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Verbs modify nouns and pronouns and generally indicate their action or a state of being. There are several classifications of verbs- action verbs, linking verbs, auxiliary verbs, transitive/intransitive verbs, and phrasal verbs.
1. Action verbs modify nouns and pronouns and show action.
Mary hit Jim so hard that he fell down.
In this sentence, “hit” is the action verb that modifies the subject and noun “Mary” and shows her action.
She ran to the store to pick something up for dinner.
In this example, “ran” is the action verb that modifies the pronoun and subject of the sentence “She” and shows her action.
2. Linking Verbs are verbs that express a state of being. They are called “linking verbs” because they link the subject of the sentence to a word or phrase in the predicate that renames or describes the subject (tells more about the subject’s “state of being”).
The flowers in the garden are quite beautiful.
In this example, the linking verb “are” links the subject of the sentence “flowers” to the adjective “beautiful.”
The fresh pie smelled wonderful.
In this sentence, “smelled” is the linking verb that links the adjective “wonderful” to the subject of the sentence, “pie.”
3. Auxiliary verbs, also called helping verbs, serve as support to the main verb of the sentence.
The most common auxiliary verbs are:
A: am, are
B: be, been, being
C: can, could
D: did, do, does
H: had, has, have
M: may, might, must
O: ought (to)
S: shall, should
W: was, were, will, would
I will come over later in the afternoon.
In this example, “come” is the action verb, and “will” is the auxiliary or helping verb.
I can send that document via email today if you prefer.
In this sentence, “can” is the auxiliary or helping verb, and “send” is the action verb.
4. Transitive and Intransitive Verbs
Transitive Verbs require a direct object for the sentence to make sense.
Jim takes aspirin for his headaches.
Here, takes is a transitive verb since the sentence “Jim takes” has no meaning without its direct object “aspirin.”
Intransitive Verbs do not require a direct object for them to make sense.
In this case, the verb “swim” has meaning for the reader without an object.
5. Phrasal Verbs
Phrasal verbs are made up of a verb and a preposition. The preposition gives the verb a different meaning then it would have by itself. For example, the verb look has a different meaning from the phrasal verb look up.
Examples of common phrasal verbs: call up, find out, hand in, make up, put off, turn on, write up.