The English Verb

Verbs in English

A verb in syntax is a part of speech which conveys

  1. action (bring, read, walk, run, learn)
  2. or state of being (exist, stand)

Sentences in English have a main verb which is stated in a tense (simple present, simple past, simple future...)


Verbs are inflected, modified in form, when conjugated. For example, verbs take s, ed or ing in some of its forms depending on the tense and the subject-verb agreement.


In English a verb may agree with the person and number of its subject. For example, verbs take s in the third person singular of the simple present:

Bare Infinitive Third Person Singular
play he she it plays
work he, she, it works

When the verb to have conjugates in the third person singular of the simple present, the right inflection is has NOT haves

The verb to be has different inflections:

to be
I am
he, she, it is
we, you, they are

Transitive or intransitive verbs

Verbs can be classified according to whether they are transitive or intransitive verbs:

  • Intransitive: the verb only has a subject.
    For example:
    he runs - it falls.
  • Transitive: the verb has a subject and a direct object.
    For example:
    she speaks English - we visit him.

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