Grammar-QuizzesVerb Phrases › Verbs

Verbs  (Primary Verbs)

Recognize function and form

X structure diagram
We walk.
‹ diagram ›
► What is a verb?▼ Explanation of term

A verb:

  • expresses:
    • an action (eat, walk, drive, breathe).
    • an occurrence (happen, become).
    • a state of being (be, appear, seem).   
  • functions as the predicate. It completes the idea about the subject in regards to what it does or is.
  • takes form as
    • plain formwalk, sing, go.
    • past formwas, saw, walked, sang, went—with an -ed (-en, -n, -t and variants) suffix.
    • participle formbeen, seen, walked, sung, gone—with -ed (-en, -n, -t and variants) suffix.
    • 3rd personsees, walks, sung, goes.
    • plural formwere (be verb only). 


Summary of Practices



A Verb: recognize how is can function in a clause

See Clause Structure Summary for a listing of topics and practices.

We walk.

Primary (walk, walks, walked)

He walks for exercise. (marked for third person.)

They walked they dog. (marked for tense)

Secondary  (walking, (to) walk, walked)

He is walking his dog. (marked for aspect)

He may walk his other dog. (marked for mood)

The dog has been walked. (marked for voice)

Static Verb Practices ›

Sponge seller

Nick is a sponge diver.

He has two baskets of sponges. (possession)

He thinks (that) natural sponges are the best. (cognitive)

The sponges feel softer and last longer. (sensory)

His sponges look superb. (static)

Their quality impresses people. (emotion)

A large sponge measures more than a meter. (measurement)

Present Tense Summary

Use the above link to advance to a list of pages.

shopping for vegetables 

Marie prepares lunch every afternoon.

She selects greens for lunch.

She usually shops in the morning.

She makes a good spinach salad.

Her family returns home at 2 p.m. to eat.

They return to work when they finish lunch.

Past Tense Summary

Use the above link to advance to a list of pages.

past years

We had a good year last year.

When I was young, we would always have the whole family over for dinner.  (past routine)

I used to ride a motorcycle, but I sold it a year ago.  (discontinued habit)

I haven't seen anything like this before. Where did you get it? (source)  I thought I had shown it to you.

Verbs— "Irrealis"  (Conditional / Hypothetical / Unreal / Remote Form)

"Irrealis"  (contrary to fact)

See Conditional Summary to advance to a list of practice pages.


If he were/was here, he would grant your wish.

If he knew, he would…

If he had any idea about it, he would…


Irreg Verb Forms 1: Review past and participle verb forms (A – L)

Beginning–Intermediate ESL


Jaycee (spinned, span, spun?) _____the ball on his toe last night.

Irreg Verb Forms 2: Review past and participle verb forms (L –W)

Beginning–Intermediate ESL


Jamie (let) _____the ball drop in yesterday's final play.

Transitive Verbs: indicate the person or thing affected by the action  (See Verb Complements.)

Beginning–Intermediate ESL

Jason studies

Jason rises.

Jason raises the blinds.

Jason studies.

Jason studies English.

The glass broke.

Jason broke the glass.

The baby weighs 10 lbs.

The doctor weighed the baby.

Intransitive Verbs: Never Passive—recognize verbs that do not take objects  (See Never Passive.)

Intermediate–Advanced ESL, Native Speakers

Building destroyed in earthquake

The earthquake happened on April 3, 2009 in Italy.

*The earthquake was happened on April 3, 2009 in Italy.

The baby weighed 7 lbs.

*The baby was weighed 7 lbs.

Verbal Idioms: express activities with verb-prep combinations ("phasal verbs")

Beginning–Advanced ESL

wolf lets out a howl

Look up. 

Look up the word in the dictionary.

The airplane took off.

He took his coat off.

He took off his coat.