Least Tern > English Class > Grammar > Humbug's Grammar

A Humbug's Grammar


Simple Predicates | Identifying | Predicates
Exercises: Identifying Subjects and Verbs


Verbs (Simple predicates)

Verbs give the subjects something to do, or be.

This wonderful list of things is just that - a list  - a list waiting for something to happen to it. The list needs a verb to make it understandable.

Verbs are words that express action or state of being. Verbs tell us what is happening, what happened, or what will happen.


Hints to identify verbs

Verbs are words that will make sense if they follow the pronouns that can be used as subjects: I, you, he, she, it, we, they


(Note verbs - through their suffixes and "helping/linking" verbs - have a tense that tells you whether something happened, will happen, or is happening.)

Other parts of speech make no sense when they follow the same pronouns:

*Note - English can be irritating. Some words like "want" can be either a verb (I want) or another part of speech. This girl is Want (noun).

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The "verb" of a sentence is part of the predicate. In most English sentences, the predicate includes all of the words that follow the verb.

The presence of the first spirit amazed Scrooge.

The images of his past caused a change in Scrooge's attitude.

The portly gentlemen wanted Scrooge to give money for charity.

Just like the subject includes the simple subject and all the words, phrases, and clauses that modify it, the predicate includes the verb (also called "the simple predicate") and all the words, phrases, and clauses that modify it.  Sometimes these words phrases or clauses can precede the subject. If they occur in the beginning of a sentence, they are usually set off by a comma.

After it had passed away, they were ten times merrier than before

When Scrooge's nephew laughed in this way: holding his sides, rolling his head, and twisting his face into the most extravagant contortions, Scrooge's niece, by marriage, laughed as heartily as he.

Scrooge reverently did so.

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Introduction  | Subjects | Verbs | Subject, Predicate | Objects | Phrases | Clauses
The Simple Sentence | The Compound Sentence | The Complex Sentence
The Compound-Complex Sentence | Sentence types in a paragraph


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Elizabeth Sky-McIlvain 3/27/03