Important Study Notes on Verb and its Usage

By Avinash Kumar|Updated : June 28th, 2021

In this article, we are providing some Important Study Notes on Verbs and their Usage which will be very helpful to improve your English. These notes will help you know the usage & different types of verb.

Important Study Notes on Verb and its Usage

Verbs are words that show action. Every sentence must have a verb. A verb is not always one word. It may be made up of more than one word.

If the subject of a sentence is singular, the verb must be singular. If the subject of a sentence is plural, the verb must be plural.

The verb must agree with the subject in number.

Examples of ‘subjects’ and ‘verbs’ being singular:

  • The man is sleeping.
  • She goes to the market.
  • The student does his homework every day.
  • The train has arrived.

‘Man’, ‘she’, ‘student’ and ‘train’ are known as subjects. The subjects are all singular. The verbs ‘is’, ‘goes’, ‘does’ and ‘has’ are all singular.

Examples of ‘subjects’ and ‘verbs’ being plural:

  • The men are sleeping.
  • They go to the market.
  • The students do their homework every day.
  • The trains have arrived.

‘Men’, ‘they’, ‘students’ and ‘trains’ are known as subjects. The subjects are all plural. The verbs ‘are’, ‘go’, ‘do’ and ‘have’ are all plural.

Other singular and plural subjects that take on singular and plural verbs:
Subjects with words like ‘each’, ‘every’, ‘any’, ‘no’, ‘none’ and ‘nobody’ take on the singular verbs.


  • Each student is given a pen.
  • Every child is happy watching the show.
  • Nobody is allowed to walk on the grass.

Uncountable nouns always take singular verbs.

  • Rice is eaten in many countries.
  • There is oil on the floor.
  • Salt is added to make the food taste better.

Subjects with words like ‘both’, ‘all’, ‘many’, ‘some’, ‘several’ and ‘a number of’ take on a plural verb.


  • Both of you have to come home early.
  • All of us want to be happy.
  • Some of my friends are female.

Two or more subjects joined by ‘and’ always take a plural verb.

  • My brother and his friends like to play football.
  • His father and mother are watching television.

Transitive and Intransitive Verbs

The verb which needs an object to make its meaning clear or complete is called a transitive verb.


  • He feeds a cat.

The word ‘cat’ is called the object of the verb ‘feeds’.
The object can be a noun or a pronoun.

The intransitive verb does not need an object, but the meaning is clear or complete.

  • He ran.

The verb ‘ran’ does not need an object.

  • She reads every day. (No object)
  • He eats quickly. (No object)

The Finite verb

The finite verb changes with the subject. The subject is the person, thing, animal or place we refer to. When the subject is in the first or second person or is plural, the verb does not change. When the subject is in the third person or is singular, the verb changes from, say, ‘eat’ to ‘eats’. The verb ‘eat’ is finite.

Every sentence must have a finite verb.

Other usages of verbs to remember:

1. When “and” is used to join two nouns or pronouns together, the verb is usually plural.
Examples: Beef and mutton are meat.

2. When we use two nouns for the same person or thing, the verb should be singular.
Examples: My friend and classmate is very

3. When we use two nouns for the same person, we use the article ‘the’ only once, and the verb should be in the singular.
Example: The shopkeeper and owner of the shop

4. When we refer to two different persons, we use the article twice, and the verb must be in the plural.
Example: The shopkeeper and the owner of the

5. When we join two nouns and treat them as a whole, the verb is singular.
Example: Bread and butter is his usual breakfast.

6. When a noun is a quantity or an amount, it is treated as a whole, and the verb is singular.

  • Ten kilometres is not a long way to travel.
  • Nowadays, fifty dollars is not a lot of money.

A verb is used in different forms as follow:
Simple Present Tense - eat
Simple Past Tense - ate
Present Participle - is eating
Past Participle - has eaten
Future Tense - will eat

Auxiliary verbs are sometimes called helping verbs because they are needed to form many of the tenses. The most used auxiliary verbs are the verbs to be, to do and to have. For example, the auxiliary is needed to ask questions in the present and past simple tenses. To be is needed for the present and past continuous, and all the passive forms. The auxiliary to have is used in the present and past perfect tenses.

Here are some examples of the common auxiliary verbs in action:

  • Do you like German food?
  • Does your mother speak English?
  • Did you come to school yesterday?
  • Why are you talking?
  • You should be listening to me!
  • I was having a bath when you called!
  • A new road is being built behind the school.
  • Have you done your homework?
  • My father has never visited the USA.
  • How long have you been living in Germany?
  • By this time next year, I will have been learning
  • English for 35 years!

Auxiliary Verbs are the verbs be, do, have, will when they are followed by another verb (the full verb) to form a question, a negative sentence, a compound tense or the passive.

The verb 'be.'

The verb be can be used as an auxiliary and a full verb. As an auxiliary, we use this verb for compound tenses and the passive voice. Note that be is an irregular verb:

Simple Present: I am, he/she/it is, we/you/they are

Simple Past: I/he/she/it was, we/you/they were

Past Participle: been

In the following sentences, you can tell that it is an auxiliary because it is followed by another verb (the full verb). (For progressive forms, use the “-ing” form of the full verb; for passive voice, use the past participle of the full verb.)

Progressive Forms
Present Progressive: He is playing football.
Past Progressive: He was playing football.
Present Perfect Progressive: He has been playing football.
Past Perfect Progressive: He had been playing football.

Simple Present/Past: The house is/was built.
Present/Past Perfect: The house has/had been built.
Future I:  The house will be built.

“be” as a full verb

The verb be can also be a full verb. In this case, it’s not followed by another verb. If be is used as a full verb, we do not need an auxiliary in negative sentences or questions.
Positive sentence: They are fifteen years old.
Negative sentence: They are not fifteen years old.
Question: Are they fifteen years old?

The verb “have.”

The verb has, too, can be used both as an auxiliary and as a full verb. As an auxiliary, we use this verb to form compound tenses in active and passive voice. (Use the past participle of the full verb.)

Compound Tenses - Active Voice
Present Perfect Simple: He has played football.
Past Perfect Simple: He had played football.
Present Perfect Progressive: He has been playing football.
Past Perfect Progressive: He had been playing football.

Compound Tenses - Passive Voice
Present/Past Perfect: The house has/had been built.
Note that have is an irregular verb, too:
Simple Present: I/we/you/they have, he/she/it has
Simple Past: I/he/she/it/we/you/they had
Past Participle: had

“have” in positive sentences

As a full verb have indicates possession. However, in British English, we usually have got (have, being the auxiliary, got the full verb).
Full verb: I have a car.
Auxiliary verb: I have got a car.

“have” in negative sentences and questions.
When we use 'have' as a full verb, we must use the auxiliary do in negative sentences and questions. If we use, have got. However, we do not need another auxiliary.
have as a full verb:

  • I do not have a car.
  • Do I have a car?

have as an auxiliary verb:

  • I have not got a car.
  • Have I got a car?

The verb “will.”

The verb will only be used as an auxiliary. We use it to form future tenses.
The auxiliary verb “will.”
Future I: He will not play football.
Future II: He will have played football.

The verb "will" remains the same for all forms (no “s” for 3rd person singular). The short form for negative sentences is won’t.’

e.g.; I will, he will
I will not = I won’t

The verb “do.”

The verb 'do' can be both an auxiliary and full. As an auxiliary, we use 'do' in negative sentences and questions for most verbs (except not for me, will have got modal verbs) in Simple Present and Simple Past. (Use the infinitive of the full verb.)

The auxiliary “do” in negative sentences.
Simple Present: He does not play football.
Simple Past: He did not play football.

The auxiliary “do” in questions.
Simple Present: Does he play football?
Simple Past: Did he play football?

The verb do irregular:
Simple Present: I/we/you/they do, he/she/it does
Simple Past: I/he/she/it/we/you/they did

The full verb “do.”
As a full verb, we use to do in certain expressions. If we want to form negative sentences or questions using a full verb, we need another do as an auxiliary.

Positive sentence: She does her homework every day.
Negative sentence: She doesn’t do her homework every day.
Question: Does she do her homework every day?

Sentences without the auxiliary “do.”
In the following cases, the auxiliary do is not used in negative sentences/questions:
the full verb is “be.”

e.g., I am not angry. / Are you okay?
the sentence already contains another auxiliary (e.g. have, be, will)

e.g., They are not sleeping. / Have you heard that?
the sentence contains a modal verb (can, may, must, need, ought to, shall, should)

e.g., We need not wait. / Can you repeat that, please?
The question asks for the subject of the sentence

eg; Who sings that song?
Other common auxiliary verbs are: will, should, would, can, must, might, may, could (These verbs are often called modal verbs).

Modal verbs

The modal verbs include can, must, may, might, will, would, should. They are used with other verbs to express ability, obligation, possibility, and so on. Below is a list showing the most useful models and their most common meanings:

Modal: can

Meaning: to express ability

Example: I can speak a little Russian.

Modal: can

Meaning: to request permission

Example: Can I open the window?

Modal: may

Meaning: to express possibility

Example: I may be home late.

Modal: may

Meaning: to request permission

Example: May I sit down, please?

Modal: must

Meaning: to express obligation

Example: I must go now.

Modal: must

Meaning: to express a strong belief

Example: She must be over 90 years old.

Modal: should

Meaning: to give advice

Example: You should stop smoking.

Modal: would

Meaning: to request or offer

Example:  Would you like a cup of tea?

Modal: would

Meaning: in if-sentences

Example: If I were you, I would say sorry.

Modal verbs are unlike other verbs. They do not change their form (spelling) and have no infinitive or participle (past/present). The modals must and can need substitute verbs to express obligation or ability in the different tenses.

We hope that the points in the above article would have built a strong base of the Usage of Verbs and would have cleared all the doubts regarding the topic.




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