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THERE are three families of verbs. The most familiar one is the type referred to as action words.

Types of verbs

A verb can express any one of the following ideas:

  • Action verb: "to do" or "doing"
  • State-of-being verb: "to be" or "being"
  • Helper verb (to action verb or state-of-being verb): eg "may", "should", "will".

These three main ideas essentially describe three groups or families of verbs.

Main verbs

Both action verbs and state-of-being verbs may stand alone and be the main verb in a sentence:

  • We are teaching you about main and helper verbs. ("are"-helping verb, "teaching"-main verb)
  • We are at Tower 2 of Suntec City. ("are" is the main verb)
Action verbs that imply "to do" or "doing"

Basically, these verbs are words that imply action. Common examples include:

  • to do
  • to drink
  • to work
  • to sleep
  • to read
  • to play
  • to help
  • to open
  • to shut
  • to write.
Practice: Which is the action verb?

1. The dog quickly leaped over the bushy hedge.

2. Helena ran as fast as she could to the store.

3. John and Tommy carried the heaviest load of bricks.

4. The flood started in the basement from a leaky pipe.

5. The moon revolves around the earth every 29.5 days.

6. He walks daily to the store to get milk.

7. Look at those fireworks!

8. The goats brayed for most of the afternoon.

9. The dog ran after the postman.

10. The new citizens stood up to recite the National Pledge.

Practice: Which is NOT an action verb?

1. fly, but, leap, shout

2. giggle, walk, up, cut

3. steer, on, drive, shoot

4. carry, run, frown, must

5. out, went, change, laugh

6. called, cried, being, combed

7. brushed, am, ride, eat

8. slept, fell, talked, be

9. were, moaned, screamed, gasped

10. tried, wanted, was, leaped




Related articles

State-of-being verbs

Helper verbs

Introduction to grammar