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Language Arts Lesson 5

Instruction 5-2

Compound Sentences | Verbs | Modifiers | Pronouns | Adverbs | Prepositions | Summary


VERBS (Printer friendly version)

This is the first of five Instructions about parts of speech. Today's topic is verbs. Verbs put the action in our lives -- and in our sentences.

There are three different kinds of verbs: action verbs, helping verbs and state-of-being verbs.

Action Verbs

Action verbs do just what their name says. They describe an action. They tell you what somebody does. In the sentence, "Dimitri ran down the stairs," ran is an action verb. Here are some more action verbs: sing, walk, see, said, play, eat and cry.

Action verbs can also describe an action you can't see, such as: "Lucinda wanted a puppy." Or, "Rashid thought about football all day."

Unlike most other parts of speech, verbs can actually tell time. They tell you if something is happening right now. If something has already happened. Or if something is going to happen in the future.

If something is happening right now, it's called present tense. Here is an example: "My dog Blancita runs very fast."

If something happened in the past, it's called past tense: "My dog Blancita ran around the neighborhood yesterday."

If something is going to happen in the future, it's called future tense: "My dog Blancita will run in the dogsled race tomorrow."

Action verbs are often accompanied by helping verbs.

Helping Verbs

As we said, an action verb often has a helping verb added to it. There are 23 helping verbs and sooner or later you are going to have to memorize them. So maybe you should do it now. They are grouped in six different families and here they are:

may, might, must
be, being, been, am, are, is, was, were
do, does, did
should, could, would
have, had, has
will, can, shall

A helping verb "helps" a main (action) verb become more specific. Here's an example: "Kid Rock may sing at the concert Thursday." Putting the helping verb may before the action verb sing tells us that Kid Rock may or may not perform. In the sentence, "The wakeboard could have floated across the lake," the complete verb is could have floated.

There can be up to three helping verbs attached to any main verb. For example: "That dirty dog must have been digging in the garden." The helping verbs are must, have and been. The main verb is digging. So the complete verb is must have been digging.

Three of the six families of helping verbs can also stand alone as main verbs in a sentence. Those families are:

be, being, been, am, are, is, was, were
do, does, did
have, had, has

Here is how you could use them as main verbs: "We are fourth graders." "Armelia does gymnastics." "Michael has a cold."

State-of-being Verbs

Action verbs describe what somebody does. State-of-being verbs describe what somebody is. There are eight state-of-being verbs. As long as you are memorizing, you might want to memorize them, too. They are:

be, being, been, am, are, is, was, were

Yes, you're right. They're helping verbs, too. Use them as main verbs like this: "We are fourth graders." "Fatima is beautiful." "The runners were exhausted." Use them as helping verbs like this: "Patty is going to the park." Guadalupe was riding her bicycle."

The verbs be, being and been always need helping verbs: "Aretha has been sick." "Albert is being stubborn." "Tomorrow could be Test Day."

State-of-being verbs, like other verbs, tell time. The present tense state-of-being verbs are am, are and is. The past tense state-of-being verbs are was and were.

Don't worry --- other parts of speech are much less complicated than verbs. To learn more about verbs, click on any of these Student, Parent and Teacher links:

Links for Students, Parents and Teachers

Now let's do Practice Exercise 5-2 (top). Choose printer friendly or online exercises. Printer friendly version requires the Adobe Acrobat Reader 5. Click HERE to obtain a free copy.


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