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What are verbs?

Verbs are words that show action or state of being.


Four verb forms

The base form of a verb can be found with its infinitive, in the formula to + verb.


There are four basic forms of verbs: present form, present participle, past form and past participle. Different suffixes are added to the base form of the words to create the different forms.



Present form

Present participle

Past form

Past participle

To work

I work.

He works.

I am working

I worked.

I have worked.

To ask

I ask.

He asks.

I am asking.

I asked.

I have asked.

To go

I go.

He goes.

I am going.

I went.

I have gone.

To study

I study.

He studies.

I am studying.

I studied.

I have studied.

To sit

I sit.

He sits.

I am sitting.

I sat.

I have sat.

To pay

I pay.

He pays/

I am paying.

I paid.

I paid.

To throw

I throw.

He throws.

I am throwing.

I threw.

I have thrown.

To sing

I sing.

He sings.

I am singing.

I sang.

I have sung.

To take

I take.

He takes.

I am taking.

I took.

I have taken.

To run

I run.

He runs.

I am running.

I ran.

I have run.

To eat

I eat.

He eats.

I am eating.

I ate.

I have eaten.

To teach

I teach.

He teaches.

I am teaching.

I taught.

I have taught.

To fall

I fall.

He falls.

I am falling.

I fell.

I have fallen.

To read

I read.

He reads.

I am reading.

I read.

I have read.

To cut

I cut.

He cuts.

I am cutting.

I cut.

I have cut.


Present form

We add -s/ -es to a verb to create third person singular present form. We use this form with he, she and it.



  • She goes to school by bus.
  • The dog jumps high.


Present participle form

We usually add -ing to a verb to create the present participle form. We use this form with be and its variations such as is, am, are.



  • I am swimming in the sea.
  • He is playing tennis.
  • The ball is bouncing along the road.


Past form

We usually add -ed to a verb to create the past form.



  • I went to school yesterday.
  • He loved Amy when he was young.
  • My grandpa planted the tree before he retired.


Past participle form

For most verbs, their past form and past participle form are the same, such as worked, asked, happened, paid, and brought.

However, there can some other variations, such as thrown, sung, taken, eaten, gone and run.

Different verb forms are used in different tenses. For more, please check out the relevant chapters.


Verb Types


Action verbs

We use action verbs to show an action, including both physical and mental actions.



  • He eats the apple.
  • I am taking taxi to work.
  • You brought lunchboxes for me yesterday.
  • The dog has grown bigger in the past few months.


Verbs of being

We use different forms of ‘be’ (is, are, was, were, has/have/had been, will be) to show a state of existence.



  • She is tall.
  • The kids are very naughty.
  • Amy was sick last month.
  • I have been waiting for you for an hour.
  • You will be meeting Ben in the classroom.


Linking verbs

We use linking verbs to link a subject with its complement. Common examples includes verbs related to the five senses, such as look, sound, smell, feel, taste. Some other linking verbs reflect a state of being, such as appear, seem, become, grow, turn, remain.



  • The cake smells good.
  • Amy looks thinner after learning yoga.
  • You will become a teacher when you grow up.
  • Apples turn red when ripe.


Phrasal verbs

We use verb with another word or phrase, usually a preposition, to form a phrasal verb. This combination creates a new verb, which might carries another meaning.


Phrasal verb



Went on


You should went on and complete the task.

Hold up


Please hold up a minute, I will answer your question as soon as possible.

Look around


Amy is looking around for her lost dog.

Look up

Find something in a book

You can look up page 10 of the book for the answer.

Fill in

Complete a form

Please fill in the questionnaire.

Give up

Stop a habit, activity or job

Never give up on your interest.


Some phrasal verbs have no object

Phrasal verb


Come back

Come back after you submit your form.

Come in

Remember to knock the door before coming in.

Go away

Please go away. I want to stay alone.

Hurry up

Hurry up! The bus has arrived!

Wake up

I often wake up early.

Look out

Look out! The dog is attacking us!


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