ETYM French verbe, Latin verbum a word, verb. Related to Word.
1. A content word that denotes an action or a state.
2. A word that serves as the predicate of a sentence.
Grammatical part of speech for what someone or something does (to go), experiences (to live), or is (to be). Verbs involve the grammatical categories known as number (singular or plural: “He runs; they run”), voice (active or passive: “She writes books; it is written”), mood (statements, questions, orders, emphasis, necessity, condition), aspect (completed or continuing action: “She danced; she was dancing”), and tense (variation according to time: simple present tense, present progressive tense, simple past tense, and so on).
Many verbs are formed from nouns and adjectives by adding affixes (prison: imprison; light: enlighten; fresh: freshen up; pure: purify). Some words function as both nouns and verbs (crack, run), as both adjectives and verbs (clean; ready), and as nouns, adjectives, and verbs (fancy). In the sentences “They saw the accident”, “She is working today”, and “He should have been trying to meet them”, the words in italics are verbs (and, in the last case, two verb groups together); these sentences show just how complex the verbs of English can be.
Types of verb.
A transitive verb takes a direct object (“He saw the house”).
An intransitive verb has no object (“She laughed”).
An auxiliary or helping verb is used to express tense and/or mood (“He was seen”; “They may come”).
A modal verb or modal auxiliary generally shows only mood; common modals are may/might, will/would, can/could, shall/should, must.
The infinitive of the verb usually includes to (to go, to run, and so on), but may be a bare infinitive (for example, after modals, as in “She may go”).
A regular verb forms tenses in the normal way (i walk: I walked: I have walked); irregular verbs do not (swim: swam: swum; put: put: put; and so on). Because of their conventional nature, regular verbs are also known as weak verbs, while some irregular verbs are strong verbs with special vowel changes across tenses, as in swim: swam: swum and ride: rode: ridden.
A phrasal verb is a construction in which a particle attaches to a usually single-syllable verb (for example, put becoming put up, as in “He put up some money for the project”, and put up with, as in “i can’t put up with this nonsense any longer”).