Verbs are an important part of language. But what exactly is a verb? In this post, we\u2019ll look at the basics of verbs in English, including different verb types, verb forms, and the difference between regular and irregular verbs.\r\nWhat Is a Verb?\r\nVerbs are \u2018action words\u2019. We use them to refer to actions performed, events that happen to someone or something, and states of being:\r\n\r\n\tActions performed \u2013 run, jump, talk, cook, read, go\r\n\tEvents that happen to someone or something \u2013 rain, die, grow, become\r\n\tStates of being \u2013 have, know, like, need, think\r\n\r\nEvery complete sentence needs at least one verb to say what the subject is doing or being. For instance, we could say:\r\nKatie ran across the road.\r\nHere, the verb \u2018ran\u2019 describes the action the subject (Katie) carried out.\r\nDifferent Verb Types\r\nWe can classify verbs into one (or more) of several types. These include:\r\n\r\n\thttps:\/\/proofed.co.uk\/writing-tips\/word-choice-verb-types\/Main verbs \u2013 The verb that says what the subject is doing or their state of being is the main, principal, or lexical verb. In the example above, \u2018ran\u2019 is the main verb (i.e. the verb that tells us what Katie was doing).\r\n\tLinking verbs \u2013 A linking verb connects the subject of a sentence to a subject complement (e.g. John is bored). The subject complement is an adjective, noun, or pronoun that tells us something about the subject.\r\n\tAuxiliary verbs \u2013 Verbs that go before a main verb to form different tenses and grammatical moods (e.g. We have been here before).\r\n\tModal verbs \u2013 Verbs that help us express things like necessity, capability, permission, and probability (e.g. I should go to bed earlier).\r\n\r\nIn addition, we can divide all main verbs into transitive and intransitive verbs:\r\n\r\n\tTransitive verbs require an object (i.e. something for the verb to affect). For example, \u2018buy\u2019 is a transitive verb. This means we cannot simply say \u2018I buy\u2019. Instead, we have to say what we buy (e.g. I buy apples).\r\n\tIntransitive verbs do not require an object. For example, \u2018laugh\u2019 and 'arrive' are intransitive verbs, so they don\u2019t need an object to form a complete sentence (e.g. I laughed or We arrived).\r\n\r\nSome verbs can be either transitive or intransitive in different contexts:\r\nTransitive: He read the letter.\r\nIntransitive: I read to the class.\r\nIn the first sentence above, for example, we need the object \u2018the letter\u2019 for the sentence to make sense. In the second, though, we don\u2019t need an object to know what the sentence means because 'read' is intransitive there.\r\nA Quick Guide to Verb Forms\r\nVerbs also have different forms. For example, \u2018walk\u2019, \u2018walks\u2019, \u2018walking\u2019, and \u2018walked\u2019 are all forms of the same verb, with different forms used with different tenses. Let\u2019s take a brief look at some verb forms.\r\nThe base or root form of a verb is the form you\u2019ll see in a dictionary. It is used in the present simple tense (except for the third person singular). Examples include \u2018open\u2019, \u2018watch\u2019, \u2018study\u2019, and \u2018love\u2019:\r\nI walk to work every day.\r\nThe base form is also used in the infinitive form (e.g. We need to talk).\r\nThe third person singular form of a verb is used in the simple present tense in the third person. For most verbs, this is the base form with \u2018-s\u2019, \u2018-es\u2019, or \u2018-ies\u2019 at the end. Examples include \u2018opens\u2019, \u2018watches\u2019, \u2018studies\u2019, and \u2018loves\u2019:\r\nHe walks to school with Sophie. \r\nThe present participle form is used in the progressive tenses and formed by adding \u2018-ing\u2019 to a base verb (e.g. \u2018opening\u2019, \u2018watching\u2019, \u2018studying\u2019, \u2018loving\u2019). We typically use them after 'is', 'are', 'be', 'been', 'were', or 'was':\r\nWe are walking the long way round.\r\nThe simple past tense and past participle forms are used in the past tenses. In most cases, we form them by adding \u2018-d\u2019, \u2018-ed\u2019, or \u2018-ied\u2019 to a base verb, such as with \u2018opened\u2019, \u2018watched\u2019, \u2018studied\u2019, and \u2018loved\u2019:\r\nThey walked home from the party.\r\nWhen using a past participle, it usually comes after \u2018have\u2019, \u2018has\u2019, or \u2018had\u2019:\r\nI had walked five miles by lunchtime yesterday.\r\nSome verb forms have extra uses. For instance, participle verbs can also be used like adjectives (e.g. A watched pot will never boil). But in most cases they express an action, with the correct form depending on the tense used.\r\nRegular and Irregular Verbs\r\nThe examples in the previous section are all regular verbs.\r\nThis means they use the same regular spelling pattern for their simple past tense and past participle forms, as shown below:\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nBase Form\r\n\r\n\r\nSimple Past Tense\r\n\r\n\r\nPast Participle\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nLove\r\n\r\n\r\nLoved\r\n\r\n\r\nLoved\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nOpen\r\n\r\n\r\nOpened\r\n\r\n\r\nOpened\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nStudy\r\n\r\n\r\nStudied\r\n\r\n\r\nStudied\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nWalk\r\n\r\n\r\nWalked\r\n\r\n\r\nWalked\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nWatch\r\n\r\n\r\nWatched\r\n\r\n\r\nWatched\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\u00a0\r\nBut some verb are irregular. And these don\u2019t follow the same patterns as above. You can see examples of a range of irregular verbs below:\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nBase Form\r\n\r\n\r\nSimple Past Tense\r\n\r\n\r\nPast Participle\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nArise\r\n\r\n\r\nArose\r\n\r\n\r\nArisen\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nCut\r\n\r\n\r\nCut\r\n\r\n\r\nCut\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nDo\r\n\r\n\r\nDid\r\n\r\n\r\nDone\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nGive\r\n\r\n\r\nGave\r\n\r\n\r\nGiven\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nGo\r\n\r\n\r\nWent\r\n\r\n\r\nGone\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nHit\r\n\r\n\r\nHit\r\n\r\n\r\nHit\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nHold\r\n\r\n\r\nHeld\r\n\r\n\r\nHeld\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nLeave\r\n\r\n\r\nLeft\r\n\r\n\r\nLeft\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nOvertake\r\n\r\n\r\nOvertook\r\n\r\n\r\nOvertaken\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nRide\r\n\r\n\r\nRode\r\n\r\n\r\nRidden\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nRing\r\n\r\n\r\nRang\r\n\r\n\r\nRung\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nSee\r\n\r\n\r\nSaw\r\n\r\n\r\nSeen\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nUnderstand\r\n\r\n\r\nUnderstood\r\n\r\n\r\nUnderstood\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\u00a0\r\nAs you can see, there is a lot of variation here! This can make irregular verbs tricky, so remember to check spellings you\u2019re unsure of in a dictionary.\r\nFurthermore, if you would ever like help to check your writing is error free, our expert proofreading services are available 24\/7.