A list of verbs with which you can do (or be) anything

A list of verbs, including explanations of how different types of verbs function in a sentence.

What is a verb?

By definition, a verb is the part of speech that expresses existence, action, or occurrence and serves as the predicate of a sentence. A verb is also any of the words belonging to this part of speech, such as "be," "run," "do," or "make."

1. Irregular Verbs

Irregular verbs are verbs that depart from the usual pattern of inflection, derivation, or word formation, such as the present forms of the verb "be": "am," "are," and "is." These verb conjugations are unlike those of most other verbs.

Irregular verb examples

  • break | broke | broken
  • cut | cut | cut
  • choose | chose | chosen
  • do | did | done
  • draw | drew | drawn
  • freeze | froze | frozen
  • know | knew | known
  • lose | lost | lost
  • ring | rang | rung
  • see | saw | seen
  • sing | sang | sung
  • steal | stole | stolen
  • take | took | taken
  • think | thought | thought
  • write | wrote | written

2. Linking Verbs

A linking verb is a verb, such as a form of "be," "seem," "look," or "taste," that identifies the predicate of a sentence with the subject. Linking verbs may serve to link nouns (or pronouns), as in "He became king," nouns (or pronouns) and adjectival complements, as in "Sugar tastes sweet," or nouns (or pronouns) and adverbial complements, as in "John is in jail."

Linking verb examples

I am the student body president.
I don't know George well, but he seems nice.
You look so pretty!
These cookies taste great!
We are the quiet ones in class.

3. Helping Verbs

A helping verb is a verb, such as "have," "can," or "will," that accompanies the main verb in a clause and helps to make distinctions in mood, voice, aspect, and tense. It is a verb used in construction with certain forms of other verbs, as infinitives or participles. It thus accompanies and augments the meaning of a main verb; for example, "can" in "can do." Helping verbs are also called auxiliary verbs.

Helping verb examples

I will go to the party Friday night.
She has done all of her homework.
We can help you with the chores.
They have seen that dog around here before.

4. Action Verbs

As its name suggests, an action verb shows action. It describes what the subject of the sentence is doing or what is going on.

Action verb examples

I jogged home.
The dog ate my homework.
It rained today.
We called the store to make sure it was open.
They brought us dinner.

5. Transitive Verbs

A transitive verb is a verb (or verb construction) that requires an object in order to be grammatical.

Transitive verb examples

I brought my dog to the park.
He cleaned his room before the party started.
Ann wrote her paper until three in the morning.
Because the weather was so nice, they left their coats at home

6. Intransitive Verbs

An intransitive verb is a verb (or verb construction) that does not take an object.

Intransitive verb examples

I coughed.
She jumped into the pool.
Yesterday, we walked to school.
They all sat at once.

7. Reflexive Verbs

A reflexive verb is a form of a verb in which the subject and the object are the same, for example, "He washed himself." It is a verb that takes a subject and object with identical referents, as "cut" in "I cut myself."

Reflexive verb examples

I drove myself to school today.
Did you hurt yourself carrying that heavy bag?
He embarrassed himself at the board meeting.
They bought themselves tickets to the concert.
We introduced ourselves to a lot of people at the party.

8. Phrasal Verbs

Phrasal verbs are an English verb complex consisting of a verb and one or more adverbs or prepositions and acting as a complete syntactic and semantic unit, as "look up" in "She looked up the word in the dictionary" or "She looked the word up in the dictionary." Phrasal verbs often having an idiomatic meaning not predictable from the meanings of the individual parts.

Phrasal verb examples

  • catch on
  • take off
  • show up
  • put up with
  • break down
  • run into
  • make up
Search for more phrasal verbs in the Idioms Dictionary.
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