Classifications of verbs in English

Classifications of verbs in English

The number of types of verbs in English will amaze the imagination, and some types are even more, because they do not even exist in some other languages. In order to at least slightly clarify this topic, let's delve into it and mentally put the verbs on the shelves. 

A verb is a part of speech that answers the question “what to do?” and means an action. In English, a verb can also mean the state of a person or thing. It's difficult, but you can figure it out. The main form, as in any other language, is the infinitive with the particle to. 

  • to forget 
  • to sing 
  • to create 
  • to like 

What other verbs are there? 

Regarding the structure, there are four classifications: simple, complex, compound and derivative. 

Simple verbs include those in which there is only a root: 

  • eat 
  • go 
  • run 
  • hurt 

Compound verbs have two roots: 

  • Overcome 
  • Underestimate 
  • Understand 

Derived verbs include those to which a prefix and / or suffix has been added 

  • Reread 
  • Misspell 

Compounds, which are also called phrasal, consist of a verb and a preposition, or adverb: 

  • Take off 
  • Make up 
  • Give away 
  • Look forward 

According to the criterion of meaning, verbs are divided into auxiliary (service) and semantic. 

Semantic (independent) have their own lexical meaning, meaning an action or state: 

  • Chris writes music. 
  • Peter watches a lot of cartoons. 
  • Sam dances very good. 

Auxiliary verbs can't do that. They do not have their own meaning and only help to build sentences. They are part of the compound verb predicate and can indicate the person, number, or time of the action. 

  • Do you want to get some rest? 
  • I am off to bed now. 
  • I haven’t had my dinner yet. 

Among them, one can also distinguish linking verbs that give the subject a certain state; auxiliary verbs that serve to form complex verb forms; and modal verbs expressing the attitude of the speaker to the action, the rules or the form of obligation. 

Also, the main forms should be added to the list: 

- infinitive - the initial form of the verb, familiar to everyone. In English, the infinitive is used with and without the -to particle, depending on the rule. 

  • To begin 
  • To forget 
  • To see 
  • To lose 

- past tense form - the second form of irregular verbs, or a verb with the -ed suffix, used in the Past Simple tense. 

break – broke  

  • hear – heard  
  • arrive – arrived  
  • stop – stopped  


  • He broke the school window last week. 
  • I heard strange noise coming outside. 
  • They arrived here yesterday. 
  • Bus stopped at the bus stop. 

- past participle - the third form of the verb, most often used in the perfect tenses of the active voices and in all passive tenses. 

  • Lose - lost 
  • Drive - driven 
  • Write - written 
  • Do - done 


  • I have lost my mind when I saw those shoes. I’m in love with them 
  • He had driven this car before he bought a new one.  
  • This book was written in 17th century.  
  • His work was done by the end of the workday.  

These are the well-known three forms of irregular verbs, in addition to which there are regular ones. And this is another classification. 

In general, the topic of verbs is as wide as the steppe, and in order not to get lost in it from the first ten steps, it is worth studying everything slowly, taking into account small details, because they may come in useful in the future.