Every sentence must have a verb. A verb can be a sentence all by itself. 

Verbs...can't write without them!

Every sentence must have a verb. 

In fact, a sentence can be nothing but a verb (and understood you).  Example:  Jump!  The person that is being spoken to knows that means (you) jump!  

The three main types are action verbslinking (including beingverbs, and helping verbs.

What else is there to know?


The three types of verbs are action verbs, linking (or being) verbs, and helping verbs.

  • Action verbs show action. That action can be either physical or mental. Examples include singplay, think, and imagine.

  • Linking verbs join (or link) the subject to the rest of the sentence. Is, am, are, was, were, be, being, been, seem are all examples of linking verbs.  Some words can be either action verbs or linking verbs depending upon how they are used in the sentence (appears and grows are two examples).

  • Helping verbs (sometimes called auxillary verbs) are words that help the main verb. Sometimes the main verb is an action verb, and sometimes the main verb is a linking verb. Linking verbs can act as helping verbs if they come with another verb. Some examples are is running, are going, have been seeing, and should be.

Note: helping verbs + main verb (action or linking) = verb phrase

You already know, of course, that verbs can be past tense, present tense, and future tense,


The word not is an adverb, never a verb. If the verb is a contraction, only the verb portion of the word is considered the verb. Separate the verb from the contraction to find the verb or verb phrase.

For example: She can't go to the store. The verb phrase is can go. 

Do you know the difference between a phrase and a clause?

Phrases and clauses are both groups of words. 

  • phrase is a group of words that is missing either a subject (who or what) or a predicate (verb).  Examples of phrases are as follows:
  1. verb phrases:  will run, can sing, will be, should have been--notice no subjects (nouns)
  2. prepositional phrases:  of the morning, into the dark, scary building, with my best friend--notice no predicates (verbs) 
  • clause has a subject and a predicate (who or what the sentence is about + what they did or are).

Can you find the verbs in the sentences below?

Mark Twain said, "Do the right thing.  It will gratify some people and astonish the rest."

What are the five verbs in the two sentences above?

How about the verb phrases?

 (verbs-said, do, will, gratify, astonish)

(verb phrases-will gratify, will astonish)

Verbs-Harry Potter Style-YouTube

Verbs Schoolhouse Rock

Helping Verbs Blues-YouTube