The Thing Your English Teacher Did Not Tell You

Did you know there are three types of verbs? I don't mean forms of verbs because we have different forms of verb, but three types of verbs. However, our English teachers only taught us two types of verb, which are: Auxiliary Verbs and Lexical Verbs.

Today, I am going to tell you the third type of the English Verb, with examples.

Verbs are words that are used to describe processes, actions, events, state ( that is, the state of being) etc.

There are three(3) types of verb:
  1. Auxiliary Verbs.
  2. Lexical Verbs.
  3. Catenative Verbs.
Auxialiary verbs are traditionally described as helping verbs. They are syntactically dependent verbs. In other words, they require the lexical verbs to function. e.g.
I    can      write.
      aux.       Lex.

However, they are not semantically dependent, that is, they have their own meanings, e.g. 'Can' means permission (Can I take your book home?). It also means possibility (e.g. It can happen anywhere). 'Can' also means ability (e.g. I can do it).

There are two(2) types of auxiliary verbs:
  1. Primary Auxiliary Verbs.
  2. Secondary Auxiliary Verbs.
Primary Auxiliary Verbs are: BE, HAVE and DO. They are very unique in the sense that they function as both auxiliary and lexical verbs, and they have different forms.

The different forms of 'BE' are:  'be' 'am' 'is' 'are' 'was' 'were' 'being' and 'been'. It is also known as the verb 'To be.'

The different forms of this auxiliary are: 'have' 'has' 'had' and 'having.'

The different forms of this auxiliary are: 'do' 'does' 'did' 'doing' and 'done.'

Secondary Auxiliary Verbs are also called Modal auxiliary verbs or modals, and are twelve(12) in number. We have the core modals which are nine in number, and the marginal modals which are three in number.

The core modals are: can, could, will, would, may, might, shall, should and must.

The marginal modals are: ought, need, and dare.

Lexical verbs are traditionally known as main verbs, e.g. come, go, write, slap, sit etc.

They also have different forms: the base form of the verb, that is, the original state of the verb (go), the 's' form of the verb (goes), the past tense form of the verb (went), the present continuous tense of the verb (going), the past participle tense form of the verb (gone).

This is the third type of verb your English teacher didn't teach you.

Catenative verb is a verb that allows other lexical verbs to follow  it in a sentence, e.g. 'make do'.

Let's make do of what we have.

'Make' in the sentence is the catenative verb whereas 'do' is the lexical verb following it.

Other examples are:

'Help tidy'
  C.       L.
Could you please help tidy the house?

'Stop talking'
  C.       L.
Please stop talking to me.

'Help mark'
  C.         L.
Please help mark my scripts.

'Let  go'
  C.     L.
The police won't let go the man.

'Regret to announce'
   C.           L.
We regret to announce the death of...

'Start writing'
  C.         L.
Start writing everybody.

'Pretending to help'
     C.                     L.
Ade is pretending to help you.

'Decide to withdraw'
    C.                L.
You may decide to withdraw from the programme if you are not prepared to work hard.

Other catenative verbs include: 'keep standing' 'Try helping' 'keep wondering' 'need to study' 'plan to overthrow' etc.

It is important to note that very few words are catenative in English.

In sum, the 'verb' is a very unique word class in English language because without it, there is no sentence.

Tamuno Reuben

Those who seek knowledge seek power because the pen is mightier than the sword.

Previous Post Next Post

Contact Form