The part of speech which contains words like see, arrive, sleep, discuss, ask, play, can and take off. Verbs are distinguished from other parts of speech by a number of properties.

1. A verb can be marked for tense.

  • I write a letter.
  • She writes a letter.
  • I wrote a letter.

2. A verb can be preceded by an auxiliary verb.

  • I am writing a letter.
  • I have written a letter.

3. A verb can form a gerund.

  • Smoking is injurious to health.
  • I like reading.

4. A verb can form a participle.

  • I have been working.
  • I have worked.

Most verbs refer to actions or states. Verbs are divided into two groups: lexical verbs and auxiliaries. Lexical verbs are further divided into intransitive and transitive verbs.

Transitive verbs

A label applied to a verb that can have an object.

Examples are: sing, write, read, sink, ring, want, need etc.

Some verbs are always transitive and produce an ungrammatical result if used without an object. Among these are destroy, assassinate, want and trigger.

  • Alice wants a new car.
  • The Mongols destroyed Kiev.

Many other verbs can be either transitive or intransitive.


Any verb that does not take an object is an intransitive verb. Examples are: sit, sleep etc.

Manjusha Nambiar

Hi, I am Manjusha. This is my blog where I give English grammar lessons and worksheets.

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