General Education: English – Verbs

General Education: English – Verbs

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Oftentimes. Verbs are defined as action words. But reality, verbs are far more than that. Verbs also link ideas in a sentence, help other verbs, and state conditions. We can classify verbs into (1) verbs actions, (2) linking/be verbs, (3) helping verbs, (4) emphatic verbs,  and of course, (5) modals.


Action Verbs

These are verbs that express action. A majority of verbs are of this nature, and that is why most of the time, learners tend to define verbs as action words. Words like run, walk, talk, sing, dance, etc. are common examples of action verbs. We can further classify actions verbs into two more sub classifications-Regular and Irregular verbs

Regular verbs

Action verb is considered regular if its past form is derived by adding d or ed. Let us take the word walk for an example; the past form of walk is walked.


Watch Watched
Bake Baked
Pick Picked
Save Saved


Irregular verbs

Action verb is considered irregular if its past form is derived not by adding d or ed, but through a change or through retention in spelling.


Pay Paid
Put Put
Say Said
write Wrote


Linking verbs


Linking Verbs as Copula

The copula is defined by Celce-Muricia as the link between the subject and non verbal predicates ( nouns, adjectives, and some adverbials). The copula also carries the tense and would determines subject-verb agreement.



She is beautiful—She is a pronoun, and beautiful is an adjective.

She is beautiful—She is singular, that is why we used “is”


Linking Verbs as Perception Corpulas

These  are verbs that expresses no action, but at the same time, are not conventional ( is, are, was, were) linking verbs. They are called Perception copulas because they are perceived through the senses ( mental or sensory)



Appear                        Seem                    Feel                      Look

Smell                          Sound                   Taste


Linking Verb as State Copulas

State copulas are verbs that are not locomotive. They are more of a condition than an action.



Lie                               Remain

Rest                             Stand


Linking Verbs as Change of State Copulas

These linking verbs do not express instant locomotion or movement. Mostly, these verbs express changes from one state to another.



Become                    Come          Fall

Get                             Go               Grow  



These are also called helping verbs because they always appear with another verb in a sentence ( main verb). Linking  verbs such as is, was, were, are considered auxiliary verbs if they appear together with a for a s verb in progressive form. Other helping verbs are has, have, and had.


The verb has is used for singular subjects in the present tense. The verb “have” is used for plural subjects in the present tense, and had is used doe both singular and plural subjects in the past tense. Has, have and had, are also considered Auxiliary verbs if they appear in a sentence with another verb( main verb) in the past participal form.



She has taken a bath already                                       the verb”has” functions as an auxiliary


Emphatic Verbs


Emphatic verb are used to give certain emphasis. These verbs are do, does, and did. Do is used for plural subjects in the present tense. DOES is used for singular subjects in the present tense, and DID for both plural and singular in the past tense.


The verbs, DO,DOES, and DID can also be used as main verbs. They are only considered em phatic verbs if they appear in a sentence with another verb in its base form.



She did not drink her milk                          —– DID is used as an emphatic verb



According to Celece-Muria, modals are helping verbs that are used to give a proposition. A degree of probability, to express one’s attitude, and to perform various social functions such as expressing politeness or indirectness when making request, giving advice, or grabting permission. It is always couples with a verb on its base form.


  1. Stating Ability

I can do anything


  1. Expressing Regret

I should have loved you

  1. Giving warning

You may be in danger


  1. Expressing Admission with Reservation

I might be wrong, but I know what I did


  1. Expressing observation

You must do this

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