Learn English online for free.

  1. Home
  2. /
  3. Grammar
  4. /
  5. English Verbs

English Verbs

Verbs Taalhulp Engels
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on whatsapp

English verbs are really important. Without verbs, most sentences are incomplete and won’t make a lot of sense. In essence, you use verbs to talk about an action or event or to describe a particular state.

On this page, you have a complete overview of which types of verbs there are and how you can use them. You will find some examples of regular and irregular verbs and you will also see examples of main verbs and auxiliary verbs.

Regular verbs

In English, there are two main types of verbs: regular and irregular verbs. The regular verbs are the easiest to use because you can form them by using a couple of basic rules.

The present simple of regular verbs is formed by using the infinitive of the verb. One exception is when you have a third person singular (he, she or it). If this is the case, you need to add <s> to the infinitive. For more information about the present simple, click here.

I walk
You walk
He walks

The past simple and the past participle of regular verbs is formed by adding <ed> to the infinitive. For more information about the past simple, click here.

I walked
You walked
He has walked

Irregular verbs

Irregular verbs are more complicated because you cannot always use rules to make particular forms. To form the present simple of irregular verbs, you also need the infinitive, just like the regular verbs. The irregular verbs also need an <s> when you are dealing with a third person singular form (he, she or it).

I run
You run
He runs

The past simple and past participle of these verbs are not formed by using standard rules. This means you need to study the different verb forms if you want to use them. You can find an overview of the most common irregular verbs in English over here. If you want to make exercises about the irregular verbs, click here.

Main verb and auxiliary verb

There is also a difference between main verbs and auxiliary verbs. A main verb is the most important verb in a sentence and expresses the action or state in that sentence.

An auxiliary verb cannot really be on its own because it wouldn’t have any meaning. Auxiliary verbs are used to support the main verb, which is usually placed right after the auxiliary verb. Most of the time, auxiliary verbs are used to express a particular tense or the difference between active and passive sentences.

Main verb

The main verb is the most important verb in a sentence. It expresses the action or state of the subject. Without this information, you wouldn’t really know what the subject is doing or what it is about.

If you have one verb in the sentence, it means that this verb is the main verb. If there are several verbs in one sentence, you need to check which verb expresses the action or state of the subject.

A main verb can be regular or irregular. How you conjugate these verbs depends on what verb it is and which tense it needs to be in.

I have bought
You bought
He is playing
We were dreaming
The main verb is highlighted in these sentences.

Auxiliary verb

In addition to the main verb, you also have an auxiliary verb. The goal of auxiliary verbs is to support the main verb. These verbs have no particular meaning on their own and cannot appear in a sentence without a main verb.

If you want to use an auxiliary verb, you need to put it in the right form and tense. If you want to use a negative form of an auxiliary verb, you use ‘not’ and put it right after the auxiliary verb.

I have not played
I have not bought a car
He is not singing

The most common auxiliary verbs are ‘to be’, ‘to have’ and ‘to do’. You can find the conjugations of these verbs in the present simple and past simple below.

To be

Present SimplePast Simple
I amI was
You areYou were
He/she/it isHe/she/it was
We areWe were
You areYou were
They areThey were

To do

Present SimplePast Simple
I doI did
You doYou did
He/she/it doesHe/she/it did
We doWe did
You doYou did
They doThey did

It’s important that when you use ‘to do’ as an auxiliary verb, you only conjugate ‘to do’. You cannot have two conjugated verbs in one sentence. You conjugate ‘to do’, followed by the infinitive of the main verb.

An example of this is when you use ‘to do’ to emphasize something.

I did tell them
You do want to go
He does have a car

To have

Present SimplePast Simple
I haveI had
You haveYou had
He/she/it hasHe/she/it had
We haveWe had
You haveYou had
They haveThey had

Related articles

Share

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on whatsapp
Share on email
Taalhulp Engels

The website where you can learn English for free.

Since September 2020, Taalhulp Engels is a free website where everyone can learn English online. You can start as a complete beginner or you could improve your language skills further by making one of the numerous exercises. 

Favourites
Explore