Verb: Definition & Types

A word or combination of words that is used to highlight any action of a living being or condition is denoted as a verb. It is an important part of a sentence that informs us about the action that the subject is performing. Verbs can be considered as the core part of English sentences.







Verbs are linked to a lot of other terms such as subject, person, number, tense, mood, voice, etc.


Basic Forms of Verbs

Primarily there are six forms of verbs such as

Base form: People walk in the field

Infinitive: tell them not to break the glass

Past Tense: Children played soccer yesterday

Past Participle: I have eaten my pizza

Present Participle: I saw them going towards the park

Gerund: Running is the best exercise

Different Types of Verbs

  • Finite Verbs
  • Non-finite Verbs
  • Action Verbs
  • Linking Verb
  • Auxiliary Verbs
  • Modal Verbs


Finite Verbs:

Finite verbs are the only form of the verb that is performed or refers to a subject that uses twelve forms of tenses and changes according to the subject or the person referred. Finite verbs are also known as roots of the sentences.


Sara went to the park. (Subject – Sara – performed the action in the past.


Non-finite Verbs:

Non-finite verbs do not perform the function of actual verbs instead they work as nouns, adjective, adverbs etc. They are constant and do not change according to the subject or the person referred. They do not change or are flexible according to the subject as they become the subject themselves in certain conditions.


Sara went to study abroad. (Infinitives)

Playing football is his only Job. (Present Participle)

I have a broken watch. (Past Participle)

Running is a good habit. (Gerund)


Action Verbs:

A word or term that highlights the action that a subject is performing in a sentence is known as an action verb. Actions verbs allow the reader to feel the emotions accurately. There are transitive verbs and intransitive verbs.
Transitive verbs require something to be acted upon.


I painted the wall.

She is reading a novel


Intransitive verbs do not require anything to be acted upon anything.

She laughed.

I wake up at 8 AM


Linking Verb:

A linking verb is used to elaborate the details of the subject in a sentence. In simple words, it connects the subject and the action performed accurately. It serves the function of creating a link instead of depicting action.


She looks prepared for the match

The food smells yummy.

You look sad


Auxiliary Verbs:

Helping verbs are also known as auxiliary verbs that are used to show the time, tense and possibility of an action. This type of verb is used in continuous and perfect tenses.

Auxiliary verbs are: (to be), (to do) and (to have). These three verbs are irregular verbs that are conjugated as follow:

Be: was/ were: been

Do: did: done

Have: had: had

For example:

have seen her for two weeks.

didn’t write the right answer.

She was playing with her kid in the garden.


Modal Verbs:

Modal verbs are similar to auxiliary verbs as they also assist in indicating the possibility, potential, and obligation of an action. Words such as can, could, shall, will, etc. are modal verbs.

Modal verbs are:

Can: could


may:  might

ought to

shall: should

will: would.

For example:

My friends will play a match tomorrow.

could offer you would refuse.

My mother shall buy me a present for my birthday.

You must stop smoking.

She might get punished.


It is also worth telling that modal verbs also function as auxiliary verbs.

For example:

They will travel tomorrow.  (future simple tense)