A Verb tells or declares something about a Noun or a Pronoun.
- Imran goes to school. ("goes" is a verb, because it tells something about "Imran").
- His cow died yesterday. ("died" is a Verb, because it tells something about "his cow").
- We will win the match. ("will win" is a Verb, because it tells something about "we").
A Verb is a word used for saying something about some person. It is the most important word in a sentence, because we cannot make a sentence without it. It comes from Latin "verbum", a word.
Kinds of the Verbs
There are only two kinds of the Verb:
- Transitive Verb
- Intransitive Verb
Transitive Verb (Transitive means passing over)
If the action denoted by a Verb passes over from the Subject to the Object, it is called a Transitive Verb. For Example:
Hassan eats rice in the evening.
The action denoted by "eats", cannot take place without "rice". The Verb "eats", therefore, is Transitive.
Some Transitive Verbs take two Objects after them; as,
Hassan sent me some apples.
Here, me is the first or Indirect Object; and apples, the second or Direct Object.
Direct and Indirect Objects: The Direct Object is usually a thing; and the Indirect Object, a person or an animal.
Intransitive Verb (Intransitive means not passing over)
If the action denoted by a Verb does not go beyond the Subject, it is called an Intransitive Verb; as,
The sun sets in the west.
The action denoted by "sets" stops with its Subject. The Verb "sets", therefore, is an Intransitive Verb. Read the following sentences:
- Kashif seems happy.
- We elected Hassan President of Union in 1999.
The Verb "seems", in the first sentence is Intransitive. But it cannot make complete sense without the word "happy". Again the Verb elected in the second sentence is Transitive and Babar is its Object, but it cannot make complete sense without the word "President of Union". Such Verbs are called Incomplete Verbs (or, Verb of Incomplete Predication ). And the word or words which complete their sense are called their Complements . Thus "happy" is the Complement in the first sentence; and President of Union, in the second.
Use of Some Particular Verbs
Learn the Use of some particular Verbs like Should and Would, Can and Could, May and Might, Should, Ought and Must
Should and Would
"Should" is used to express;
- A moral obligation; as,
- A hypothetical meaning; as,
- Should he turn up even now, I shall help him.
- A purpose; as,
- He worked hard lest he should fail.
"Would" is used to express;
- A continuous or habitual action in the past; as,
- We would work (i.e. we used to work) till midnight.
- A strong desire which has not been and cannot now be fulfilled; as,
- Would that the doctor had come before her death!
- A polite order; as,
- Would you mind explaining this riddle to me.
- Would you dispatch these letters today.
Can and Could
Both are used to denote ability power or permission; the former in the present; and the latter, in the past.
- He can run. He could run. (Power)
- I can stay here. I could stay here. (Permission)
- She can do that. She could do that. (Ability)
May and Might
Both are used to denote possibility, permission, wish or purpose; the former in the Present; and the latter, in the past.
- He may not go. He might not go. (Possibility)
- May I come in? He might have gone. (Permission)
- May he live long! (Wish)
- We eat that we may live. (Purpose)
Should, Ought and Must
"Should" is used to denote what is right or proper.
- You should speak the truth.
- He should have helped the old lady.
"Ought" is used to denote obligation.
- We ought to respect our officers.
- He ought to have obeyed his elder brother.
"Must" is used to denote a command, a necessity or a determination.
- We must obey the laws of our country. (Necessity)
- I must make up my deficiency. (Determination)
- You must leave for Murree tonight. (Command)
Agreement of the Verb with the Subject
It is a principle according to which the Verb always agrees with the Subject in Number and Person. This means that a singular subject requires a Singular Verb; and a Plural Subject, a Plural Verb; as,
- He is absent. They are absent. She has a pen. Girls have pens.
Here are the rules that govern the agreement of the Verb with its Subject:
- If two or more Singular Subjects are connected by "and" the Verb is generally Plural; as,
- Baber and Akbar were Emperors of India.
- You and I have bought two tickets.
- But if two singular nouns refer to the same person or thing, the Verb must be Singular; as,
- My friend and benefactor has died.
- Rice and curry is his favourite food.
- The horse and carriage is at the door.
- If two or more Singular Subjects are preceded by "each" or "every" the Verb is Singular; as,
- Every man woman and child was ready to fight.
- Each day and hour brings fresh news.
- If two or more Singular Subjects are joined by "or" "either or" or "neither... nor" the Verb is Singular; as,
- No man or woman was allowed to leave the hall.
- Either Sara or Hina is in the right.
But if the Subjects thus joined are of different Numbers, the Verb is plural, and the Plural Subject is placed beside the Verb; as,
- Neither the clerk nor the students were punctual.
And if the Subjects thus Joined are of different Persons, the Verb agrees with the one nearest to it; as,
- Either he or I am in the right.
- Either / or he is in the right.
- A Collective Noun takes a Singular Verb, if the Individuals composing it are thought of differently; as,
- The council has elected its president.
- The committee were divided on the election of the president.
- The class was given a test in English.
- A number of boys were caught copying.
- Word joined to a Singular Subject by "with" "together with" "along with" "in addition to" or "as well as" do not affect the Number of the Verb; as,
- The editor, with his assistants, was dismissed.
- Fatima, as well as Hina, is going to Karachi.