Verbs

Verbs are a part of speech.  They are one of the two most important parts of a sentence. 

Without them, the sentence is not a sentence, but is, instead, only a sentence fragment.

You probably think of action: 

  • jump
  • run
  • sing
  • dance


Action.  The action is the easiest to recognize. 

  • Jill sings. 
  • John runs. 
  • The dog jumps. 
  • Maria dances.

Each of the examples above contains the subject of the sentence and the action – the two necessary parts of any sentence. 

The subject of the sentence is generally a noun – but it might be a pronoun (which is a word that represents a noun).  More on pronouns later.

The action is necessary to the sentence.

Two types.  This part of speech can be of two types –

  • "action" (as you see above and below in the graphics) or 
  • “being” which just “is”  (describes a state of "being")

 (Note.  When you mention this part of speech, you generally add the pronoun “to” in front of it – and that form – “to be” – is known as the infinitive.)

Other “infinitives” would be:

  • To sing
  • To run
  • To jump
  • To dance
  • To ride
  • To swim
  • To surf



See the action below:









********************





********************

A sentence needs both the subject and the "action"

Subject of the sentence

The form of the "action" can change depending on the subject in the sentence. 

Learning to adjust to the change in subjects is one of the difficult parts of learning a new language – learning what form of the verb goes with the subject. 

People who come to our English language with another language as their first language can find it difficult to adjust. 

We must be accepting – and you will be all the more accepting if you have ever been challenged to learn a new language yourself! 

When we change the subject, we change the verb – and that is known as “conjugating” the verb.


Person

To be able to "conjugate" a verb, you must understand the "person." 

Subjects can be of three different "persons":

FIRST person  - there is only one person, the speaker - (I, we)

SECOND person - there are two people - the speaker and YOU - and "you" are the second person 

THIRD PERSON - speaking of a third person or persons - very simple (he, she, it, they).   

"Conjugating the verb" requires that we run through all the forms of the verb used with these subjects.
 
Example

SingularPlural
IWe
YouYou
He, she, itThey

Using the action verbs above as examples, here they are "conjugated":

SingularPlural
I singWe sing
You singYou sing
He singsThey sing
She singsThey sing
It singsThey sing

You can see that the change is mainly with the THIRD person singular.

SingularPlural
I runWe run
You runYou run
He runsThey run
She runsThey run
It runsThey sing

...and

SingularPlural
I danceWe dance
You danceYou dance
He singsThey sing
She dancesThey dance
It dancesThey dance

The verb changes somewhat with each change in “person” as you see above. 

Learning verbs requires that you understand the “person.” 




Irregular verbs

Some verbs are not quite as consistent as what you see in the tables above.  The above are all "regular" verbs, and they are quite easy to conjugate.

It is the irregular verbs that cause some challenge. 

One of the most common irregular verbs is "to be."  Not only is it irregular, but it is also a "being" verb.  There is no action implied by this verb, but it is still a necessary part of the sentence.

Here is "to be" conjugated below:

SingularPlural
I amWe are
You areYou are
He isThey are
She isThey are
It isThey are

Summary

On this page, you have been introduced to a few special ideas and terms:

  • Types of verb.  You have seen that there are two types of verb - action and "being." 
  • Persons.  You have been introduced to "persons" which are necessary to understand when discussing and conjugating verbs.
  • Conjugating.  You have been introduced to "conjugating" verbs, which means that you can "run through" the proper verb form to be used with the various singular and plural subjects.

All of the examples on this page have been in present tense.  To learn more about tenses, click here (coming soon).


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