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A Brief Overview of What a Verb is and What it Does

What is a Verb
Verbs are an irreplaceable components of the English language. Read on to know more about this crucial part of speech...
Penlighten Staff
Last Updated: May 31, 2018
A word used to indicate a particular action is termed as a verb. The verb is an important part of a sentence. In fact, it is the core of any expression/idea. The origin of the term 'verb' can be traced back to the Latin word, verbum.

Valency of Verbs

One of the criteria used in classifying verbs is that of valency. The term is used to differentiate verbs on the basis of the number of arguments they can take. The following descriptions will help you understand more about this concept.

Intransitive
A verb is called intransitive when the sentence in which it is used has a subject but no object. An example would be the semantically complete sentence, "he plays". Being associated with a single noun phrase, the intransitive verb is also termed as univalent verb.

Transitive
This kind has both the subject and object. It means that the action in question needs to be performed in relation to an object. The following example should help in understanding the difference between transitive and aforementioned intransitive verb: "He plays cricket". While both sentences make perfect sense grammatically, the addition of the object in the second one makes it clearer.

Inflections

Verbs can be modified in certain ways to explain more about the sentence in question. The term used to describe these ways of modifying verbs is known as inflection.

Aspect
The internalized nature of a particular verb can be described with the help of this inflection. Aspect is a grammatical category of linguistics used in defining the temporal flow of that particular action. The concept of aspect is also used in differentiating between dynamic and static states.

Tense
It is used to indicate the time at which a particular action takes place. The differentiation between past, present, and future is carried out by means of this form of inflection.

Mood
The intent with which a verb is used can be understood by means of mood. Subjunctive, imperative, and indicative are examples of different moods. Opinions and facts are presented by means of indicative verbs. Imperative mood can be used to command. Subjunctive mood is used to convey emotions, requests, opinions, and events.

Voice
Focus of the verb in question can be understood with the help of voice. The active and passive use of verb is one of the ways of showing difference between the voice.