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In any given sentence or expression a noun or a pronoun in the subject part, and a VERB in the predicate part are compulsory. Without them you cannot possibly make a sensible sentence.
In some sentences, however, the subject part is omitted, without any change in the meaning of the sentence. But without a verb it is not possible to make a sentence at all.
For instance, it is hard to make out any sense of this following group of words:
“Oh! A great magician amazingly at the magic show and the audience it very well.”
Even if the listeners of this expression use their common sense and apply their already acquired knowledge of ‘magician’ ‘magic show’ ‘audience’ and ‘very well’, the actual meaning is not clear. Why?
Though nouns (magician, magic show, audience), pronoun (it), adjective (great), adverbs (amazingly, very, well), preposition (at), conjunction (and), interjection (Oh!) and the articles (a, the, the) are used in this group of words, the actual meaning [what did the magician do? or what happened at the magic show?] is lost because the most important part of speech – the verb – is missing!
Therefore, it is to be understood that to make an expression clear and interesting to the listener or reader, we need to use all or some of the Parts of Speech in their right positions, depending on the context and/or the situation, along with the articles, of course. But to make a group of words give us an idea at all, what we need most are the noun or pronoun and the verb.
The verb is not only the most important part of speech but also the most complicated one. No sentence can be made without it; in fact there are meaningful sentences with only one verb word.
Sit and relax.
Listen and understand.
What does a verb do?
A verb in a sentence does the job of showing the action (the actual physical action), the state of being or existence, or the possession (having or owning) of something.
a) Teachers talk a lot. They are playing golf. She has sung a song.
[The verbs ‘talk’, ‘are playing’ and ‘has sung’ show physical action.]
b) Mrs. Sarah Kenneth is our manager. They are our classmates.
[The verb words ‘is’ and ‘are’ tell us that the subjects of the sentences are there; there is, however, no mentioning of what they are doing or what activity is going on. They just exist.]
c) I have a large house.
They own an expensive car.
She had a dog.
[the verb words ‘have’, ‘own’ and ‘had’ tell us that the subjects of the sentences possess (own) something; it is not important here what they are doing with the things they have. They just have or own them.]
So, it looks so simple, doesn’t it? But it is only the outer crust we are looking at; and deep down there is a lot, and that ‘lot’ is very, very hot!
We do different activities at different times; we exist in different roles at different places at different times. And, while expressing them sensibly, all the responsibility lies on the verb word (or words) of an expression, in other words, it all depends on how we use the verb word (or words) of our expressions to suit our needs and purposes in making our listener or reader understand us clearly.
That is the reason for the Topic of Verb to be so important. And is it any wonder that the topic is so complicated? No! However, if we follow the right method of approach, in a systematic way, the complications can be sorted out easily, and the learning of verb can be made more interesting and purposeful.
The topic of verb (and even ‘grammar’ for that matter) is not an entity by itself; it is only one of the several different aspects of the language. We cannot separate it from other aspects, study it and say: “Now we have learned the most important aspect of the language and so we are ready to speak or write or understand the language as a whole!” No, we cannot.
And another important point to remember is that ‘we do not learn a language first and then start to use it’. We learn and use English language (or any other language including our mother tongue for that matter) making use of the rules and skills we have learned, listening to others, knowing new words and expressions and eventually using them as and when the situation arises and the context demands. This is like a life cycle in itself: the more you know, learn and use, the better your language will be, and the better your language, the higher your standards are, and so on…
Nevertheless, we are now dividing the verb into different sub-topics for our convenience, and study them step by step for more clarity and easier understanding.
The sub-topics are as follows:
Auxiliary: Primary & modal
Anomalous & non-anomalous
Link/linking Verbs or Verbs of Incomplete Predication or Copulas
Even after dividing the main topic into sub-topics, learning or analysing the verb is easier said than done. The difficulty is where to begin from – which sub-topic is to be dealt with first.
We follow the simpler way, and as the tradition suggests, we start with the basic items which stay with us all along the process.