or wanted to do it, if it lay within her power
(i) She could do it, if she would – she had certainly the power to do it, but she did not wish to do it.

19. The force of the verb ‘Have’

(a) Have– implies a competed action, it being the direct action of the doer or the agent, as in,
I have sent her away.
(b) Have– implies a completed action in which the agent is not directly engaged, but which he has caused to be performed by other agencies. This is the causative sense of have, as in,
I have her sent away.
(c) Have– implies possession or a sense of ownership, as in,
I have a black horse.
(d) Have– implies a completed action connecting the past with the present, for instance, the deed has been one, but, it may be, the doer is now regretting the consequence, or is ashamed of it, or is glad of the result, as in,
I have done the deed.

-P. Bhattacharyya

20. The force of the verb ‘Had’

(a) Had– in the sense of the past & past participle form of have
When I was a child I had a cat.
No more biryani please – I’ve had enough.
I had heard/I’d heard they were planning to move to Howrah.
Had I known (= If I had known), I would have come home earlier.
(b) Had– in the sense of tricked (Adj.), given less than what was finalized
“I paid Rs. 2Lakh for this car.” “You’ve been had, mate. It’s not worth more than 1Lakh.”
(c) Had– in the sense of finished or something that is about to break at any point
I think this bucket’s had it.
I have had it with a local business.

21. Irregular Verbs

Some verbs in English have an irregular past simple tense and an irregular past participle. They are called Irregular Verbs.

Check the list of such verbs Here.

22. Some verbs have no change

Bet, burst, cast, cost, cut, hit, hurt, let, put, rid, set, shed, shut, split, spread, thurst.