Types of Verbs, Definition and Examples

Types of Verbs, Definition and Examples

In this article, you will learn types of verbs, verb forms, uses, and functions. Also, check out the examples given for every type of verb.

A verb is a word that describes an action, occurrence, or state of being. Verbs are often called the “doing” words of a sentence because they express actions or states of being.

For example, in the sentence “She walks to the store,” the verb “walks” describes the action that she is performing. In the sentence “He is happy,” the verb “is” describes the state of being that he is currently in.

Verbs can also be used to show tense, mood, and voice. Tense refers to when an action takes place (past, present, or future), mood refers to the attitude or intention of the speaker (indicative, imperative, subjunctive), and voice refers to the relationship between the subject and the action (active or passive).

Verbs are an essential part of a sentence, and they are often the main component of a sentence’s predicate.

There are several types of verbs in English, including:

Types of Verbs and Their Examples

Action Verb

An action verb is a verb that describes a physical or mental action performed by the subject of the sentence. It is a type of verb that indicates that the subject is doing something or taking some action. Examples of action verbs include “run,” “walk,” “jump,” “eat,” “think,” “laugh,” “write,” and “play.”

Action verbs can be used in different tenses, such as present, past, or future, to indicate the timing of the action. For example, “I run every day,” “I ran yesterday,” and “I will run tomorrow” are all sentences that use the action verb “run” in different tenses to describe when the action takes place.

Action verbs can also be transitive or intransitive. Transitive action verbs are followed by a direct object, which receives the action of the verb. For example, in the sentence “I ate an apple,” the action verb “ate” is transitive, and “an apple” is the direct object. Intransitive action verbs do not require a direct object. For example, in the sentence “He laughed,” the action verb “laughed” is intransitive and does not have a direct object.

Linking Verbs

Linking verbs are verbs that connect the subject of a sentence to a predicate or a subject complement. They do not show action, but instead express a state of being, condition, or identity. Examples of linking verbs include “be,” “appear,” “seem,” “become,” “feel,” “look,” “sound,” and “taste.”

For example:

She looks happy. (“looks” is the linking verb that connects “she” to the predicate adjective “happy”)

The cake smells delicious. (“Smells” is the linking verb that connects “the cake” to the predicate adjective “delicious”)

He became a doctor. (“Became” is the linking verb that connects “he” to the subject complement “a doctor”)

Here is a list of 50 common linking verbs:

  1. am
  2. is
  3. are
  4. was
  5. were
  6. be
  7. being
  8. been
  9. become
  10. seem
  11. appear
  12. look
  13. feel
  14. taste
  15. smell
  16. sound
  17. remain
  18. grow
  19. turn
  20. stay
  21. prove
  22. get
  23. go
  24. come
  25. run
  26. keep
  27. appear
  28. sound
  29. feel
  30. become
  31. look
  32. stay
  33. smell
  34. taste
  35. prove
  36. get
  37. go
  38. remain
  39. grow
  40. turn
  41. stand
  42. lie
  43. sit
  44. keep
  45. run
  46. keep
  47. prove
  48. feel
  49. sound
  50. appear

These verbs function as linking verbs when they connect the subject of a sentence to a subject complement, describing or identifying the subject.

Linking Verbs
Types of Verbs

Helping Verbs

Helping verbs, also known as auxiliary verbs, are verbs that are used together with a main verb to indicate tense, voice, mood, or aspect. The most common helping verbs in English include “be,” “do,” and “have.” Other helping verbs include “will,” “would,” “shall,” “should,” “can,” “could,” “may,” “might,” “must,” and “ought to.”

Here are some examples of helping verbs in action:

She is singing a song. (The helping verb “is” indicates the present continuous tense.)

They have finished their homework. (The helping verb “have” indicates the present perfect tense.)

He will be going to the party tonight. (The helping verb “will” indicates the future tense.)

I should have studied more for the exam. (The helping verbs “should” and “have” indicate the past tense and the modal mood, respectively.)

Helping Verbs

Modal Verbs

Modal verbs are a type of auxiliary verbs that express modality, which refers to the speaker’s attitude towards the action or state expressed by the main verb. They are used to indicate ability, possibility, necessity, permission, advice, and other modalities.

Here are some examples of modal verbs:

Can: expresses ability or possibility, e.g., “I can swim” or “It can rain today.”

Could: expresses past ability or possibility, e.g., “I could swim when I was younger” or “It could have been worse.”

May: expresses possibility or permission, e.g., “It may rain tomorrow” or “May I borrow your pencil?”

Might: expresses possibility or uncertainty, e.g., “He might come to the party” or “I might take a nap later.”

Must: expresses necessity or obligation, e.g., “I must finish my homework” or “You must follow the rules.”

Should: expresses advice or recommendation, e.g., “You should study for the exam” or “We should go to bed early.”

Would: expresses willingness or preference, e.g., “I would like some tea” or “Would you mind helping me?”

Modal verbs are important in English because they allow speakers to convey a wide range of meanings and attitudes toward the actions or events they are describing.

Modal Verbs 

Transitive verbs

Transitive verbs are verbs that require an object to complete their meaning in a sentence. In other words, they are action verbs that require a direct object to receive the action.

Here are some examples of transitive verbs:

He threw the ball. (“threw” is the transitive verb and “ball” is the direct object)

She ate the sandwich. (“ate” is the transitive verb and “sandwich” is the direct object)

They built a house. (“Built” is the transitive verb and “house” is the direct object)

I wrote a letter. (“wrote” is the transitive verb and “letter” is the direct object)

The dog chased the cat. (“Chased” is the transitive verb and “cat” is the direct object)

Transitive verbs are important because they allow us to describe actions that are being performed on specific objects. In a sentence, the direct object usually follows the transitive verb and helps to clarify the action being performed. Without a direct object, the meaning of a transitive verb is incomplete.

Here are  examples of transitive verbs:

  • Write
  • Read
  • Eat
  • Drink
  • Cook
  • Clean
  • Paint
  • Draw
  • Sing
  • Dance
  • Play
  • Kick
  • Throw
  • Catch
  • Open
  • Close
  • Break
  • Fix
  • Build
  • Destroy
  • Use
  • Wear
  • Buy
  • Sell
  • Cut
  • Sew
  • Measure
  • Weigh
  • Lift
  • Carry
  • Push

Transitive verbs

Intransitive verbs

Intransitive verbs are verbs that do not take an object. In other words, they are action verbs that do not transfer their action to a direct object. Instead, the action is complete on its own without requiring an object.

Examples of intransitive verbs:

  • She laughed.
  • The flowers bloomed.
  • He ran quickly.
  • The baby slept peacefully.
  • The bird flew away.
  • The sunset.
  • The car stopped suddenly.
  • The children played in the park.
  • The music played softly.
  • The leaves rustled in the wind.

Note that intransitive verbs can still have adverbs or prepositional phrases that modify the action. For example, “He ran quickly” has the adverb “quickly” modifying the action of “ran”. Similarly, “The bird flew away” has the prepositional phrase “away” modifying the action of “flew”.

Here are  examples of intransitive verbs:

  • Run
  • Jump
  • Sleep
  • Laugh
  • Cry
  • Sing
  • Dance
  • Swim
  • Fly
  • Walk
  • Talk
  • Listen
  • Think
  • Dream
  • Relax
  • Appear
  • Disappear
  • Arrive
  • Depart
  • Fall
  • Rise
  • Shine
  • Rain
  • Snow
  • Melt
  • Evaporate
  • Condense
  • Freeze
  • Boil
  • Cool
  • Heat
  • Expand
  • Contract
  • Burst
  • Explode
  • Erupt
  • Crumble
  • Collapse

Intransitive Verbs

Phrasal verbs

Phrasal verbs are verbs that consist of a main verb and one or more particles (such as prepositions, adverbs, or both) that function as a unit and often have a meaning that is different from the individual words. They are commonly used in English and can often be idiomatic, meaning that their meaning may not be immediately apparent from the individual words.

Here are some examples of phrasal verbs:

Turn up: to appear unexpectedly

Example: I didn’t expect to see you here. How did you turn up?

Give up: to stop doing something

Example: I’m never going to give up trying to learn a new language.

Take off: to remove clothing or to leave a place quickly

Example: I need to take off this sweater. It’s too hot in here.

Run into: to meet someone unexpectedly

Example: I ran into an old friend from college at the supermarket yesterday.

Look after: to take care of someone or something

Example: Can you look after my dog while I’m out of town?

Get away with doing something wrong without being punished

Example: He always gets away with being late to work because his boss likes him.

Put off: to postpone or delay something

Example: I had to put off my vacation until next month because of work.

Call off: to cancel something

Example: The outdoor concert was called off due to the rain.

Bring up: to raise a topic for discussion

Example: I didn’t want to bring up the subject of politics at dinner, but my friend did.

Look for: to search for something

Example: I’m looking for my keys. Have you seen them anywhere?

Common Phrasal Verbs With Meanings

Regular Verb

A regular verb is a verb that forms its past tense and past participle by adding “-ed” to the base form of the verb. For example, the verb “walk” is a regular verb. Its past tense and past participle are formed by adding “-ed” to the base form, resulting in “walked.” Other examples of regular verbs include “talk,” “play,” “smile,” “laugh,” “work,” and “clean.”

Regular Verb List 

Irregular Verb

An irregular verb is a verb that does not follow the regular pattern of adding “-ed” to the base form of the verb to form its past tense and past participle. Instead, the past tense and past participle of an irregular verb is formed through a variety of ways, such as changing the vowel sound, adding a different ending, or having the same form as the base verb. Examples of irregular verbs include “go” (went, gone), “eat” (ate, eaten), “come” (came, come), “see” (saw, seen), “run” (ran, run), and “take” (took, taken). It’s important to memorize irregular verb forms since they don’t follow the standard “-ed” rule.

Irregular Verb List

Stative Verb

A stative verb is a verb that describes a state or condition rather than an action. Stative verbs usually refer to mental or emotional states, physical sensations, or characteristics or qualities of a person or thing that are not typically used in continuous or progressive tenses. Examples of stative verbs include “love,” “hate,” “believe,” “know,” “own,” “seem,” “appear,” “weigh,” “contain,” “resemble,” and “feel.” It’s important to note that stative verbs are not usually used in the continuous or progressive tenses, and are often used with non-action verbs such as “be” or “have.”

State Verbs
state verbs, types of verbs

Finite Verb 

A finite verb is a verb that has a specific tense, mood, and subject-verb agreement to show when an action takes place and who or what is performing the action. In other words, a finite verb is a verb that is conjugated to agree with its subject in terms of person, number, and tense.

For example, in the sentence “She walks to school,” the verb “walks” is a finite verb because it is in the present tense, agrees with the subject “she,” and shows when the action takes place.

On the other hand, non-finite verbs are not conjugated to show tense or agreement with the subject, and they do not function as the main verb in a sentence. Examples of non-finite verbs include infinitives (to walk), gerunds (walking), and participles (walked).

Finite Verb



Infinite Verb

An infinite verb is a non-finite verb form that is not bound by tense, mood, or agreement with a subject. In other words, an infinite verb is a verb that is not conjugated and does not show when an action takes place or who or what is performing the action.

There are three types of infinite verbs in English:

Infinitive: This is the base form of a verb that is typically preceded by the word “to.” For example, “to walk,” “to talk,” and “to eat” are infinitives. Infinitives are often used as the subject or object of a sentence, or after certain verbs such as “want,” “need,” or “like.”

Gerund: This is a verb form that ends in “-ing” and functions as a noun. For example, “walking,” “talking,” and “eating” are gerunds. Gerunds can be used as the subject or object of a sentence, or as the object of a preposition.

Participle: This is a verb form that can function as an adjective or part of a verb tense. There are two types of participles: present participles (ending in “-ing”) and past participles (ending in “-ed”). For example, “walking” is a present participle and “walked” is a past participle. Participles are often used to form verb tenses, such as the present continuous tense (“She is walking”) or the past perfect tense (“He had walked”

Infinite Verb with Example

Common Verb List

Walk Illustrate Acquire
Doubt Advise Criticize
Start Steal Invest
Restore Paint Assure
Sleep Stop Deduct
Retain Belong Prefer
Integrate Retain Postpone
Communicate Integrate Achieve
Pursue Communicate Climb
Chop Drill Drink
Hurry Must Behave
Cling Decide Feel
Mind Might Recall
Hate Push Whip
Comprehend Enhance Attribute
Lay Derive Reflect
Allocate Occupy Open
Survey Point Risk
Prepare Perceive Wake
Arise Appreciate Claim
Apply Indicate Come
Plan Involve Eat
Arrive Consult Imply
Seem Spend Struggle
Enjoy Stack Contradict
Locate Slice Regret
Compensate Owe Bring
Sting Reverse Stir
Demand Spill Delay
Should Sink Intervene
Fit Win Drive
Fry Consume Include
Learn Retire Breed
Shed Contain Explore
Determine Expand Generate
Fall Spit Forget
Modify Replace Legislate
Propose Warn Slide
Dare React Rely
Wash Astonish Blow
Inhibit Submit Emphasize
Avoid Like Specify
Wait Argue Realize
Bow Analyze Pull
Hear Assume Adjust
Leap Shine Function
Restrict Translate Begin
Announce Receive Volunteer
Compound Feed Participate
Slip Mention Wish
Investigate Set Grow
Expect Squat Scrub
Pay Depend Interact
Observe Monitor Refer
Reinforce Identify Tiptoe
Matter Beg Alternate
Evaluate Spell Recommend
Require Hug Prioritize
Measure Order Relieve
Desire Remember Justify
Pinch Give Facilitate
Compete Dance Conduct
Promote Affect Bet
Calculate Concern Channel
Ring Hit Stink
Link Comprise Mean
Add Attract Care
Create Relax Exist
Imagine Get Refuse
Miss Light Inform
Manage Write Buy
Lie (not to tell the truth) Prevent Drink
Deliver Get Fail
Process Throw Sit
Bend Break Validate
Transfer Experiment Kiss
Overtake Spread Prove
Ride Practice Insist
Aid Recollect Possess
Follow Bind Incorporate
Consider Install Ask
Would Discover Guide
Wave Confine Obtain
Demonstrate Rid Deviate
Consent Attempt Attain
Convince Can/could Attach
Swing Repair Build
Impose Read Ski
State Vary Supply
Promise Maintain Tell
Proceed Improve Deal

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