Verbs form an important part of the English syllabus of many government and bank examinations like- SEBI Grade A, IBPS SO/PO, SBI PO, SSC, RBI Grade B and many others. It is a very scoring topic. Knowing about verbs will help candidates solve questions on error spotting, cloze test, fill in the blanks, etc. It will also be very beneficial for the Descriptive English paper.
The ‘verb’ states something about the subject. Usually, the verb expresses action, but it may also express a condition or state of being.
He struck the board.
Time is money.
Thus, it can be seen that a verb asserts or tells something about a person or a thing. It is the most important word in a sentence.
There are various types of verbs which are used in the English Language. It is important to know them well to understand this topic.
Let’s understand them in detail-
Main verbs are those which express physical/mental action. These verbs help us identify what the subject of the sentence is doing physically/mentally.
She walked to school. (physical action)
Alia wants a doll for her birthday. (mental action)
|Transitive Verb||Intransitive Verb|
|Transitive verbs show an action which moves from the Subject to an object. The object could be a noun, pronoun or a noun phrase.||Intransitive verbs show an action which does not pass over to an object or which denotes a state or being.|
Sita ate a delicious pizza.
He really hates peas.
She ran a long distance. (action)
There is a flaw in this ring. (being)
The baby sleeps. (state)
Note- Depending on the usage in the sentence, main verbs can be either transitive or intransitive.
|Regular Verbs||Irregular Verbs|
|Regular verbs form the past tense and the past participle of regular verbs and ends in -ed, -d.||Irregular verbs are those which do not form the past tense and past participle of the irregular verbs and do not end in -ed, -d.|
She walked two miles to the office.
We purchased all the groceries that we needed for the camping trip.
Rahul knew all the right answers.
The workers took the furniture out of the moving truck.
Modal verbs are used to give a sentence a specific mood.modal verbs can express concepts such as ability, necessity, possibility and permission. Some of the modal verbs are- can, may, might, must, would, etc.
Once you finish your homework, you may play outside.
Phrasal verbs are a combination of a verb with preposition or a verb with adverbs. They have a different meaning from the individual words used to form them. Some of the phrasal verbs are- ask for, talk down to, put up with, lock up, etc.
The frustrated owner closed down his store.
Auxiliary verbs are also referred to as helping verbs. Auxiliary verbs work with other verbs to change the meaning of a sentence. The purpose of a helping verb is to combine with the main to accomplish different goals. This also includes changing the tense or altering the mood of a sentence.
The musician has performed in concerts all over the world.
Leopards can run incredibly fast.
Rule 1- The verb agrees with its subject in number.
The verb has two numbers-
Let’s understand with an example-
The list of spare parts was long. (singular)
Let’s look at an example-
The lists of spare parts were long. (plural)
Note- A plural verb is always required after ‘you;\’ even when it is used in singular, referring to one person.
You were very helpful during my stay with you.
Rule 2- A compound subject takes a plural verb.
Ajay and Vijay need shock therapy.
However, when the compound subject denotes a single idea it may take a singular verb.
The tumult and the shooting dies.
Moreover, a subject plural in form takes a singular verb.
News is traveling faster than ever before.
Rule 3- Some nouns ending in- ics are considered singular when referring to an organised body of knowledge and plural when referring to an individual facts, qualities or activities
Let’s understand with the help of examples-
Athletics provides good recreation. (i.e. various games)
Athletics is required for every student. (i.e. participation in games)
Some nouns like- proceeds, goods, ashes, remains, credentials, premises, etc. have no singular form. Therefore, plural verbs are required for them.
The proceeds of this show are going to be given to the soldier’s welfare fund.
The goods are being dispatched today by goods train.
Rule 4- A ‘collective noun’ takes a singular/plural verb depending on the way it is understood.
The class is unanimous.
The committee has agreed to submit its report on Monday.
The Board of Directors meets once in a month.
The audience were cheering and laughing.
Three months is too long a time to wait.
One of the pencils is missing from my desk.
He is one of those managers who favor increasing the staff. (those is plural, hence, favor is used)
Note- When ‘only’ precedes ‘one of/one of those’, a singular verb is used.
Raj is the only one of our employees who is always alert.
I have bought many items of furniture. (not furnitures)
Rule 5- Singular subjects connected by ‘neither/nor’, ‘either/or’, take a singular verb.
Neither he nor I was there.
Either Ram or Mohan has stolen the book.
If the subjects connected by either/or, neither/nor are of different numbers i.e one singular and one plural, the verb must be plural. The plural subject must be placed nearest to the verb.
Neither he nor you are to blame.
Rule 6- when two subjects are joined by ‘not only…but also’, the verb agrees with the second subject.
Not only the teacher but also the students were laughing.
Rule 7- As a general rule, in a sentence the verb comes after its subject. But there are certain exceptions to this rule. Let’s understand in detail-
Where are you going?
May you live long!
She is neither intelligent nor wise.
Rule 8- When the subject of a verb is a relative pronoun (who, which, that), the verb must agree in number and person with the antecedent of the relative.
Measles are among those diseases that are curable.
Rule 9- In a conditional sentence, the verb is plural even though the subject is singular.
If I were king, I would make you my chief minister.
Read the statements given below and tick the correct option :
Q1) Sonia ……… a fairy tale
Q2) The lizard …….over the books
Q3) She ………. to go for a party
Q4) Children ……… to see ‘Three Idiots’
The topic of verbs will help you in solving questions on error, spotting, sentence correction, cloze test, paragraph completion. Therefore it’s important to clear all the basics of this topic beforehand as it is very scoring. Candidates can expect around 3 to 5 questions in competitive exams.