Verbal Ability - Verbs


A verb is that word in a sentence that talks about an action.

For Example

  • He talks.
  • I sit.
  • We do.

In these sentences, the words “talks, sit, do, eat” mention what actions are done by the people. These are called “main verbs” as they take all or most of the responsibility of telling us about the actions.


A main verb uses “s” at the end when written after nouns of the pronouns — “he, she, it”.

  • I love to play.
  • He loves to play.
  • I like football.
  • Rahul likes football.
  • I hate cherries.
  • The boy hates cherries.

Regular Verbs and Irregular Verbs

Regular Verbs

Similarly, main verbs also change from the present form to the past form, mostly by using “ed” after the verb. These verbs are called “regular verbs”.

For Example

  • Use - Used
  • Call - called
  • Soil - Soiled


When regular verbs ending with ‘y’ change to the past form, they replace the y with ‘ied’.

For Example

  • Cry - cried
  • Try - tried
  • Dry - dried

Irregular Verbs

Many verbs don’t follow the ‘-ed’ or ‘-ied’ rule when changing to past form. These are called irregular verbs. The following is a list of some of the most commonly used irregular verbs −

Irregular Verb (Present Form) Irregular Verb (Past Form) Irregular Verb (when used with “have, has, had)
awake awoke awoken
be was, were been
beat beat beaten
become became become
begin began begun
bend bent bent
bet bet bet
bid bid bid
bite bit bitten
blow blew blown
break broke broken
bring brought brought
broadcast broadcast broadcast
build built built
burn burned or burnt burned or burnt
buy bought bought
catch caught caught
choose chose chosen
come came come
cost cost cost
cut cut cut
dig dug dug
do did done
draw drew drawn
dream dreamed or dreamt dreamed or dreamt
drive drove driven
drink drank drunk
eat ate eaten
fall fell fallen
feel felt felt
fight fought fought
find found found
fly flew flown
forget forgot forgotten
forgive forgave forgiven
freeze froze frozen
get got got (sometimes gotten)
give gave given
go went gone
grow grew grown
hang hung hung
have had had
hear heard heard
hide hid hidden
hit hit hit
hold held held
hurt hurt hurt
keep kept kept
know knew known
lay laid laid
lead led led
learn learned or learnt learned or learnt
leave left left
lend lent lent
let let let
lie lay lain
lose lost lost
make made made
mean meant meant
meet met met
pay paid paid
put put put
read read read
ride rode ridden
ring rang rung
rise rose risen
run ran run
say said said
see saw seen
sell sold sold
send sent sent
show showed showed or shown
shut shut shut
sing sang sung
sit sat sat
sleep slept slept
speak spoke spoken
spend spent spent
stand stood stood
swim swam swum
take took taken
teach taught taught
tear tore torn
tell told told
think thought thought
throw threw thrown
understand understood understood
wake woke woken
wear wore worn
win won won
write wrote written

Auxiliary Verbs (Be-form)

Verbs are also those actions that include a state of being, mood, existence and status. Let us discuss these cases in the following examples −

  • I am in a train.
  • He is busy.
  • They are late.

In these sentences, the action of being in a train, being busy and being late are explained using words like “is, am, and are” respectively. These verbs are called supporting verbs.


“Am, is, are, was, were” are collectively called the “Be-form” auxiliary verbs. When an action happens on a regular basis, we use the be-forms — “am, is, are”. When an action happened in the past, we use the be-forms — “was, were”.

List of auxiliary verbs and usage

  • Am − used with ‘I’ (when talking of a regular action)

  • Is − used with ‘he, she, it’ (when talking of a regular action)

  • Are − used with ‘you, we, they’ (when talking of a regular action)

  • Was − used with ‘he, she, it’ (when talking of past action)

  • Were − used with ‘we, you, they’ (when talking of past action)

Subject vs. Object

There are two ways in which nouns are used in sentences. The ones who are doing the action are the most important and powerful ones, according to grammatical structure, and they are called “subjects”.

For Example

  • I run.
  • He sits.
  • They talk.

Here, ‘I, he, they’ are responsible for the actions happening, hence we call them subjects.

The nouns that are not responsible for the action but simply participate in that are “objects”. They are normally used by the subjects to carry out an action.

For Example

  • I talk to Sriya.
  • He knows Richa.
  • She doesn’t want to see Raghav.

In these sentences, “Sriya, Richa, Raghav” are not responsible for the action of talking, knowing or not wanting to see, but they are being used by the subjects to do these actions.

Every subject can also be used as objects in other sentences. So let’s discuss the object form of these subjects −

Subject FormObject Form








  • Sentence1 − I told her to go

  • Sentence2 − She told me to keep quiet.

If we add these two sentences using the word ‘but’, we can find out that in the first sentence, ‘I’ was the subject, but it became an object in the second case. The opposite happened with ‘her’ which was an object but became a subject in the second sentence ‘she’. For example, I told her to go but she told me to keep quiet.

The Two Kinds of Verbs

Transitive verbs − These verbs need an object to carry on an action.

For Example

  • She talked to me.
  • I met him.
  • She taught them.

In these three sentences, “me, him, them” were used to carry out the action as the actions “talked, met, taught” are impossible to do alone, without involving someone else.

Intransitive verbs − These verbs don’t need an object to carry an action.

For Example

  • Vina wept.
  • Zina cried.
  • The cat ran.

In these sentences, the actions “wept, cried, ran” don’t need the presence of any other person to be carried out, hence they are intransitive verbs.


Many people are often confused with the usage of the following pair of words −

  • Lay/Lie
  • Raise/Rise

Lay vs. Lie:

Lay − This means to place something and is most often used in the context of spreading something on a surface. ‘Lay’ becomes ‘laid’ in the past and remains ‘laid’ when used with “had, has, have”.

For Example

  • I lay this carpet on the floor before I sleep.
  • I laid this carpet before some time.
  • I have laid this carpet in this place for many months.

Lie − This means to recline and is usually used in the context of sleeping or resting. This also means giving a false statement. The word ‘lie’, when used as resting/sleeping, becomes ‘lay’ in past and becomes ‘lain’ when used with “had, has, have”.

For Example

  • I lie on this bed after work.
  • I lay on this bed yesterday.
  • I have lain on this bed for many months now.

The word ‘lie’, when used as a false statement, becomes ‘lied’ in the past. It remains ‘lied’ when used with “has, have, had”.

For Example

  • He lies a lot.
  • He lied a lot earlier.
  • He has lied to me a lot.

Raise vs. Rise:

Rise − Rise means to get up on your own. Its past tense is “rose” and becomes “risen” when used with “have, has, had”.

For Example

  • I rise at 4 every morning.
  • He rose early today.
  • He has risen already.

Raise − Raise means to lift something up using someone else’s strength. It is used as “raised” in past and also with “has, have, had”.

For Example

  • I raised the ball from the floor.
  • He raised the bar very high.
  • They have raised this question many times already.