- Regular and irregular verbs
- Action and state verbs
- Auxiliary verbs and main verbs
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There are several types of verbs in English with different use and forms.
Regular and irregular verbs
The past tense and past participle of English verbs can be regular (started - started) and irregular (gave - given). The past participle is used in perfect tenses and the passive voice.
I started to play tennis when I was eleven.
The show hasn't started yet.
I gave my daughter golden earrings.
She was given a lot of presents for her birthday.
List of regular English verbs with spelling changes (dry - dried, stop - stopped...).
List of irregular English verbs in the past tense and past participle (do - did - done...).
Action and state verbs
The action verb expresses some activity or event and can be used in the simple and continuous.
I watch some sports on TV nearly every day.
I was watching tennis at 10 o'clock.
The state verbs are not usually used in the continuous. If we use them in the continuous, they change their meaning.
I have a new shower in my bathroom.
I am having a shower. I can't pick up the phone.
Read more: English verbs: action and state Verbs used in continuous tenses.
See also: English verb tenses A quick review of all English tenses.
Auxiliary (or helping) verbs
They combine with main verbs to help them express some grammatical meaning. The auxiliary verbs in English are: be, do, have and also modal auxiliary verbs (see below).
I am flying to Barcelona next week.
Where did you buy such a delicious pizza?
I have never eaten such a delicious dessert.
Auxiliary verb to be
The English verb to be is the most common auxiliary (helping) verb in English. It is used to form continuous tenses and the passive voice.
Josh has been living in Italy for a year now.
Your parcel will be delivered tomorrow.
Be + infinitive is used to express some special meanings.
Mr. Clark is to arrive in fifteen minutes.
The show was about to start when we sat down.
Read more: English verbs: auxiliary verb to be
Compare: English verbs: linking verb to be
Modal auxiliary verbs
Modal auxiliary verbs combine with main verbs and are used for various meanings: ability, possiblity, probability, certainty, permission, prohibition, obligation, opinion, speculation, etc. Unlike other verbs, they do not change to form different tenses. All modal verbs can refer to the present or future and some of them can refer to the past.
I can help you with the heavy bag now.
I can come tomorrow. Will you be at home?
I could go there because I had a permission.
Read more: Modal verbs in English
Most English verbs are main verbs. They have their own meaning, because they describe an action or a state (read more about action and state verbs below).
I study English grammar.
You will need new shoes in winter.
This house belonged to my grandmother.
I have always wanted to work at a hotel.
Some main verbs are used as linking verbs. They connect the subject of a sentence with further information about the subject.
You look pretty in the new dress.
Not all our dreams come true.
Linking verb to be
The most common linking verb is the verb to be. It is used to express the existence of a person or thing, describe a subject, express a state, age, size, weight, etc.
We were in Barcelona last week.
Terry is my best friend.
Verb to be Present simple Affirmative, negative and question forms.
Verb to be Past simple Affirmative, negative and question forms.
English verb to be: all forms Verb to be in all tenses and forms.