All About Verbs

Just a simple rundown on Verbs:

A verb is a word which shows action or state of being. It is the heart of a sentence – every sentence must have a verb. Recognizing the verb is often the most important step in understanding the meaning of a sentence.

The verb is a part of speech that expresses existence, action, or occurrence in most languages, as in the following examples: 

  1. Ms. Mindy is your teacher for today.  (expresses existence)
  2. The girl is selling cookies for the bake sale.  (expresses action)
  3. The concert will be held at the Big Dome.  (expresses occurrence)

Four Principal Parts of the Verb

This section is important in order to fully understand how to form verb tenses which we will discuss on another post.

There are four principal parts of a verb:

1. Simple 

– The simple form of the verb is the infinitive form—the form you would use for the present tense. The simple form is also the same as the infinitive form of the verb—   the form you use after the word “to.”


    1. run — to run
    2. walk — to walk
    3. dance — to dance
    4. sing — to sing
2. Past
– The past tense form of the verb indicates action that occured in the past. However, how you form the past tense of a verb depends on what category of verb it is. In English, there are two categories of verbs: regular and irregular.
Regular verbs form the past tense by adding –ed to the simple form. For example:
  1. talk — talked
  2. watch — watched
  3. listen — listened
  4. cook — cooked
Irregular verbs don’t follow the rule of adding -ed. Instead, they may change the spelling of the verb completely—or not at all!
  1. bring — brought
  2. cut — cut
  3. hurt — hurt
  4. shake — shook
  5. fly — flew

3. Past Participle 
–  The past participle form of a verb also expresses action that occurred in the past. However, unlike the past tense, the past participle indicates that the action is complete.You can easily identify the past participle by putting the helping verb had before the verb and then choosing the correct form.Regular verbs form the past tense by adding –ed to the simple form, so the past tense and the past participle of a regular verb are the same. For example:
  1. talk — had talked
  2. watch — had watched
  3. listen — had listened
  4. cook — had cooked
Irregular verbs don’t follow the rule of adding -ed. Instead, they may change the spelling of the verb completely—or not at all!
  1. bring — had brought
  2. cut — had cut
  3. hurt — had hurt
  4. shake — had shook
  5. fly — had flew

4. Present Participle

-The present participle describes action that is ongoing or continuing. The present participle is formed by adding -ing to the simple form. The present participle does not change regardless of whether the verb is regular or irregular.


    1. open — opening
    2. cheat — cheating
    3. eat — eating
    4. read — reading

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