Easy Learning English

Types of main verb - Easy Learning Grammar

Verbs of action

Most verbs describe an action such as walking, running, or reading.
  • John is running for the train.
  • Sophie has just bought a new camera.
  • She is putting on an exhibition of her photographs.
  • Robbie has seen the film already.
When we need a verb to describe a new activity, we can either invent a new word, or we can adapt other parts of speech.
  • You can use your phone to access the internet.
  • Action verbs can be expressed in all the tenses.

Verbs of state

Some verbs are used to talk about states of being or states of mind.These include:
  • verbs relating to the senses, e.g. feel, hear, see, smell, taste
  • verbs relating to emotions, e.g. adore, fear, hate, like, love, want, wish
  • verbs relating to mental activity, e.g. agree, believe, expect, forget, mean
  • verbs relating to possession, e.g. belong, own, possess
  • I feel unhappy.
  • I hate arguments.
  • These flowers smell gorgeous.
  • Rob wishes he hadn’t agreed to the plan.
  • We mean you no harm.
  • That car belonged to us once.
  • Verbs of state are not usually used in continuous tenses. When they are used in continuous tenses, they change their meaning.
  • I’m just feeling to see if the bone is broken.
  • We were tasting some interesting New Zealand wines.
  • Naomi is expecting a baby.
There are some uses of the verb be that allow you to choose between a state or an action meaning. The word used as the complement makes an important difference.
Mark is being sillybut not Mark is being tall.
Oscar is being nastybut not Oscar is being intelligent.
The verb seem has a limited number of adjectives that can be used as its complement.
Simon seems happybut not Simon seems tall.

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