Writers Write creates writing resources and shares writing tips. We continue our parts of speech series by writing all about verbs.
What are parts of speech?
Language is made up of different words with different functions. These words are are known as parts of speech.
These categories are:
Today I will discuss verbs.
All About Verbs
Verbs are ‘doing’ words. They show action, a state of being, or express time. We have present, past, and future tense.
- I eat. (Present tense)
- I ate. (Past tense)
- I will eat. (Future tense)
Tip: The trend is to use the simple tense in writing. It’s clean, clear, and uncomplicated. It’s also user-friendly.
- Stand on their own.
- Have a subject.
- Have a number.
- Have a tense.
A finite verb makes a complete sentence with a subject. It can be in past, present, or future tense.
Subject = She
Number = One person
Tense = Present
Subject = They
Number = Many people
Tense = Past
- Do not show tense, person or number.
- Have a ‘to’ that comes before the verb.
- Must have a finite verb before the ‘to’.
It is preferred that you do not split the infinitive. Don’t say: ‘She wants to definitely work.’ You will split the infinitive.
She tiptoed so as not to wake anyone.
‘To wake’ does not show tense, person, or number.
‘to’ comes before the verb, wake
Tiptoed is a finite verb that comes before the word ‘to’
Examples: stride, grab, analyse, resolve, tiptoe, instruct, wobble, revise, scan
Avoid Nominalisation Of Verbs
This is also known as ‘nouning’. A nominalisation occurs when a verb (or other part of speech) is used as (or transformed into) a noun. Example: argue becomes argument
‘A nominalisation is a type of abstract noun. An abstract noun denotes an idea, quality, emotion, or state. It is something that is not concrete. It takes the power away from the original verb.’ (From Why You Should Not Use Nominalisations When You Write)
‘Phrasal verbs’ are a combination of words with a meaning beyond the individual words. They are verbs that are followed by a preposition or an adverb. Examples: give up, put off, pass out
Phrasal verbs are mainly used in spoken English and informal texts. We should avoid using them in formal and academic writing, where it is better to use a verb like ‘postpone’ than a phrasal verb like ‘put off’.
Here are some examples of phrasal verbs:
- 15 Most Useful Phrasal Verbs
- Understanding Phrasal Verbs – Two word verbs with ‘get’
- Understanding Phrasal Verbs – Two word verbs with ‘bring’
Look out for next week’s post on adverbs.
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