The Difference Between Types of Verb and Forms of Verb

The Difference Between Types of Verb and Forms of Verb

The English Language is not as easy as many think, as even its graduates and native speakers can become preys to its embarrassing chains. For the past few months, I have been able to interview several teachers and graduates of English on English Verbs, and in course of explaining the English verbs, 70% of them were unable to state the difference between 'types of verb' and 'forms of verb.' One of them was bold enough to tell me that 'regular and irregular verbs' are the two types of verb we have in English.

Well, ignorance can be embarrassing at times. In English language, there are 'types of verb' and there 'forms of verb.' This tutorial will enable us make a sharp distinction between them.

Types of Verb
All English verbs are categorized into two main types:
1. Auxiliary (Helping) Verb.
2. Lexical (Main) Verb.

Read more on the types of verb HERE

Forms of Verb
Forms of verb simply mean the different forms verbs (weather auxiliary or lexical verbs) can take. There are different forms of verb in English:
1. Regular Verbs
Regular verbs are verbs that form their past tense and past participle by adding 'd' or 'ed' or 't' to their base forms. In other words, they adopt the regular 'd', 'ed' or 't' while forming their past tense or past participle. They are also known as weak verbs. 
Jump ------Jumped -----Jumped.
Learn -----Learnt -----Learnt
Sleep -----Slept -----Slept.

Therefore, 'jump, learn and sleep' are regular verbs.

2. Irregular Verbs
Irregular verbs are also known as strong verbs because they don't take the regular’d’, 'ed' 'ied', or 't' to form their past tense and past participle.
Go -----Went -----Gone.
Get -----Got -----Gotten.

3. Transitive Verbs
Transitive verbs are verbs that occur with direct object or complement.
He has a book.
He killed the snake.

'Kill' and 'has' in the sentences above are transitive verbs because they occur with the direct objects: 'snake' and 'book' respectively.

4. Intransitive Verbs
Transitive verbs don't occur with direct objects or complement but can occur with or without adjunct.
The man died.
The man died tragically.

'Died' in both sentences is an intransitive verb. Whereas in the first sentence it occurs without the adjunct, 'tragically', in the second sentence it occurs with the adjunct, 'tragically.'

5. Finite Verbs
Finite verbs are verbs that reflect for number and person. They change as the number of the subject in a sentence changes in order to establish an agreement between the subject and the verb.
Emeka has three books.
Emeka and Chidi have three books.

'Has' and 'have' are finite verbs as they reflect for number or person.  Where you have a singular subject (like in example one), 'has' is used and where you have a plural subject (like in example two), 'have' is used.

To really understand this, read the rules of concord HERE

6. Non-Finite Verbs
Non finite verbs are verbs that don't reflect for number or person. They maintain their forms irrespective of the number of the subject in a sentence. Non finite verbs comprise the continuous tense and past participle tense of a verb.
Emeka is putting his hands in his pockets.
Emeka and Tammy are putting their hands in their pockets.

In the examples above, 'putting' is a non finite verb because it maintains its form whether the subject is singular or plural.

In sum, the two main types of verb (lexical and auxiliary) are the verbs taking these different forms and these different forms can also be grouped under either of the two main types of verb.

Hope you learnt something new today?

Tamuno Reuben

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


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