All You Need To Know About Verbs - With Examples

Can you sing or dance? Do you exist? Have you ever wondered how the world began? Well, even if none of these questions resonate with you, these are all types of verbs.

Verbs are essential to the English language and important when learning English as a foreign language. They indicate actions, occurrences, and states of being and are used in almost every independent clause or simple sentence.

Verbs, like almost any grammatical structure, have different uses and aims. In their base form, verbs are called infinitives and start with the word; to.

verb examples

For example:

  • To sing
  • To dance
  • To be
  • To exist
  • To begin 
  • To call
  • To love 
  • To go

Different types of verbs can be used in the past form, present, gerund, future, or in modal form. They can also be regular or irregular, a singular verb or a plural one. But don’t worry, carry on reading and you’ll soon be a verb pro in no time!

Physical Verbs – Definition and Examples

Physical verbs are action verbs. Meaning that they demonstrate a physical action that is taking place. Anything that you can do or see physically is most likely a type of this simple verb.

Some simple sample sentences:

  • Zoe sat on the sofa.
  • I can see the train coming.
  • The boy ran to catch the bus.

Even if the action itself doesn’t seem particularly active, for example:

  • I’m going to vote in the coming elections.

It’s still a physical verb because it’s an action that is being used to demonstrate what someone is going to physically do, in this case, to vote in the coming elections.

States of Being Verbs - Definition and Examples

Verbs can also be used to express a state of being. These types of verbs are also commonly referred to as linking verbs. They define specific states of existence, where the noun is identified by who, what, why, and or how. They can be used in three different tenses; past, present, and future but will change their form depending on the type of tense.

The states of being verbs are:

  • Am
  • Is
  • Are
  • Was
  • Were
  • To Be
  • Being
  • Been

And here’s how they are used according to the tense phrase:

State Of Being Verb Verb Tense Used for Example
Am Present Tense First Person Singular (I) I am here
Is Present Tense Third Person Singular (He/She/It) He is in Italy right now.
Are Present Tense First Person Plural (We) and Second Person, Singular and Plural (You,) and Third Person Plural (They) You are an intelligent person.
Was Past Tense First Person Singular (I) and Third Person Singular (He/She/It) He/she was working yesterday.
Were Past Tense First Person Plural (We) and Third Person Plural (They) We were on holiday.
To Be Future Tense All pronouns + will / shall We will be going to France next year.
Being Past and Present Tense All Past Tense - Pronoun + is/ am/are: Present Tense - Pronoun + was/were: We were being difficult
Been Past Participle of ‘Be’.Past Tense All They have been to South America.
SOURCE: Word Tips

Sample sentences with states of being verbs:

  • I am a student.
  • He is a mechanic.
  • We are in the supermarket. 
  • She was here yesterday. 
  • Where were you last night?
  • They were at the cinema. 
  • To be afraid is to be scared of something.
  • We will be going to the concert tonight.
  • Are you being difficult again? 
  • Have you been to England?

As you can see these types of verbs can be used in questions, statements, or simply comments and they can indicate a state of being that can’t change, a future plan, or something that is true for right now, basically, they express a period of time.

Other Types of Verbs - Definition and Examples

Mental Verbs - Definition and Examples

Mental verbs are exactly that, they refer to the actions carried out by our minds and are mostly used with unprogressive tenses, meaning they don’t indicate a continuous tense or action. These verb phrases refer to things that cannot be seen unless the subject tells us.

Sample sentences with Mental Verbs:

  • I am thinking.
  • We are deciding.
  • She is expecting a parcel today.
  • They are reflecting on the decision they made.
  • He is pausing for a minute.

Transitive Verbs - Definition and Examples

Unlike mental verbs, a transitive verb needs an object in order to work and receive an action. Transitive verbs can also be used with more than one object, and this can be an indirect object or a direct one.

Sample sentences with Transitive Verbs:

  • The class discussed the pros and cons of school uniforms.
  • She borrowed my black jacket but hasn’t given it back yet.
  • Mom gave my aunty a new necklace for her birthday.
  • The charity will raise money online for the upcoming project.
  • Can you bring a potluck dish to the event tomorrow?

Intransitive Verbs - Definition and Examples

Intransitive verbs however don’t need an indirect or direct object to function, in fact using one straight after the intransitive verb will make the sentence sound weird. For example:

  • The students arrived London.

The simple sentence would be:

  • The students arrived in London.

Sample sentences with Intransitive Verbs:

  • The bus stopped.
  • The people waited for the bus.
  • The child smiled.
  • She runs alongside the river every day. 
  • The plane will take off in 30 minutes.

Auxiliary Verbs - Definition and Examples

These verbs are often described as helping verbs and they do exactly that, they aid other verbs by expressing a verb tense, mood, or voice.

Sample sentences with Auxiliary Verbs:

  • That was the best ice cream I’ve ever eaten!
  • He is a great football player
  • They might be there on time. 
  • Could you open the door?
  • Did you enjoy the concert?

Modal Verbs

You will often see and hear modal verbs without realizing it. They are verb phrases that express the ability to do something, or the possibility of it. Modal verbs are a type of auxiliary verb and therefore help the other parts of a clause.

Sample sentences with Modal Verbs:

  • I must remember to switch off the lights. 
  • She might go to the party.
  • I should speak to her more.
  • I would like to go on an adventure. 
  • I may be able to come.
  • Could you cook tonight?
  • I ought to text her back. 
  • I will let you know ASAP.
  • Can you speak Spanish?
  • I shall help you to the best of my ability.

Stative Verbs - Definition and Examples

Stative verbs are stationary, they are rarely used in the continuous form (ing) and work with unspecified time. For example, it’s not:

  • I was believing in him.

It its correct form it would be:

  • I believed him.

Sample sentences with Stative Verbs:

  • She explained it to me. 
  • I want a new school bag. 
  • I don’t mind!
  • I like my new job. 
  • I doubt that’s true.

Phrasal Verbs - Definition and Examples

Phrasal verbs take a verb and an adverb or a preposition and stick them together. Together these two words create a whole new word with a different meaning. For example the verbal phrase:

  • Breakoff

‘Break’ by itself means the destruction of something and ‘off’ is a prepositional phrase. Together, the word means the end of something, normally a relationship.

Sample words with Phrasal Verbs:

  • Carry on 
  • Come back
  • Fill up
  • Come on 
  • Hold on

Regular Verbs -  Definition and Example

Like any other language, English also has irregular and regular verbs. In the past simple and past participle, regular verbs follow the same pattern. For example with the regular verb to:

  • Walk (Infinitive)

In its correct form, it becomes:

  • Walked

With regular verbs ending in -y we add an -i + ed.

  • Marry becomes married in the past simple

With regular verbs ending in -e we add a -d.

  • Hate becomes hated.

Sample sentences with Regular Verbs:

  • I hated my teacher at school. 
  • She studied a lot. 
  • I asked him to clean his room.
  • Have you called your mom yet?
  • He was worried about his exam.

Irregular Verbs -  Definition and Example

However, irregular verbs don’t have a specific pattern and so require more memorization. For example, with the irregular verb ‘To:’

  • Run (Infinitive)

It becomes:

  • Ran

Sample sentences with Irregular Verbs:

  • They bought a car yesterday. (Buy)
  • We got the house. (Get)
  • We had pancakes for breakfast. (Have)
  • We made pizza for dinner. (Make)
  • She said she didn’t want to come. (Said)

As you can see, sometimes the verb doesn’t change from its infinitive when expressed in the past simple or past participle, but there isn’t a fast or hard rule to get around it. Irregular verbs, in general, require practice.

Present Perfect Verb Tense - Examples and Definition 

This tense phrase is normally used for actions that started in the past and are ongoing. To form the present perfect tense we use have/has + the past participle. To make regular verbs we use the same formula as above i.e: regular verbs ending in -y become -ied and regular verbs ending in -e become -d.

Sample sentences with Present Perfect Tense:

  • She has cooked dinner. 
  • We have asked for the bill.
  • They have waited a long time for this.

Simple Present Verb Tense - Examples and Definition

The simple present verb tense is normally used to talk about things that are happening now or that happen often. With most verbs we add an -s at the end, these are known as singular verbs. For example:

  • Live becomes lives
  • Sit becomes sits
  • Dance becomes dances

If the verb ends in a consonant + y we add an -ies. For example:

  • Try becomes tries
  • Marry becomes marries
  • Apply becomes applies

If a word ends in either, -s, -z, ch, or an x, we add -es. For example:

  • Buzz becomes buzzes 
  • Bus becomes buses 
  • Clutch becomes clutches 
  • Fox becomes foxes

However, there are a few exceptions for example:

  • Go becomes goes 
  • Do becomes does

Active vs. Passive Verb - Examples and Definition

Now, let's have a look at active and passive verbs. When we discuss active and passive verbs, we are really talking about voicings. Who is performing the action? Who is the subject?

Take a look at these two sample sentences:

  • The dog bit Adam.
  • Adam was bitten by the dog.

In the first example, the subject is the dog and is performing the action of biting. This sentence is written using an active voice, therefore uses 'bit,' an active verb.

In the second example, Adam is the subject and is not performing an action. So, we use the passive voice and the passive verb, 'bitten.’

Here are some more examples of active and passive verbs:

  • Active: John changed the light bulb.
    Passive: The light bulb was changed by John.
  • Active: She is going to watch a play tonight.
  • Passive: A play is going to be watched by her tonight.
  • Active: I ran the fastest lap today.
  • Passive: The fastest lap was run by me today.


See, verbs aren’t so confusing when it's broken down like this. With practice and a little hard work, you will soon be a verb connoisseur and concoct your own simple sentences in no time!

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