English Grammar 101: Introduction to the English Verb
English has three kinds of Verbs: transitive, intransitive, and incomplete.
1. Transitive Verbs
A verb is transitive when the action is carried across to a receiver:
The farmer grows potatoes. Elvis sang ballads.
The receiver is called the direct object. It answers the question “What?” or “Whom? after the verb. Grows what? Potatoes. Sang what? Ballads.
2. Intransitive Verbs
A verb is intransitive when the action stays with the verb. It is not carried across to a receiver:
Corn grows. Elvis sang.
Adding a prepositional phrase to modify the verb does not change the fact that the action remains with the subject:
Corn grows in the fields. Elvis sang all over the world.
Both transitive and intransitive verbs are action verbs.
3. Incomplete Verbs
There are three types of incomplete verbs:
i. being verbs – also called linking or copulative verbs
to be, seem, become, taste, smell, sound, feel
TIP: Some of these verbs can also be used transitively. If in doubt, substitute a form of to be for the verb. If the sentence still makes sense, the verb is being used as a copulative verb:
He feels depressed. He is depressed.
He feels the wall. He is the wall.
ii. auxiliary verbs – also called helping verbs
be, have, shall, will, do, and may.
He could have gone earlier.
iii. semi-auxiliary verbs
must, can, ought, dare, need.
You must not go. You dare not go.
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