What's a Verb

Updated Aug 17, 2021

What’s a verb?

By Matthew

Verbs are most typically the action words in a sentence.

More formally we may define verbs as: A word we may use to describe an event, action, or state which typically serves as the predicate of the entire sentence.

For example, if you say, “He ran to the store,” “ran” is the verb and describes the main action of the sentence. If, however, you said, “His run to the store is fast,” “run” acts as a noun, and “was” is the main verb, dislocating the verb from the action. In this particular case, “is” is considered a helping verb that is stative, that is, it expresses a state of being rather than a direct action. So is is a verb, generally speaking? Yes, is is a verb always, but it is a verb that describes a snapshot in time rather than a dynamic action. Is are a verb as well? Certainly, the same applies for all verbs in the family of the “to be” verb or “is verb”, which include ‘was,’ ‘were,’ ‘are,’ ‘is,’ ‘be,’ and ‘been.’

Verb examples: Action Verbs






Verb examples: The is verb, or linking verb







Verb examples: The Gerund

A gerund is a verb that functions as a noun.

Do you perceiving his exploiting the situation?

Do you mind my advising her in her affairs?

Gerunds are useful for harnessing the abstraction that would normally be packed into an action verb, so we can use another action verb to take it as an object (i.e. the above action verbs “perceiving” and “advising”).

Verb examples: The Infinitive

The infinitive form of a verb is its root form, lacking any tense or subject commanding it.

Mark wants to ride in a golf cart.

Julio likes to think about college.

Satesh chooses to work hard.

How to find verbs in a sentence.

Typically, verbs appear close to their subject, as in the sentence, “She earns money,” where ‘She’ is the subject and ‘earns’ is the verb. In English, as in many other languages, you need to have subject verb agreement, which means that ‘she’ must be in agreement with ‘earns.’ There would not be subject verb agreement if the sentence were written as “She earn money,” since “she” would not agree with “earn.” To ensure that all your sentences use verbs correctly, be sure to use our paraphrasing tool, which also serves as a state of the art grammar checker.

To learn more, check out this paraphrase how to guide; it's always good to see examples of paraphrase, so you know what to expect.