Tips and Self-Assessment Quiz On Verbs

Tips on Verbs

Tips on answering questions in English grammar related to Verbs

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Learning Pundits Content Team

Written on Oct 3, 2017 3:30:56 AM

Grammar Rules with 16 Tips on using Verbs

What is a Verb?

Verbs are words that describe an action, an occurrence, or a state of being; mental, physical, or mechanical. Verbs form one of the main parts of a sentence or question in English.

Function of Verb: It answers the following questions

a)    What a person or thing do? She teaches in school. (active)

b)    What is done to a person or a thing? The house was cleaned. (passive)

c)    What is the time of action? I am going to Jaipur tomorrow. (future tense)

d)    What a person or thing is? My brother is a doctor. (‘be’ as an ordinary verb)

Types of Verbs:

1.    Auxiliary Verb (Be, Have, Do): used together with a main verb to show the verb’s tense or to form a negative or a question: Does Sam write his own reports?

2.    Modal Verb: Can/Could, Will/ Would, Shall/ Should, May/Might--used to express ability, possibility, permission or obligation: You can go to school.

3.    Transitive Verb: action of verb transits/ passes over to an object: She ate the fruits. (fruits is ‘direct object’)

4.    Intransitive Verb: action of verb does not transit/pass over to an object: The cat sneezed.

5.    Stative Verb: relates to a state of being, a thought, or an emotion but not an action: He feels elated.

6.    Action Verb: expresses physical or mental action: She is walking in the park. (or) He believes that it can be done.

7.    Regular Verb: takes add -ed or -d to the base form of the verb to create the past forms: (Play-Played)

8.    Irregular Verbs don’t take on the regular –d, -ed, or -ied spelling patterns of the past simple or past participle: (Catch-Caught)

9.    Phrasal Verb: made with a main verb and another word (either a preposition or a particle) and forms a meaning different to the main verb: A burglar will often break a window to break in.

10. Finite Verb: shows tense and are conjugated to agree with the subject: She was waiting in the room.

11. Non-Finite Verb: do not show tense. They are of three types:

a)    Participle: usually formed by adding –ing or –ed to a verb. It functions as an adjective: The singing bird was the main attraction at the event.

b)    Gerunds: formed by adding –ing to a verb. It functions as a noun: Smoking is prohibited in the hospital.

c)    Infinitive: formed by using the word ‘to’ before the verb in its stem word. It functions as a noun, adjective or adverb: Shalini loves to talk.

12. Link Verb: Some verbs are followed by either a noun or an adjective: He became angry. (noun + verb + adjective)

13. Causative Verb: used to indicate that some person/thing makes, requires, forces or helps to make something happen: I made my friend write a letter.

Tips on using Verbs:

Tip #1: Singular-Plural

Subject-Verb Agreement: Subjects and verbs must AGREE with one another in number (singular or plural).

a)    A singular subject takes a singular verb: The dog growls when he is angry.

b)    A plural subject takes a plural verb: The dogs growl when they are angry.

c)    Phrases between the subject and verb not affect agreement: The dog, which belongs to my relatives, usually growls at strangers.

Tip #2: Verbs in Tense

In the present tense: Nouns ADD an s to the singular form; Verbs REMOVE the s from the singular form.

a)    Singular: The dog chases the cat.

b)    Plural: The dogs chase the cat.

In the simple past tense: The verb remains the same when without any helping verbs.

a)    Singular: The girl talked to me.

b)    Plural: The girls talked to me.

Is-are, was-were, has-have, does-do: When helping verbs are used with a main verb, there must be Subject-Verb Agreement:

a)    Singular: The girl has talked to me.

b)    Plural: The girls have talked to me.

Tip #3: Unlike, Besides, With, Except

As well as, Like, Unlike, Besides, in addition to, With, Together with, Along with, and not, Rather than, No less than, Except, Nothing, No more than: When these words join two or more subjects, the verb is used according to the first subject.

a)    Nothing but prayer is valuable. (here prayer is in singular number so we use singular verb ‘is’)

b)    The coach as well as the players was honored by the government. (the first subject ‘coach’ is singular so we use singular verb ‘was’, not ‘were’)

Tip #4: Either-Or, neither Nor

Not only-But also, Either-or, Neither-nor, none-but: When these words join two or more subjects, the verb is used according to the nearest subject.

a)    One or two books is are needed. (Nearest subject ‘books’ is in plural so we use plural verb ‘are’)

b)    None but the students are responsible for the chaos in the class.

c)    Neither the class teacher nor the students were present in the assembly.

Tip #5: Each, Every

Each, Every, None, Anyone, Neither and Either: When these words are used as pronouns or adjectives, the following verb should be in the third person singular.

a)    Neither of the two workers have has come today. (Though we are talking about two workers, we still use ‘has’)

None: when used with uncountable nouns, verb is singular.

a)    None of the information is correct.

Each: when used after subject, verb is plural.

a)    They each are obedient.

b)    Each of the students is obedient. (Here ‘each’ is an adjective, so singular verb)

Tip #6: Many A/An, More than One

Many A/An, More than One: These expressions should be followed by a singular noun and singular verb.

a)    Many a candidate has applied for the job. (The noun ‘candidate’ and the verb ‘has’ is in singular due to use of ‘many a’)

b)    Many candidates have applied for the job. (Noun and verb both plural)

c)    More than one man was absent. (The noun ‘man’ and the verb ‘was’ is in singular due to use of ‘more than one’)

d)    More men than one were absent. (In case of ‘more men than one’, the verb is plural)

Tip #7: Plural Noun (time, distance, period)

Amount, Sum, Quantity, Time, period, Distance: When these are expressed using plural nouns, the following verb is singular.

a)    Two miles are is too far to walk.

b)    Hundred rupees is the entry fee. (‘Hundred rupees’ is considered one amount of money)

c)    Hundred rupees were scattered on the floor. (In this sentence, ‘hundred rupees’ is considered to be hundred individual rupee notes and not a single unit)

Tip #8: Collective Noun

Family, Herd, Choir, Group, Team, Group and Population: These types of collective nouns are followed by both singular and plural verbs, depending on the intent.

a)    The class is in session. (Here ‘class’ is referring to the whole group so we have a singular verb)

b)    The class are taking their tests today. (The ‘class’ in this sentence is referring to each member as an individual so it uses a plural verb

Tip #9: And

If two subjects are joined by "and," the verb is plural:

a)    Bread and butter are sold here.

If the two subjects separated by "and" refer to the same person or thing, the verb is singular:

a)    Bread and butter is difficult to earn. (Here ‘bread and butter’ is a compound noun)

b)    Rice and fish is my mom's favorite dish.

Tip #10: It, Here, There

It: When sentence begins with ‘It’, the verb is according to the subject indicated by ‘It’).

a)    It is a real challenge to find a good deal on a car. (‘Finding a good deal’ is the subject which is singular)

There, Here: When sentences start with “there” or “here,” the subject will always be placed after the verb and verb is conjugated in agreement with the subject.

a)    There is a problem with the balance sheet.

b)    Here are the papers you requested.

Tip #11: Number Of, Wages, Means

Number of:

a)    The number of musicians signing to record labels increases each year.

b)    A number of musicians intend to get a contract deal each year.


a)    Means are more important than the ends.

b)    A fair means is more important the foul ones.


a)    The wages/wage in IT are/is the highest. (wage meaning rate of compensation)

b)    The wages of sin is death. (here wage means recompense or return)

Tip #12: Plenty, Variety, Lot, Percentage

Plenty of, Rest of, Variety of, a lot of, fraction of, Per cent of: In these cases we use singular verb with uncountable nouns and plural verb with countable nouns.

a)    Plenty of milk is available in the store. (Milk is uncountable so singular verb)

b)    A variety of books are available. (Books are a countable noun, so plural verb)

Percent/ Percentage:

a)    Twenty per cent of the students have cleared the exam.

b)    The percentage of the successful candidate is low. (Verb is singular in case of percentage)

Tip #13: Subjunctive Mood

Subjunctive Mood: used to express things that are hypothetical, wishful, imaginary, or factually contradictory.

Were’ replaces ‘was’ in sentences that express a wish or are contrary to fact:

a)    If Ramesh were here, you'd be sorry.

b)    I wish it were Saturday.

As if/As though:

a)    She behaves as if she was were the landlady.

Tip #14: Subject-Verb Inversion

Interrogation: Subject-Verb inversion happens in questions.

a)    What is the problem?

b)    What are the problems?

c)    Did he come to work on time?

Inversion also happens when the sentence is introduced by adverb:

a)    So quickly did she finish her assignment that we were astonished.

Inversion occurs when the verb is meant to be a wish or prayer:

a)    May you be blessed with a long life.

Tip #15: Transitive, Intransitive Verbs

Transitive Verb:

a)    Require an object

b)    Transfer their action to the object

She wrote a book. (Verb ‘write’ transfers the action to single object ‘a book’)

She offered him (first object) her book. (Second object). (Verb ‘offer’ transfers the action to two objects ‘him’ and ‘her book’)

Intransitive Verb:

a)    Don’t require an object

b)    They run. (Verb ‘run’ has no object)

c)    She slept. (Verb ‘slept’ has no object)

Tip #16: Irregular Verbs

Irregular Verbs: Verbs that don’t take on the regular –d, -ed, or -ied spelling patterns of the past simple (or past participle.

Base      Simple past         Past Participle

Be         Was, Were,         Been

Arise       Arose                  Arisen

Begin      Began                  Begun

Irregular verbs where past and past participle remain the same:

Base      Simple past         Past Participle

Bid       Bid                      Bid

Cost      Cost                   Cost

Hit        Hit                        Hit

Spot the Errors:

Each of the following sentences will contain a mistake in the usage of Verbs. See if you can spot that mistake.


The percentage of successful candidates are very high. (Incorrect)

The percentage of successful candidates is very high. (Correct)


My mother no less than my father are strict. (Incorrect)

My mother no less than my father is strict. (Correct)


Every student and every teacher have participated in the school event. (Incorrect)

Every student and every teacher has participated in the school event. (Correct)


Three fourths of my salary go to taxes. (Incorrect)

Three fourths of my salary goes to taxes. (Correct)


Six months are needed to complete the assignment. (Incorrect)

Six months is needed to complete the assignment. (Correct)


Thirty five percent of the population are educated. (Incorrect)

Thirty five percent of the population is educated. (Correct)


A lot of my friends lives here. (Incorrect)

A lot of my friends live here. (Correct)


She requested that he raises his hand. (Incorrect)

She requested that he raise his hand. (Correct)


A bouquet of yellow roses lend color and fragrance to the room. (Incorrect)

A bouquet of yellow roses lends color and fragrance to the room. (Correct)


Either Anita or Ashish are helping today with the arrangements. (Incorrect)

Either Anita or Ashish is helping today with the arrangements. (Correct)


A scooter and a car is my means of transportation. (Incorrect)

A scooter and a car are my means of transportation. (Correct)


Breaking and entering are against the law. (Incorrect)

Breaking and entering is against the law. (Correct)


Neither the plates nor the serving bowl go in the dishwasher. (Incorrect)

Neither the plates nor the serving bowl goes in the dishwasher. (Correct)


Five years are the maximum sentence for that offense. (Incorrect)

Five years is the maximum sentence for that offense. (Correct)


Here is the keys to the first floor room. (Incorrect)

Here are the keys to the first floor room. (Correct)


I or he are to be rewarded? (Incorrect)

I or he is to be rewarded? (Correct)


They each is honest. (Incorrect)

They each are honest. (Correct)


Many an events have taken place in the stadium. (Incorrect)

Many an event has taken place in the stadium. (Correct)


Plenty of information are available on the internet. (Incorrect)

Plenty of information is available on the internet. (Correct)


At the party, they enjoyed. (Incorrect)

At the party, they enjoyed themselves. (Correct)

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Tips and Self-Assessment Quiz On Verbs



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