Verb is the word in a sentence that describes the action performed by the subject. In other words, it depicts what the subject is doing.

Together with nouns, verbs are the central part of a sentence or phrase, telling of what is occurring. In fact, full meaning or thought cannot be accurately conveyed without the help of a verb. Even the most straightforward and simplest sentences, for example, Julia writes, are not without a verb. On the whole, a verb alone can be a sentence without any other thing or word.  For example in most case the subject you is implied as, Go!, Run!, Sit!, and Play!


While learning the rules of grammar, learners are frequently informed that action words are ‘doing’ words, which means they connote the piece of the sentence which clarifies the activity that is taking place: She won the prize, We go to the park every Sunday, The cattle graze in the field. Won, go, and graze are the ‘activity’ parts of those sentences. In this way, they are the action words called verbs. Conversely, this can be perplexing sometimes because the verb being an action word is not applicable to all verbs. They cannot be easily identified by looking at the action they perform: Joseph understands your problem, Jack knows her name, we considered their case with sympathy, Jane never thought about this option. These are non-action verbs. They just depict a state of being, feeling, emotion, ownership, possession, sense, assessment or opinion. Other non-action verbs are love, hate, concur, feel, agree am, and have, etc.

How to Identify Verb

As should be obvious from the above examples, one hint to help you identify a verb (which is a non-action word) is to look at its location with respect to its subject.  It always follows a noun or a pronoun. These nouns and/or pronouns are called the subject. Thus, the verb understands follows the noun, Joseph. Therefore, the action Joseph (subject) performs is understanding (verb).

Liza writes her assignment quickly.

They visited the regional office.

Tina observed every moment and every movement.

I was thinking the good times that were awaiting me.

Some More Tips and Ways for Identification

1. If you are not sure if a word is a verb, question yourself, “Can I do these actions in the sentence?”

Can I think, wonder, walk, yawn? If Yes, then these are verbs.

2. You can also ask, ”What is happening?”

In the sentence, Liza writes her assignment quickly, what is happening? Writing is happening, so writes is the verb.

In the sentence, Tina observed every moment and every movement, what is happening? Observed (observing) is happening, so observed is the verb.

Verb Categories
Physical Verbs
Mental Verbs
States of Being Verbs  
Types of Verbs
Action Verbs
Transitive Verbs
Intransitive Verbs
Auxiliary Verbs
Stative Verbs
Modal Verbs
Phrasal Verbs
Irregular Verbs

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