The Printable KISS Grammar Workbooks March 2010
Fillette au
Grand Chapeau
1908
by
Mary Cassatt
(1844-1926)
Single-Word Verbs

     Many verbs express action that is performed by the subject. There are thousands of such verbs in English. The following are examples.
 
Ginger wrote a story.
Bill argued with his friend.
They went on a trip.
Paula kept a diary.
Lance flew an airplane.
Anthony rode in one.
We built a snowman.
My father paints houses.
 
     Some common words do not express action, but they always function as verbs and therefore should always be underlined twice. The most common of these describe a "state of being." Most of these verbs are forms of the verb "to be" -- "am," "is," "are," "was," and "were." When used alone, these verbs state what the subject is, what kind of thing it is, or where it is:

Mysha was our cat.
Their neighbor is nice
I am in the garden.

Other words that are always verbs and that express "state of being" are "seem," "resemble," and "become."

The baby seems hungry.
That store resembles a barn.
The weather became nasty.

If you remember not just these words, but what the words mean, you should be able to recognize many other verbs. For example, "The weather turned nasty" means that the weather became nasty. Because "turned" means "became," it functions as a verb and should be underlined twice.

     The words "has" and "had" are always verbs, as is "have" (unless it follows the word "to" -- you'll learn more about that later).

Margaret has Ted's book.
The walls have pictures on them.

There are more words that function only as verbs. You'll learn about many of them in later lessons. For now, you need to remember that:

"Am," "is," "are," "was," "were," and "has," "had," and "have" (unless it follows "to") are always verbs that you should underline twice.