10.6 - Verbs

We looked at the forms of the verb previously in the lesson. In this section, we will only focus on the different types of verbs.

The following diagram shows the different types of verbs in English. Do you know what they mean? Can you think of any examples?

Types of verbs

  • Verbs can be transitive (i.e. they can be followed by an object – e.g. see somebody, eat something, write something, etc.) or intransitive (i.e. they cannot be followed by an object – e.g. happen, sleep). Many verbs can be transitive (e.g. run a business) and intransitive (she ran every morning).
  • Modal verbs are followed by the base form of the main verb. They do not take -s for the third person and they do not use auxiliaries for questions or negative forms. Examples of modal verbs are: can, should, will, must, would. Verbs such as need and dare are called semi modals as they are sometimes used as modal verbs and sometimes as normal verbs.
  • The main verb is the verb with meaning whereas the auxiliary verb is the verb that carries the grammar. For example, in the sentence: He doesn’t like going to the cinema. The main verb is ‘like’ and ‘doesn’t’ is the auxiliary verb. This auxiliary verb indicates that the verb is in the 3rd person singular, present tense and negative. 
  • In addition, reporting verbs are verbs that introduce indirect speech such as: She told me she would come or The director asked if somebody needed help. To know more about reported speech and reporting verbs, you can click here.

  • Verbs can be transitive (i.e. they can be followed by an object – e.g. see somebody, eat something, write something, etc.) or intransitive (i.e. they cannot be followed by an object – e.g. happen, sleep). Many verbs can be transitive (e.g. run a business) and intransitive (she ran every morning).
  • Modal verbs are followed by the base form of the main verb. They do not take -s for the third person and they do not use auxiliaries for questions or negative forms. Examples of modal verbs are: can, should, will, must, would. Verbs such as need and dare are called semi modals as they are sometimes used as modal verbs and sometimes as normal verbs.