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M1 What Is A Verb

Lesson One

What is a verb?

A verb is a word that shows an action or a state of existence. Verbs are also used when making an action negative and when asking questions.

  • Mary works during the week. (action)
  • She doesn’t work on Sunday. (negative action)
  • Does she work on Saturday? (question)
  • Bob is 45 years old. (existence)
  • He isn’t very old. (negative)
  • How old are you? (question)

It’s possible to communicate in English without verbs, but you can’t say much:

  • Hey!
  • Yo!
  • Dude!    These are not verbs.
  • Yes.
  • Maybe.

On the other hand, it is possible to communicate in English using only verbs. These sentences (the subject is "you") express action:

  • Stop!
  • Don’t go.
  • Get!  These are verbs.
  • Wait.
  • Don’t.

The verb "be" is the most important verb to understand when you study English. It expresses existence:

  • I am a teacher.
  • You are tired.
  • She’s a student.    The verb "be"
  • We’ll be there soon.
  • Be good!

Sometimes teachers will say that the verb "be" is an example of a linking verb. A linking verb connects a subject with an adjective or a noun:

  • They are happy.
  • He is the teacher.    "be" = linking verb
  • I am a teacher.

Every sentence or clause has a main verb. The main verb is just one verb. It shows action or existence:

  • Is that a good idea?
  • He didn’t find a job.
  • We don’t have time.       main verbs
  • You should exercise.
  • Will they leave soon?

Some verbs, known as "helping verbs," change the meaning or the tense of the main verb:

  • Do you have a car?
  • She didn’t find a job.
  • He is working.          helping verbs
  • You should learn English.
  • Will they leave soon?

Watch this video:


Try this exercise. Where are the verbs in these sentences and questions?

 Example: She is a student.   is   

  1. They are here. _______

 2. Who wants some pizza? ________

  3. Do you know the answer? ________ ________

  4. It’s getting late. ________ _________

 5. Can you play the piano? ________ ________

 6. That looks like fun.   _________

  7. We didn’t see that movie yet. _______ ________

  8. It’s going to be a long day. ______ _______ _____ _____

 9. They have to go. ______ ______ ______

10. Wait. ________

Answers are below.


Next: Lesson Two

Answers: 1. are; 2. wants; 3. Do….know; 4. is getting; 5. Can…play;

6. looks; 7. did see; 8. is going to be; 9. have to go; 10. Wait

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