English Grammar In Focus
Learning English Grammar As A Foreign Language

date: April 11, 2011

More About Verb In English

Belajar Bahasa Inggris Grammar & Conversation Lengkap
Based on the requests sent to my email (oshinmc@gmail.com), mostly students who learn English as a second language still get confused the world of Verb. I have informed them to browse the lessons in this blog but they said that I have to summarize all discussions about verbs in English. To understand the verbs we need to learn it intensively. I do not mean this will make you frustrated in learning English, but that's the fact. Here, I try to discuss and to summarize what actually verb is.

Verb is an action. Action, in this case, is not always a deed which is physically done by a thing, an animal or human. It can be an abstract thing, e.g. I am thinking. /thinking/ is an abstract action. It is located in our mind and does something based on its characteristic. It is different of physical action like, /write/, e.g. I write., which can be seen physically.

There are two kinds of verb in English. This statement refers to general kinds of verb, fundamentally, should be understood first:

1. Lexical Meaning Verb, and
2. Structural Meaning Verb

Lexical meaning verb

Lexical meaning verbs are verbs which can be translated and have certain meaning. To prove it, you can look up your dictionary. e.g. /find/, /write/, /go/, /tell/, /work/, /teach/, etc.

For example:

I work all day.
She tells me everything.
I like teaching English.
I teach biology.

Structural Meaning Verb


Structural meaning verbs are verbs which can not be translated and do not have certain meaning. The verbs are used to take part in a sentence building, e.g. /am/, /is/, /were/, /was/, /are/, etc. Let me say that the verb "be" that we always find in our daily learning teaching process at school is a structural meaning verb. We can say the verb "be" as a verb if it is used in nominal sentence. However, it will be an auxiliary in verbal sentence.

For example:

In Nominal Sentence:
e.g. I am fine. (/am/ is the structural meaning verb)

In Verbal Sentence:
e.g. I am reading a newspaper. (/am/ is an auxiliary in present continuous tense)

Both patterns above which concerns the use of "be" must be understood first.

There are two kinds of verb in lexical meaning verb:

1. Bare Infinitive (e.g. go, tell, smile, work, dance, eat, etc.)
2. To infinitive (e.g. to go, to tell, to smile, to work, to dance, to eat, etc.)

From the statement above, I'm sure that you candistinguish the difference between bare infinitive and to infinitive.

For example:

1. I finish the duty sooner.
2. I try to finish the duty sooner.

In (1), the verb /finish/ is bare infinitive and in (2), /to finish/ is to infinitive. To infinitive comes before bare infinitive. In other words, bare infinitive precedes to infinitive. It is impossible if we place to infinitive at the first order.

For example:

I begin to go on a lecture today. (good order)
I to begin ........... (bad order or use)
I to go ............ (bad order or use)


BARE INFINITIVE (alone)
e.g. I go.

BARE INFINITIVE + TO INFINITIVE
e.g. I begin to go.

Based on the basic forms of verb, bare infinitive is divided into 4 types:

1. Verb-1 or present verb, e.g. go, send, tell, think, work, etc.
2. Verb-2 or past verb, e.g. went, sent, told, thought, worked, etc.
3. Verb-3 or perfect verb or past participle, e.g. gone, sent, told, thought, worked, etc.
4. Verb-4 or "-ing" form verb or present participle, e.g. going, sending, telling, thinking, working, etc.

For example:

I work.
I worked.
I have worked.
I'm working.

You can see them in your list of Irregular and Regular Verbs except the verb-4. It is one of the methods for me to teach my students about English as a second language and they are good enough in understanding the verbs.

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