A Verb is a word that tells or asserts something about a person or thing. It tells about the person or thing in the state of (a) doing, (b) being or (c) being acted up on. Thus a verb is a doing or being word.
Kinds of verbs :
Transitive and Intransitive Verbs
A Transitive verb is a verb that denotes an action which passes over from the doer or agent to an object, Transitive means passing over. For example,
India won the World Cup.
An Intransitive verb is a verb that denotes an action which does not pass over to an object, or that expresses a state of an object, or that expresses a state of being. Intransitive means not passing over. For example,
The sun shines brightly.
Rule: When an intransitive verb is used in a causative sense, it becomes transitive.
- He sat in a chair.
- He sat me on chair.
Rule: Verbs like, fall, lie, rise and sit are made transitive by a slight change in their spellings. The transitive is the causative of the corresponding intransitive verb.
Incorrect: The poachers were caught yesterday when they fell trees illegally.
Correct : The poachers were caught yesterday when they felled trees illegally.
Verbs of Incomplete Predication
The intransitive verb which requires something to make the sense complete is called a verb of incomplete predication.
For example be, become, seem, grow, taste, appear.
That which is required to make the sense (of these verbs) complete is known as the complement of the verb or the completion of the predicate.
The family appears.
Rule: When the subjective complement is a noun (or a pronoun), it is in the same case as the subject, that is, in the nominative case.
The lawyer called the witness a liar.
Rule: When the objective complement is a noun it is in the objective case in agreement with the object.
Subject-Verb Agreement :
Language has its base in logic and harmony. The subject and the verb are the essential parts of a sentence. It is imperative that the verb agree with the subject in number and person.
Rule: Two or more singular subjects connected by and usually take a verb in the plural.
Incorrect: Computer and telecommunication has metamorphosed information technology.
Correct: Computer and telecommunication have metamorphosed information technology.
Rule: If two singular nouns refer to the same person or thing, the verb must be singular.
Incorrect : The poet and critic have been honoured.
Correct : The poet and critic has been honoured.
Rule: If two subjects together express one idea, the verb is in the singular.
Incorrect: Bread and butter are essential for one’s life.
Correct: Bread and butter is essential for one’s life.
Rule: If the singular subjects are preceded by each or every, the verb is usually singular.
Incorrect: Every man and woman in a family are responsible for the upbringing of a child.
Correct: Every man and woman in a family is responsible for the upbringing of a child.
Rule : Two or more singular subjects connected by or, nor, either … or, neither… nor take a verb in the singular.
Incorrect: Either Manoj or Madhukar have the key to this problem.
Correct: Either Manoj or Madhukar has the key to this problem.
Rule: When the subjects, joined by or or nor are of different numbers, the verb must be plural, and the plural subject must be placed next to the verb.
Incorrect : Neither Rekha nor her friends was present at the party.
Correct : Neither Rekha nor her friends were present at the party.
Rule: When the subjects, joined by or or nor are of different persons, the verb agrees in person with the one nearest to it.
Incorrect : Either she or I pays the fees.
Correct : Either she or I pay the fees.
Error of Proximity: The verb is made to agree in number with a noun near it instead of with its proper subject. This is wrong and should be avoided.
Incorrect : The behaviour of the students were not proper.
Correct: The behaviour of the students was not proper.
Rule: Words joined to a singular subject by with, as well as, etc. are parenthetical. The verb should therefore be put in the singular.
Incorrect: The guru as well as his disciples are committed to celibacy.
Correct: The guru as well as his disciples is committed to celibacy.
Rule: Either, neither, each, everyone, many a must be followed by a singular verb.
Incorrect: Many a man have resigned in crisis.
Correct: Many a man has resigned in crisis.
Rule: When a plural noun denotes some specific quantity or amount considered as a whole, the verb is generally singular.
Incorrect: Five hours are too short a time to judge one’s character.
Correct: Five hours is too short a time to judge one’s character.
Usually a verb is limited by the number and person of its subject.
He plays cricket.
They play cricket.
A verb, which is not limited by person and number as a verb that has a subject, is called the verb infinite or the infinitive. Infinitives are of two kinds.
(1) Simple Infinitive and
(2) Gerundial or Qualifying Infinitive.
(1) Simple Infinitive – when the infinitive is used like a noun.
(i) as the subject of a verb. To name is to give an identity.
(ii) as the object of a verb. I have decided to leave the place.
(iii) as the complement of a verb. Her hobby is to dance.
(iv) as the object of a preposition. He is about to go.
(v) as the complement of the object. She heard her weep.
(2) Gerundial or Qualifying Infinitive-when the infinitive is used for the following purposes:
(i) to qualify a verb. He slept to refresh himself.
(ii) to qualify an adjective. Tea is easy to prepare.
(iii) to qualify a noun. He has a point to make.
(iv) to qualify a sentence. To be very frank, I hate your smile.
Rule: The infinitive is used without to after verbs like help, watch, bid, dare, hear, let, make, need and see.
Incorrect : I bid him to quit the organisation.
Correct : I bid him quit the organisation.
Rule: If, however, the structure is do + dare or do + need, the infinitive is used with to.
Incorrect: You do not need worry about us.
Correct: You do not need to worry about us.
Rule: The following verbs are followed by the infinitive.
Agree, arrange, attempt, care, cease, consent, decide, determine, endeavour, fall, forget, hesitate, hope,learn, manage, neglect, prepare, promise, propose, refuse, regret, remember, seem, swear, undertake.
Incorrect: I agree for helping you out in trouble.
Correct: I agree to help you out in trouble.
Rule: Prepositions but and except take the infinitive without to.
Incorrect: There is no alternative but to help him out.
Correct : There is no alternative but help him out.
Rule: Expressions would rather, would sooner, rather than, sooner than, had better are followed by infinitive without to.
Incorrect : I would rather to go for batting.
Correct : I would rather go for batting.
(1) Present Participle
(2) Past Participle
(3) Perfect Participle
Rule: Present participle is used when all the parts of a sentence have the same subject;
Incorrect: Opened the drawer, he took out his gun.
Correct: Opening the drawer, he took out his gun.
Rule: When a sentence has two different subjects, avoid using present participle. Instead a clause should be used in such instances.
Incorrect: While going to school, a dog jumped at me.
Correct: While I was going to school, a dog jumped at me.
Rule: Some past participles are used only as adjectives and qualify a noun. They can be used as past participles with changed spellings. For example, shrunken, drunken, sunken, graven, molten.
Incorrect: He and his brother have drunken wine last night.
Correct: He and his brother have drunk wine last night.
Rule: Perfect participle is used when one activity is completely over. Having worked hard, he felt tired.
Auxiliary literally means giving help, So an auxiliary verb is one that helps the main verb form in tenses, moods, voices etc. The following verbs are auxiliaries: is, are, am, was, were, be, can, could, dare, do, does, did, have, has, had, may, might, must, need, ought, shall, should, will, would, used to.
- May implies permission, doubt or possibility.
Ex. May I come in? (permission)
It may rain tonight. (possibility)
- Might is the past form of “may” and it implies more doubt than “may”.
Ex. If the clouds are salted, the rains might come.
- Can is used to express ability.
Ex. He can do the work.
- Could is the past form of can but it does not necessarily represent past time. Often it implies a more uncertain condition.
Ex. He could refuse, but she never does.
- Should expresses the idea that something must be done or is important.
Should and ought to have similar meanings, but ought is followed by “to” “Ought to” has a more objective force and is used when we are talking about laws, duties and regulations.
Ex. We ought to see her tomorrow.
- Must is used to give strong advice or orders.
Ex. He really must stop drinking.
- Do is used to make question and negative forms of ordinary verbs.
Ex. Do you know him?
I don’t like swimming.
“Do” is always used in question-tags.
Ex. You know painting, do you?
Quiz based on above concepts:
Directions: In the following questions, some of the sentences have errors and some have none. Find out which part of the sentence has an error. If there is no mistake, the answer is ‘No error’.
- Many a student (a)/ are frustrated (b)/ because of unemployment. (c)/ No error (d)
- It is true (a)/ that the poor is unable (b)/ to get nourishing food even today. (c)/ No error (d)
- People have a right to criticise (a)/ but at the same time each of them (b)/ have to remember his duty also. (c)/ No error (d)
- The child (a)/ picked up a burned paper (b)/ from the street. (c)/ No error (d)
- Never did this exhibition of contempt and anger ceased (a)/ so long as British rule remained (b)/ a live thing in India. (c)/ No error (d)
- The teacher was angry (a)/ when he found that (b)/ you are not there. (c)/ No error (d)
- I would like you to (a)/ complete this assignment (b) before you will leave for Mumbai. (c)/ No error (d)
- Ordinarily, when in difficulty (a)/ Ruchi prefers keeping her counsel (b)/ than running about taking advice. (c)/ No error (d)
- One of the drawbacks (a)/ of modern education are (b)/ that it does not encourage original thinking. (c)/ No error (d)
- I enquired of him (a)/ why he is so negligent (b)/ in his studies. (c)/ No error (d)
1. b; Replace ‘are’ with ‘is’
‘Many a’ takes singular subject and singular verb.
2. b; Replace ‘is’ with ‘are’
Here, ‘poor’ stands for ‘poor people’.
3. c; Replace ‘have’ with ‘has’
4. b; Replace ‘burned’ with ‘burnt’
5. a; Replace ‘ceased’ with ‘cease’
6. c; Replace ‘are’ with ‘were’
7. c; Remove ‘will’
8. c; Replace “than” with “to”
9. b; Replace ‘are’ with ‘is’
10. b; Replace ‘is’ with ‘was’