Verbs in English


Use of verbs in English

In English, verbs are action words and thereby expressing processes, actions, and states. In general, it can be said that the conjugation of the English verbs is far less complicated than the German one, as the forms in the different tenses are often the same for all persons.

Furthermore, English verbs are divided into the following three subgroups:

Main verbs can stand alone in a sentence:

fly (fly), eat (eat), write (write), see (see), have (have), etc.

“I often write letters to my friend in China.”

“Jennifer never eats meat.”

Auxiliary verbs serve, so to speak, ‘to help’ and can therefore normally not appear in a sentence without a main verb. In some sentences, such as B. in short answers, the respective main verb is also omitted, which is then referred to as EllipseEllipse – omission in the language. Some auxiliary verbs in sentences:

do (do/do), have (have), be (to be)

“This bakery doesn’t open before 9 o’clock.” (This bakery doesn’t open before 9 a.m.)

“We are sitting on the couch.” (We are currently sitting on the sofa.)

Modal verbs express modality (i.e. they show the way something is done) and are used very often, especially in spoken language. Like auxiliary verbs, modal verbs are not normally used alone:

can, could, may, will, must, should, etc.

“May I ask you a question?” (May I ask you something?)

“Harry can’t swim very well.” (Harry isn’t very good at swimming.)

Be careful: The three verbs ‘have, do’ and ‘be’ can be auxiliary or full verbs!

Example comparison:

“Lucas has a red bike.”

‘To have’ (has) as a main verb to indicate ownership

“They haven’t seen each other for a very long time.” (They haven’t seen each other in a long time.)

‘To have’ (haven’t) as an auxiliary verb to form the present perfect simple

In addition, ‘have, do’ and ‘be’ can sometimes be used together in one sentence and are then auxiliary and main verb:

“What do you do?” (What are you working on?)

“I haven’t had a cold for five years.” (I haven’t had a cold in five years.)

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