Tuesday, March 22, 2011

English Verbs: General

English Verbs

            A Verb is a word that expresses an action or a state or being. There are three kinds of verbs: action verbs, linking verbs, and auxiliary verbs.
            1.         The mother is feeding the baby.
            2.         The foolish crow tried to sing.
            3.         He is a voracious reader.

Action Verbs:
            An Action Verb describes the behaviour or action of someone or something. Action verbs may represent physical actions or mental activities.
            Jamil ran all the way home with the news.
            The herd of cattle thundered toward us. (Ran and thundered refer to physical actions.)
            Ida studies until late last nigh.
            Most of the critics admire the new musical comedy. [Studies and admire refer to mental activities.]
Linking Verbs:
            A Linking Verb connects a noun or a pronoun with a word or words that identify or describe that noun or pronoun. Many linking verbs are verbs of being, which are formed from the verb be.
            Lucy Stone was an American reformer of the nineteenth century. [Was links reformer to Lucy Stone.]
            The sofa along the far wall and the rocking chair in the corner are quite comfortable. [Are links the descriptive word comfortable to sofa and to rocking chair.]
            There are several linking verbs in addition to be. To tell whether a word is a linking verb, you can substitute a form of be for it. A list of linking verbs follows:
            Appear             grow                 seem                stay
            Become                        look                  smell                taste
            Feel                  remain              sound
            Our hockey team seems ready for the game tonight. [Think: our team is ready.]
            The extinction of dinosaurs remains a mystery to scientists. [Think: Extinction is a mystery.]
            Some verbs can be either action verbs or linking verbs, as in the following examples.
            Action:        Jafar appeared from nowhere when his mother called.                                 [Appeared describes an action.]
            Linking:     The department store appears rather crowded tonight.
                              [Think: The store is crowded.]
Auxiliary Verbs:
            Sometimes a verb needs the help of another verb, called an auxiliary verb or a helping verb. The verb that it helps is called the main verb. Together, a main verb and an auxiliary verb form a verb phrase. A verb phrase may have more than one auxiliary verb. Common auxiliary verbs appear in the following list.
            am, are, be, been, is, was, were                         may, might
            can, could                                                         must
            do, does, did                                                    shall, should
            have, has, had                                                  will, would
            In the following examples, the auxiliary verbs are in italic type, and the main verbs are in boldface type. Not and never are not part of the verb phrase.
            The teachers of Central High School have written a handbook for new students.
            The Kahns will not be moving to London after all.
            How many satellites does the United States launch every year?
List of the most common linking verbs:
Current Linking Verbs:
Appear             John appeared happy when the company promoted him.
Be                    The graduate students are in Classroom South, Room 106.
Feel                  She felt really happy with the new baby.
Lie                   The pieces lay scattered over the floor.
Look                 This person looks really tired.
Remain             Everybody remained silent for a few minutes.
Seem                This secretary seems (to be) very efficient.
Smell                That perfume smelled so fresh.
Sound              She sounded very surprised when she heard the news.
Stay                  Everybody stayed calm when the fire alarm went off.
Taste                this grapefruit tastes very bitter.

Resulting Linking Verbs:
Become            He became a successful business man.
Get                   She got upset with her students.
Grow                The professor grew unhappy because the students were not listening well.
Fall                  My brother  fell in love at the party.
Prove                The new secretary proved (to be) very friendly.
Run                  The children ran wild.
Turn                 The milk turned sour.
Dynamic and Stative Verbs:
            The verbs which describe action are called “Dynamic Verbs”. They can be used in Continuous Tenses.
1.                   He is writing fast.
2.                   Prices of food items are going up.
            Some verbs describe a state (non-action, situation). They are called “Stative Verbs”. They cannot normally be used with Continuous Tenses.
Note:    Some of the stative verbs can be used with Continuous tenses with a change in meaning.
1.                   I hear  a strange noise.
2.                   We like black coffee.
3.                   Every body loves his motherland.
(A)       Dynamic Verb: They can be further divided into various groups:
(i)         Activity Verbs:              ask, beg, call, drink, eat, play, read, write, work, throw.
(ii)        Process Verbs:              change, grow, mature, widen, deteriorate.
(iii)       Verbs of Bodily             ache, feel, hurt, itch.
(iv)       Momentary Verbs:        hit, jump, knock, nod, kick, fall, land.
(B)       Stative Verbs: The main division of stative verbs is as under:
            (a)  Verbs of Perception and Cognitions: desire, detest, doubt, guess, intend, imagine, regard, see, smell, think, understand, want, wish.
            (b)  Relational Verbs: belong, contain, depend, fit, involve, include, possess, resemble, seem, etc.
            The difference between stative and dynamic in terms of “willed” and “nonwilled” qualities. Consider the difference between a so-called dynamic adjective (or subject complement) and a stative adjective (or subject complement):           
            “I am silly” or “I am being silly”.
            Versus “I am tall”. I have chosen to be silly; I have no choice about being tall. Thus ‘tall” is said to be a stative (or an “inert”) quality, and we cannot say “I am being tall”. “silly”, on the other hand, is dynamic so we can use progressive verb forms in conjunction with that quality.
            The same applies to verbs. Two plus two equals four. Equals is inert, stative, and cannot take the progressive; there is no choice, no volition in the matter. (We would not say, “Two plus two is equaling four.”)
Kinds of Verbs:
Transitive Verb (Passing Over):
            A Transitive Verb is a verb that denotes or describes an action which passes over from the doer or subject to an object or affects something or someone.
            The boy reads his book. (reads what? his book)
                           V       O        
            He ate a banana. (ate what? a banana)
                  V          O
            The object is the noun or noun equivalent that receives the action of the verb. To find object in the sentence, put what or whom after the verb. The object is of a transitive verb is called a direct object. Some verb can only be used transitively.
i.        He made something (Not he made.)
ii.      I like it. ( Not I like.)
iii.    The car hit a tree. (Not the car hit.)
iv.     He brought the book. (Not he brought.)
Intransitive Verb (Not Passing Over):
(The verb that does not take an object)
            An Intransitive Verb is a verb that denotes or describes an action which does not pass over to an object.
                    i.      The baby sleeps. (Sleep what? no answer)
                  ii.      The boy is running. (The action of running doesn’t take place on anything else but the boy himself.
Note:    We cannot form a passive sentence from an intransitive verb.
            Intransitive verbs are not usually followed by direct objects. They need only the subject to make a sentence.
                    i.      He slept. (Not he slept something.)
                  ii.      She fell out of the tree. (Not she fell the tree.)
Many transitive verbs can be used intransitively without an object, but the object is still understood to be there.
            I am drinking (tea, water, etc.)
            Some verbs (e.g. walk, run, work, pass) can be used transitively and intransitively to express different meanings: many verbs can be either transitive or intransitive depending on the meaning and context:
i.        He is running.
ii.      He ran a long race.
Verbs Active in form, but Passive in sense:
            Transitive verbs are sometimes used in a Passive sense without being put into the Passive Voice.
1.         Verbs with a Complement:
                    i.      The stone feels rough (is rough when it is felt.
                  ii.      Honey tastes sweet (is sweet when it is tasted).
                iii.      The milk smells sour (is sour when it is smelt).
                 iv.      Your blame counts for nothing (is worth nothing when it is counted).
                   v.      Your composition reads well (sounds well when it is read).
                 vi.      The house does not let (is not taken when it is meant to be let).
               vii.      The horse does not sell ( is not taken when it is meant to be sold).
             viii.      That cloth will never thin (will become thin when it is worn).
2.         Verbs without a Complement:
                    i.      The house is building (= is in a state of being built)
                  ii.      The trumpets are sounding (= are being sounded).
                iii.      The cannons are firing (= is being fired).
                 iv.      The drums are beating (= are being beaten).
                   v.      The house is finishing (= is being finished).
                 vi.      The book is printing (= is being printed).
               vii.      The cows are milking (= are being milked).

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