Sunteți pe pagina 1din 19

VERBS

Verbs have traditionally been defined as words that show action or state of being.

been defined as words that show action or state of being. Verbs can also sometimes be

Verbs can also sometimes be recognized by their position in a sentence.

In the following two sentence frames, only a verb can be put into the empty slot.

NOUN

(verb)

THERE

NOUN

(verb)

Often, prefixes and suffixes (affixes) will signify that a word is a verb. For example, the suffixes -ify, -ize, -ate, or -en usually signify that a word is a verb, as in typify, characterize, irrigate, and sweeten. Prefixes such as be-, de-, or en- may signify that a word is a verb, as in bestow, dethrone, and encourage.

These affixes, often inconsistent from verb to verb, are called derivational affixes. Added to a word, they either change the word's part of speech

Example:

. Added to a word, they either change the word's part of speech Example: or change

or change the word's meaning

Example:

1

The base form of a verb is derived from the verb’s infinitive : to +

The base form of a verb is derived from the verb’s infinitive: to

+ verb

a verb is derived from the verb’s infinitive : to + verb Four suffixes consistently added

Four suffixes consistently added to a verb’s base create all forms of a verb used in all tenses:

1. creates 3rd person singular / present tense (He talks.)

-s

2. creates the present participle / used with be (He is talking.)

-ing

3. creates the simple past (He talked.)

-ed

4. creates the past participle / used with have (He has talked.)

-en

The -en verb ending used with a form of to have as an auxiliary is generally written -ed, as in has talked.

Unlike the derivational affixes, these inflectional suffixes are consistently used with all verbs, even though their form may look different from verb to verb.

Because many verbs in English are irregular; as result, their ed and/or –en endings may not follow any obvious pattern.

Examples:

 

Smith writes short stories at home. (-s ending)

Smith is writing short stories at home. (-ing ending)

(to write)

Smith wrote short stories at home. (-ed ending)

Smith has written short stories at home. (-en ending)

*

 

Jones buys a newspaper each day. (-s ending)

(to buy)

Jones is buying a newspaper today. (-ing ending)

Jones bought a newspaper yesterday. (-ed ending)

2

Jones has bought newspapers every day. (-en ending)

*

Students go to the library often. (-s ending)

(to go)

Students are going to the library often. (-ing ending)

Students went to the library often. (-ed ending)

Students have gone to the library often. (-en ending)

The majority of verbs are regular and consistently use -ed and -en to form their simple past tense and past participles. (e.g. talked, has talked)

Many verbs are irregular, however, and follow no consistent pattern in creating their -ed and/or -en forms. A list of the major irregular verbs is shown below.

Present

Past (-ed form)

Past Participle (-en form)

arise

arose

arisen

ask

asked

asked

attack

attacked

attacked

A verb phrase is defined as the main verb together with all its auxiliaries (helping verbs).

Auxiliary verbs always precede the main verb.

There are two types of auxiliary verbs:

1.

Inflected auxiliary verbs:

be

have

do

2.

Modal auxiliaries

 

. Modal auxiliaries (considered more fully under FUNCTION CLASS)

present

past

no tense

will

would

must

shall

should

 

can

could

 

may

might

 

3

Examples of verb phrases:

He has taken the test.

(auxiliary has + main verb take.)

He is taking the test.

(auxiliary is + main verb take)

He did take the test.

(auxiliary do + main verb take)

He has been taking the

(auxiliaries has been + main verb take)

test.

Verbs may be divided into three types:

A. A.

Action verbs - show an action -- either physical or mental

Action verbs - show an action -- either physical or mental B. Verbs of being (forms

B. Verbs of being (forms of be - is, are, was, were, has/have/had been, will be) -

show a state of existence:

has/have/had been , will be ) - show a state of existence: C. Linking verbs -

C. Linking verbs - link a subject with its complement

D. (A subjective complement "completes" / "equals" the subject.)

E. Linking verbs: appear, taste, smell, feel, look, sound, grow, seem,

4

F. Most linking verbs can also be used a s action verbs. Action verbs may

F. Most linking verbs can also be used as action verbs.

F. Most linking verbs can also be used a s action verbs. Action verbs may be

Action verbs may be either transitive or intransitive.

A. A transitive verb is one that is followed by a direct object.

Example:

5

B. An intransitive verb is one that is NOT followed by a direct object. Example:

B. An intransitive verb is one that is NOT followed by a direct object.

Example:

is one that is NOT followed by a direct object. Example: Caution: An intransitive verb may

Caution: An intransitive verb may be followed by adjectives, adverbs, and/or prepositional phrases. As long as the verb is not followed by a noun or pronoun functioning as the direct object, the verb is intransitive.

Example:

e direct object, t he verb is intransitive . Example: NOTE: Some action verbs may be

NOTE: Some action verbs may be either transitive or intransitive.

6

Example: (left)

Example: ( left ) Another example ( read ): Verbs have three moods: indicative , imperative
Example: ( left ) Another example ( read ): Verbs have three moods: indicative , imperative

Another example (read):

Example: ( left ) Another example ( read ): Verbs have three moods: indicative , imperative
Example: ( left ) Another example ( read ): Verbs have three moods: indicative , imperative

Verbs have three moods: indicative, imperative, and subjunctive.

A. The indicative mood states a fact, asks a question, or exclaims.

7

B. The imperative mood gives a command. The subject is always "you" understood. C. The

B. The imperative mood gives a command. The subject is always "you" understood.

a command. The subject is always "you" understood. C. The subjunctive mood occurs in two instances:

C. The subjunctive mood occurs in two instances:

1. The sentence indicates a situation contrary to fact.

1. The sentence indicates a situation contrary to fact. 2. The sentence *shows a wish, desire,

2. The sentence *shows a wish, desire, or demand *in a nominal clause beginning with that *following verbs such as desire, demand, request, suggest

that *following verbs such as desire, demand, request, suggest There are theoretically 5 forms of the

There are theoretically 5 forms of the verb in English:

8

   

We like pizza

 

V

("no-s" form)

I eat pizza

I am/ they are hungry.

Vs

("s"-form)

He likes pizza. She eats pizza. He is hungry.

(simple present)

Ved

("past" form)

They liked pizza. She ate pizza. He was/they were hungry.

(simple past)

   

liking

 

Ving

( "-ing form" or present participle)

eating

being

   

liked

Vdtn

( past participle)

eaten

been

For most verbs the "no-s" form and the simple form are identical in form. All verbs form the "s-form" and the "ing-form" predictably from this simple form. For "regular" verbs, the past and past participle forms are the same, and are formed by adding "ed" to the simple form. So, if you learn the spelling rules for adding "s" "ed" and "ing" to the simple form of verbs, and memorize three forms of "irregular" verbs:

the simple form * * the past form * * the past participle

you will be able to form all of the verb forms. (test yourself here).

(For a few verbs, the "no-s", "simple", past, and past participle are all the same! The verb be has two different "no-s" forms, a different simple form, and two different past forms.)

The Verb Phrase

The verb phrase (VP) in English has a noticeably different structure, since the information it carries about mood, tense, modality, aspect, and voice is quite different from the information carried by a noun phrase. The verb phrase has two functional parts,

the auxiliary, a grammatical morpheme carrying information about mood, tense, modality, and voice; and the main verb, a lexical morpheme carrying its lexical information and, usually, an inflection.

9

The mood system in English is divided into four subcategories. The indicative mood 'indicates;' that

The mood system in English is divided into four subcategories.

mood system in English is divided into four subcategories. The indicative mood 'indicates;' that is, it

The indicative mood 'indicates;' that is, it conveys to the listener/reader that the speaker/writer is making a statement, referring to the real world in an honest, direct, relevant way. The majority of our expressions are indicative in mood. Speakers signal the indicative mood by using word order: when the auxiliaries take their "usual" position following the 'subject,' we interpret the clause as being in the indicative mood.

The interrogative mood signals the speakers' desire for information, that they are asking a question, that they are 'interrogating' the listeners. The interrogative is marked by starting a clause with an auxiliary verb or an interrogative pronoun.

(1) Can Liz do that?

(2) What will Liz do?

The imperative mood express the speakers' sense of a command, request, or exhortation - an imperative. Speakers signal the imperative mood by using a base form of the verb in clause-initial position.

(3) Do that!

(4) Be here by 8:00 pm.

10

The subjunctive mood express the speakers' sense of the unlikely, a wish, a prayer, a hope. The subjunctive describes the state of affairs as speakers wish or hope them to be. It describes hypothetical situations, "some other world," the irreal. Speakers signal the subjunctive by beginning subordinate clauses with an auxiliary or by using subordinators that overtly mark hypothetical conditions.

(5) Had I known you were coming, I'd have baked a cake.

(6) If I were a millionaire, I'd endow an award in your honor.

The subjunctive is also marked in the verb phrase by the use of subject-verb concord, as in (6), where the singular subject I is matched with the plural verb were. Base forms of verbs can also signal the subjunctive.

(7) I suggest that Ms. Jones reconsider her decision.

(8) The administration insists that no one be exempted from the placement exams.

Finally, the base form is also used in several older, formulaic subjunctive expressions that have survived in the modern language.

(9) God save the King.

(10) Heaven forbid it should snow again.

Tense systems mark time. Tense is an inflection on the verb that indicates the time reference of the expression. In English, tense is marked on the first verb of the verb phrase. All verbs marked for tense are called 'finite' verbs, while verb forms that do not carry a tense inflection (such as participles) are called 'nonfinite' verbs.

English has two tenses, really. On most English verbs, the -s inflection marks the present tense, and the -ed inflection marks the past tense. Verbs using both the -s and -ed forms are known as 'regular' verbs in that those verbs employ the most common, most 'productive' inflection to mark time, as in helps/helped, hopes/hoped, loves/loved. 'Irregular verbs,' on the other hand, fall into seven subcategories, employing a number of inflections (such as -en for the participle inflection as in written, taken, stolen) or in some classes employing no participle inflections at all (such as put or cut as in Liz cuts the cake/Liz cut the cake/Liz has cut the cake).

It is really better to refer to the present tense in English as the 'nonpast,' since English uses the present tense to refer to many different time frames. Consider the sentences below, for example, where all the verbs are marked for the present tense, but the time reference varies considerably from example to example:

(11) Emily is tired today.

(12) Emily is leaving soon.

11

(13) Emily is clever.

Sentence (11) indeed does refer to the present time frame, but sentence (12) seems to refer to the near future, although it is marked for "present" tense. Sentence (13) is altogether different: its time frame is expansive, referring to the past, present, and future simultaneously.

What people commonly call the 'future' in English is really part of the modality system of the language. English speakers use modal auxiliary verbs (like will) or phrasal verbs (like is going to - often phonologically reduced to gonna) to refer to the future.

The modality system expresses the speakers' sense of obligation, volition, probability, permission, and ability. Modality is signaled by the use of a modal auxiliary verb and the use of a base verb, modal + base.

(14) Liz {must/should} go. ("obligation")

(15) Liz will stop that immediately! ("volition")

(16) Liz {may/might} go. ("probability")

(17) Liz {can/may} go. ("permission")

(18) Liz {can/could} do it ("ability")

The modal will also expresses a 'future' sense.

(19) Liz will do it tomorrow. ("future")

The modality system also includes a class of auxiliary verbs called semi-auxiliaries (or semi- modals or quasi-modals). These idiomatic verbs and phrasal verbs express modal (and sometimes aspectual) meaning. They often (but not always) take the form of BE+PARTICIPLE+to. These semi-auxiliaries resemble auxiliaries in that they have some equivalence of meaning. Syntactically, the semi-auxiliaries are a mixed group. The semi- auxiliaries starting with be do not need do-support in negation or question formation, but most of the others do employ do-support for those syntactic processes. (See the discussion of do- support below.)

12

Aspect signals either the completion or the continuation of the process indicated by the verb

Aspect signals either the completion or the continuation of the process indicated by the verb in English. The perfect aspect expresses the speakers' sense of completion, the speakers' sense that the process expressed by the verb has been "perfected," to use the older sense of the word. The perfect aspect is signaled by the use of a form of the auxiliary have and the -ed participle, have + V-ed. (Remember that some verbs are irregular, with irregular participle forms.)

(20) Liz has gone already.

The progressive aspect expresses the speakers' sense that the process expressed by the verb continues, covers a period of time, and is in some way relevant to the present moment. The progressive aspect is signaled by the use of a form of the auxiliary be and the -ing participle, be + V-ing.

(21) Liz is doing the best work ever.

Voice systems allows speakers to view the action of the sentence in different ways without changing the facts involved. English has two voices, active and passive. In the examples below, it is possible to see the event from the perspective of the 'agent' (the conscious "doer" of the action - that is active voice), as in (22), or from the perspective of the 'goal' (the "receiver" of the action - that is passive voice), as in (23).

(22) Liz encourages Emily. (active)

(23) Emily is encouraged by Liz. (passive)

The passive voice is signaled by the use of a form of be and the -ed participle, be + V-ed.

13

Lastly, English also employs the verb do to function as a supporting auxiliary in verb phrases that require an auxiliary for certain grammatical processes but which lack some other auxiliary already discussed. Consider (24) for example where it would be impossible to signal the interrogative mood without the support of the do auxiliary, as in (25).

(24) Emily sleeps well at night.

(25) Does Emily sleep well at night?

To signal the interrogative mood, remember, the auxiliary verb occurs in clause-initial position. However, if the clause has not auxiliary verb, as (24) does not, then do-support provides the necessary auxiliary, as in (25). Notice too that do has all the hallmarks of an auxiliary: not only does it occur in clause-initial position as other auxiliaries do in the interrogative mood, but it also is marked for tense like all first verbs in the finite English verb phrase.

Another way to illustrate some of the relationships between form and function in the verb phrase is presented in the table below.

Some Examples of the Verb Phrase in English

the table below. Some Examples of the Verb Phrase in English FUNCTION Auxiliaries Main Verb (a)

FUNCTION

Auxiliaries

Main Verb

(a) do believe E (b) can go X (c) may have gone A (d) is
(a)
do
believe
E
(b)
can
go
X
(c)
may
have
gone
A
(d)
is
going
M
(e)
has
been
waiting
P
(f)
might
have
been
waiting
L
(g)
were
hired
E
(h)
are
being
hired
S
(i)
should
be
trying
(j)
might
have
been
being
interviewed
FORM
Modal
Perfect Progressive Passive Auxiliary Support Main Verb

There are three times that can be indicated by verb tenses in English:

present (or "non-past" -- the "default" time)

past

future

14

These times refer to the relationship of the "story" to the speaker (or writer).

There are three "aspects" that can be expressed:

simple (the "default" aspect -- the time of focus)

perfect (completion -- before the time of focus)

progressive (or continuous) (duration -- in progress at the time of focus) (one verb phrase can indicate both perfect and progressive aspect)

These aspects refer to the relationship between the events inside the "story."

The auxiliary shows the time (and number) and the combination of the auxiliary and the verb form show the aspect.

This topic could be discussed under ellipsis or substitution

A pro-form is a word, substituting for other words, phrases, clauses, or sentences, whose meaning is recoverable

from the linguistic or extralinguistic context.

The purpose of this section is draw attention to the use of words as replacements for other words and expressions.

A pro-form is a word that replaces a previously mentioned word or expression (or idea) and takes its meaning.

Pro-forms have a similar function to pronouns (which are pro-forms). Strictly speaking, however, a pronoun is a word that stands for a noun. Conventially, pronouns are considered to stand for groups of words including

sentences and even for ideas, inferred from the text. It is sometimes useful, however, to be aware that some words stand for other parts of speech. For instance.

Bob ran in the marathon. Betty did too.

In the sentence above, did means ran. Clearly, did isn't a pronoun (it replaces a verb), although it has the

substituting quality of pronouns. We can think of did as a pro-verb. The word too is also a pro-form replacing in the marathon, and adding the normal adverb too, meaning in addition to the previously mentioned (Bob).

Pro-nouns:

A pro-noun is a word that substitutes for a noun. All pro-nouns are pronouns, but some pronouns are not pro-

nouns. For instance:

My neighbour'cat was unwell. This made me feel sad.

The pronoun this refers to the previous sentence, and is a pro-sentence, not a pro-noun.

Pro-verbs:

The most common pro-verb is do.

They speak too groups. I do too.

Where do replaces speak.

Jack could lift heavy weights. So could Mary.

15

We can consider could in the second sentence to mean could lift. In the second sentence could is a pro-verb. However, in the meaning, could lift, could is a normal verb: it does not stand for another word. A word acting as

a pro-form is sometimes repeated in the meaning in its normal form. The word so is also a pro-form replacing heavy weights. We could have written the sentence, using too instead of so, like this:

Jack could lift heavy weights. Mary could too.

Where could is similarly a pro-veb meaning could lift. The word too is also a pro-form meaning lift heavy weights (too), where the repeated word too is an adverb of manner.

He is flying to America. I may too.

The word may is a pro-verb in the above sentence.

Pro-adjectives:

Her dress is green. Mine is too.

The word too is a pro-adjective, standing for the adjective green. Again we could have written the sentence using so instead of too:

Her dress is green. So is mine.

Where so is a pro-adjective meaning green.

Pro-adverbs:

He exercised regularly. I did too.

The word too stands for regularly, so it is a pro-adverb. (did stands for exercised, and is a pro-verb).

Jo did the work well. Bill did it similarly.

The word similarly stands for well, and is a pro-adverb.

Other pro-forms:

Pro-forms can replace other expressions, such as sentences:

You should not walk on the grass. Fido did not heed this.

The word, this, stands for 'the rule about not walking on the grass'.

They can refer to paragraphs, etc:

She had been let out of jail. She was violent and would attack without a thought. She carried a pistol and a knife, and would not hesitate to use them. She was a psychopath.

I did not know this when I told her to leave for disobeying the rules.

The word 'this' stands for the preceding paragraph.

16

Sentences in English can be assertive or non-assertive. Non-assertive sentences include questions and negative statements. The affinity between questions and negation, as opposed to assertion, can be seen syntactically in the fact that the former require do and any instead of some in sentences like

He gave her some advice (assertion) He did not give her any advice (negation, non-assertion) Did he give her any advice? (question, non-assertion)

There are a number of words--primarily some and its compounds--which have special non-assertive forms (i.e. primarily any and its compounds) that are used in

nonassertive (interrogative and negative) sentences.

Often, though not always, there is also a negative form that can be used as an alternative to a negative verb and a non-assertive form. Here is a slightly expanded list of examples given by Quirk et al. (1972:§7.44), showing the base sentence as a) assertion, b) negation with non-assertive form, c) negation with negative form, and d) question:

la) We've had some lunch lb) We haven't had any lunch lc) We have had no lunch ld) Have we had any lunch?

5a) I've bought something for you 5b) I haven't bought anything for you 5c) I've bought nothing for you 5d) Have I bought anything for you?

Dynamic verbs

There are many types of dynamic verbs, but most of them describe activities or events which can begin and finish. Here are some examples:

play

melt

play melt hit activity process momentary action She plays tennis every Friday. She's playing tennis right

hit

activity

process

momentary

action

She plays tennis every Friday. She's playing tennis right now.

The snow melts every spring. The snow is melting right now.

When one boxer hits another, brain damage can result. (This suggests only ONE punch.) When one boxer is hitting another, brain damage can result. (This suggests MANY repeated punches.)

only ONE punch.) When one boxer is hitting another, brain damage can result. (This suggests MANY

Dynamic verbs, as you can see from the table above, can be used in the simple and perfect forms (plays, played, has played, had played) as well as the continuous or progressive forms (is playing, was playing, has been playing, had been playing).

17

Stative verbs

Stative verbs usually refer to a state or condition which is quite static or unchanging. They can be divided into verbs of perception or cognition (which refer to things in the mind), or verbs of relation (which describe the relationships between things). Here are some examples:

Stative.Verb

Type

Examples I hate chocolate.

hate

perception

believe

perception

She believes in UFOs.

contain

relation

The box contains 24 cans of soda.

own

relation

Yong owns three motorbikes.

Note that we CANNOT use these verbs in the continuous (progressive) forms; you CAN'T say "*Yong is owning three cars." Owning is a state, not an action, so it is always in the simple form.

Simply put, dynamic verbs are those can occur with progressive aspect (in continuous tenses), while stative verbs cannot.

Dynamic verbs are, for example, go, run, watch. "He was running down the street."

Stative verbs: forgive, desire, know, etc. Stative verbs are mainly verbs of "inert perception and cognition", and "relational verbs" (intend, concern, possess)

Stative

Dynamic

love

eat

hate

drink

like

go

see

type

hear

read

sound

write

think (meaning "have an opinion")

listen

mind (meaning "care about")

speak

recognize

watch

seem

say

have (meaning "own")

grow

prefer

work

doubt

sleep

consist of

cook

mean

talk

English verbs come in several forms. For example, the verb to sing can be: to sing, sing, sang, sung, singing or sings. This is a total of 6 forms. Not many, considering that some languages (French, for example) have more than 30 forms for an individual verb. English tenses may be quite complicated, but the forms that we use to make the tenses are actually very simple! With the exception of the verb to be, English main verbs have only 4,

18

5 or 6 forms. To be has 9 forms. Do not confuse verb forms with tenses. We use the different verb forms to make the tenses, but they are not the same thing.

In this lesson we look at the forms of main verbs and helping (auxiliary) verbs, followed by a quiz to check your understanding:

Main verbs except the verb ‘be’ have only 4,5 or 6 forms. ‘Be’ has 9 forms.

Main verbs are also called lexical verbs.

19