2.13: Verbs: Introduction and Overview
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Introduction to Verbs
The verb is the core (center, foundation) for the English sentence. We cannot have a sentence without a verb. When trying to decide if a sentence is complete and correct, we usually look for the verb first. Verbs are so important, we can even have sentences that are only one word--the verb...
Some people say the verb is the part of the sentence that shows an action. Do all of these words show action?
In fact, these words are nouns (tornado, wave) and an adjective (windy), even though they show activity
Which of these words show action? Which are verbs?
All these words are verbs. Some are about activity (show, laugh) and some are not (think, understand)
So what makes a word a verb?
- A verb shows tense (time)
- Future--will fly
- A verb shows aspect
- Simple--flew, flies
- Continuous--is flying, was flying
- Perfect--has flown, had flown
Verbs in Past Tense
One way to decide if a word is a verb is to look at the changes you can make to the word. Can you add -ed for past? Does the word change to show past tense?
Which of these words can show past tense by changing form or adding -ed?
- Tornado (noun--no change)
- Windy (adjective--no change)
- Think (verb--thought)
- Understand (verb--understood)
- Show (verb--showed)
- Laugh (verb--laughed)
- Wave (noun--no change)
- Fly (verb--flew)
Verbs use auxiliaries to make questions and negatives and to show different voices and aspects. The auxiliaries are: "be," "do," and "have," plus modals. "Do," "be," and "have" can also change tense...
- Do, does, did
- Have, has, had
- Be, am, is, are, was, were
We use "do" to make questions and negatives in the simple aspect
- Simple present:
- EX: Do you want a souvenir?
- EX: I do not want a souvenir
- Simple past:
- EX: Did you visit the art museum?
- EX: I did not visit the art museum
We use "be" to make the continuous aspect
- Present continuous:
- EX: She is picnicking at the park
- EX: Are they flying a kite?
- EX: No, they aren't flying a kite
- Past continuous:
- EX: We were sunbathing at the beach
Remember, verbs in the continuous aspect always use "be." If you see -ing without "be," it's a gerund
We use "have" to make the perfect aspect
- Present perfect:
- EX: Have you visited downtown San Diego?
- EX: That family has immigrated to El Cajon
- Past perfect:
- EX: We had already seen the zoo
Now that you know what a verb is, try finding the verb in these sentences
- The weather today is cool and breezy
- East County, San Diego offers activities like hiking, camping, and mountain-biking
- Last week, we went to the zoo and the park
- Immigrants contribute many cultural benefits to our community
- Julian, CA, has a variety of restaurants
- The verb is "is"
- The verb is "offers"
- The verb is "went"
- The verb is "contribute"
- The verb is "has"