Verb


Verb
Examples
  • I washed the car yesterday.
  • The dog ate the homework.
  • John studies English and French.

A verb, from the Latin verbum meaning word, is a word (part of speech) that in syntax conveys an action (bring, read, walk, run, learn), or a state of being (be, exist, stand). In the usual description of English, the basic form, with or without the particle to, is the infinitive. In many languages, verbs are inflected (modified in form) to encode tense, aspect, mood and voice. A verb may also agree with the person, gender, and/or number of some of its arguments, such as its subject, or object.

Contents

Agreement

In languages where the verb is inflected, it often agrees with its primary argument (the subject) in person, number and/or gender. With the exception of the verb to be, English shows distinctive agreement only in the third person singular, present tense form of verbs, which is marked by adding "-s" (I walk, he walks) or "-es" (he fishes). The rest of the persons are not distinguished in the verb (I walk, you walk, they walk, etc.).

Latin and the Romance languages inflect verbs for tense–aspect–mood and they agree in person and number (but not in gender, as for example in Polish) with the subject. Japanese, like many languages with SOV word order, inflects verbs for tense/mood/aspect as well as other categories such as negation, but shows absolutely no agreement with the subject - it is a strictly dependent-marking language. On the other hand, Basque, Georgian, and some other languages, have polypersonal agreement: the verb agrees with the subject, the direct object and even the secondary object if present, a greater degree of head-marking than is found in most European languages.

Valency

The number of arguments that a verb takes is called its valency or valence. Verbs can be classified according to their valency:

  • Avalent (valency = 0): the verb has neither a subject nor an object. Zero valency does not occur in English; in some languages such as Mandarin Chinese, weather verbs like snow(s) take no subject or object.
  • Intransitive (valency = 1, monovalent): the verb only has a subject. For example: "he runs", "it falls".
  • Transitive (valency = 2, divalent): the verb has a subject and a direct object. For example: "she eats fish", "we hunt nothing".
  • Ditransitive (valency = 3, trivalent): the verb has a subject, a direct object, and an indirect object. For example: "He gives her a flower."

Weather verbs are often impersonal (subjectless, or avalent) in null-subject languages like Spanish, where the verb llueve means "It rains". In English, they require a dummy pronoun, and therefore formally have a valency of 1.[dubious ]

Intransitive and transitive verbs are the most common, but the impersonal and objective verbs are somewhat different from the norm. In the objective the verb takes an object but no subject; the nonreferent subject in some uses may be marked in the verb by an incorporated dummy pronoun similar to that used with the English weather verbs. Impersonal verbs in null subject languages take neither subject nor object, as is true of other verbs, but again the verb may show incorporated dummy pronouns despite the lack of subject and object phrases. Tlingit lacks a ditransitive, so the indirect object is described by a separate, extraposed clause.[citation needed]

English verbs are often flexible with regard to valency. A transitive verb can often drop its object and become intransitive; or an intransitive verb can take an object and become transitive. For example, the verb move has no grammatical object in he moves (though in this case, the subject itself may be an implied object, also expressible explicitly as in he moves himself); but in he moves the car, the subject and object are distinct and the verb has a different valency.

In many languages other than English, such valency changes are not possible; the verb must instead be inflected in order to change the valency.[citation needed]

Tense, aspect, and modality

A single-word verb in Spanish contains information about time (past, present, future), person and number. The process of grammatically modifying a verb to express this information is called conjugation.

Depending on the language, verbs may express grammatical tense, aspect, or modality. Grammatical tense[1][2][3] is the use of auxiliary verbs or inflections to convey whether the action or state is before, simultaneous with, or after some reference point. The reference point could be the time of utterance, in which case the verb expresses absolute tense, or it could be a past, present, or future time of reference previously established in the sentence, in which case the verb expresses relative tense.

Aspect[2][4] expresses how the action or state occurs through time. Important examples include:

  • perfective aspect, in which the action is viewed in its entirety though completion (as in "I saw the car")
  • imperfective aspect, in which the action is viewed as ongoing; in some languages a verb could express imperfective aspect more narrowly as:
  • habitual aspect, in which the action occurs repeatedly (as in "I used to go there every day"), or
  • continuous aspect, in which the action occurs without pause; continuous aspect can be further subdivided into
  • stative aspect, in which the situation is a fixed, unevolving state (as in "I know French"), and
  • progressive aspect, in which the situation continuously evolves (as in "I am running")
  • perfect, which combines elements of both aspect and tense, and in which both a prior event and the state resulting from it are expressed (as in "I have studied well")

Aspect can either be lexical, in which case the aspect is embedded in the verb's meaning (as in "the sun shines", where "shines" is lexically stative); or it can be grammatically expressed, as in "I am running".

Modality[5] expresses the speaker's attitude toward the action or state given by the verb, especially with regard to degree of necessity, obligation, or permission ("You must go", "You should go", "You may go"), determination or willingness ("I will do this no matter what"), degree of probability ("It must be raining by now", "It may be raining", "It might be raining"), or ability ("I can speak French"). All languages can express modality with adverbs, but some also use verbal forms as in the given examples. If the verbal expression of modality involves the use of an auxiliary verb, that auxiliary is called a modal verb. If the verbal expression of modality involves inflection, we have the special case of mood; moods include the indicative (as in "I am there"), the subjunctive (as in "I wish I were there"), and the imperative ("Be there!").

Voice

The voice[6] of a verb expresses whether the subject of the verb is performing the action of the verb or whether the action is being performed on the subject. The two most common voices are the active voice (as in "I saw the car") and the passive voice (as in "The car was seen by me" or simply "The car was seen").

Most languages have a number of verbal nouns that describe the action of the verb.

In the Indo-European languages, verbal adjectives are generally called participles. English has an active participle, also called a present participle; and a passive participle, also called a past participle. The active participle of break is breaking, and the passive participle is broken. Other languages have attributive verb forms with tense and aspect. This is especially common among verb-final languages, where attributive verb phrases act as relative clauses.

See also

Verbs in various languages

Grammar

Other

References

  1. ^ Comrie, Bernard, Tense, Cambridge Univ. Press, 1985.
  2. ^ a b Dahl, Osten, Tense and Aspect Systems, Blackwell, 1985.
  3. ^ Fleischman, Suzanne, The Future in Thought and Action, Cambridge Univ. Press, 1982.
  4. ^ Comrie, Bernard, Aspect, Cambridge Univ. Press, 1976.
  5. ^ Palmer, F. R., Mood and Modality, Cambridge Univ. Press, 2001.
  6. ^ Klaiman, M. H., Grammatical Voice (Cambridge Studies in Linguistics), Cambridge Univ. Press, 1991.
  • Gideon Goldenberg, "On Verbal Structure and the Hebrew Verb", in: idem, Studies in Semitic Linguistics, Jerusalem: Magnes Press 1998, pp. 148–196 [English translation; originally published in Hebrew in 1985].

External links

  • conjugation.com English Verb Conjugation.
  • Italian Verbs Coniugator and Analyzer Conjugation and Analysis of Regular and Irregular Verbs, and also of Neologisms, like googlare for to google.
  • El verbo en español Downloadable handbook to learn the Spanish verb paradigm in an easy ruled-based method. It also supplies the guidelines to know whenever a Spanish verb is regular or irregular

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Verb- — Verb …   Deutsch Wörterbuch

  • Verb — (von lat. verbum (temporale) „Zeitwort“) ist ein fachsprachlicher Ausdruck der traditionellen Grammatik für eine Wortart, die eine Tätigkeit, ein Geschehen oder einen Zustand ausdrückt, und erfasst Wörter wie gehen, denken, segeln und wandern.… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • verb — VERB, verbe, s.n. 1. Parte de vorbire care exprimă o acţiune sau o stare şi care se caracterizează prin flexiune proprie. 2. (livr.; la sg.) Mijloc, fel de exprimare; limbaj; cuvânt. – Din fr. verbe, lat. verbum. Trimis de RACAI, 04.02.2009.… …   Dicționar Român

  • Verb — Verb, n. [F. verbe, L. verbum a word, verb. See {Word}.] 1. A word; a vocable. [Obs.] South. [1913 Webster] 2. (Gram.) A word which affirms or predicates something of some person or thing; a part of speech expressing being, action, or the… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Verb T — is a UK hip hop artist based in London.He has released three albums and two EPs as well as numerous singles.His first release was the 16 track EP Backhand Slap Talk / Technical Illness which was a shared release featuring songs from fellow London …   Wikipedia

  • verb — [və:b US və:rb] n [Date: 1300 1400; : Old French; Origin: verbe, from Latin verbum word, verb ] a word or group of words that describes an action, experience, or state, such as come , see , and put on →↑auxiliary verb, ↑linking verb, ↑modal verb …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Verb — Sn Zeitwort erw. fach. (15. Jh., Form 18. Jh.) Entlehnung. Zunächst in lateinischer Form entlehnt aus l. verbum, auch: Wort, Ausdruck, Rede . Adjektiv: verbal.    Ebenso nndl. verbum, ne. verb, nfrz. verbe, nschw. verb, nnorw. verb. Zur… …   Etymologisches Wörterbuch der deutschen sprache

  • verb — late 14c., from O.Fr. verbe part of speech that expresses action or being, from L. verbum verb, originally a word, from PIE root *were (Cf. Avestan urvata command; Skt. vrata command, vow; Gk. rhetor public speaker, rhetra agreement, covenant …   Etymology dictionary

  • verb — ► NOUN Grammar ▪ a word used to describe an action, state, or occurrence, such as hear, become, or happen. ORIGIN Latin verbum word, verb …   English terms dictionary

  • verb — [vʉrb] n. [ME verbe < OFr < L verbum,WORD (used as transl. of Gr rhēma, verb, orig., word)] any of a class of words expressing action, existence, or occurrence, or used as an auxiliary or copula, and usually constituting the main element of …   English World dictionary

  • verb — Mot Monosíl·lab Nom masculí …   Diccionari Català-Català


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