Cottage School,  English

More on Verbs

I (Christie) briefly mentioned action verbs in last week’s grammar post, but it’s important for your children to understand linking verbs and helping verbs as well. Verbs asserting action are identified easily, yet there are two kinds of action verbs–transitive and intransitive. Also, what makes verbs more complicated is that they don’t always show action. Linking verbs do just what they say they do–they link two words together. Auxiliary or helping verbs do just that–they help other verbs. 

Here are some examples of all three types of verbs.

Action: Shauna tastes the toast. In this example, the subject is doing the action of the verb. Action verbs can be transitive or intransitive. In this example, the action of the verb “tastes” is being transferred to the toast. You can find this by asking subject + verb + whom or what? Shauna tastes what? Toast! An example of an intransitive action verb is as follows: Shauna toasts. In this example, there is no answer to the question Shauna toasts whom or what, so the verb does not transfer action; hence, it is intransitive. 

Linking: The toast tastes burnt. In this example, toast is being linked to burnt, a word that describes the subject noun in the predicate of the sentence. Linking verbs can also link the subject noun to a word that renames it: Shauna is toast. 

Helping or Auxiliary: Shauna has burnt the toast. In this example, the entire verb phrase is “has burnt.” The helping verb is not the main verb showing action. “Has” helps “burnt” (main verb) by changing the form of the verb’s mood or tense in some way. It’s helpful for your children to memorize the list of helping verbs so that they can find them quickly. There are several songs on YouTube, but I linked one below. 

Keep in mind that some linking verbs can also be helping verbs and vice versa. You have to understand the verb’s purpose in the sentence in order to identify them correctly. In other words, you can’t just look at a verb and say it’s this or that. You need to look at the entire sentence to determine what the verb is doing.

Of course, these are simple examples that I have mentioned, and I made them similar on purpose to highlight the differences. For more on verbs, check out these links:

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