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Arts & Letters Daily

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Verbs – Active and State of Being

Active and State of Being

Notes

Verbs are words that tell what people or things do, what happens to them or to give information about them. Every sentence and clause must have a verb.

1. Active Verbs

Active verbs express or describe action. Sentences and clauses must have a subject (noun or pronoun) and a verb. Most sentences and clauses have an active verb. Often, active verbs take an object in order to make a thought more complete. That is, the verb transfers action to the object while the object extends the meaning. So, here are two rules about active verbs:

Rule 1: All sentences and clauses have a verb. Most often it is an active verb.

Examples:

The train stopped. (‘Train’ is the subject (noun) and ‘stopped’ is verb that describes the action.

Most dogs bark. (‘Dogs’ is the subject and ‘bark’ is the verb that tells what ‘dogs’ do.)

Rule 2: Active verbs can take an object.

Examples:

Children climb trees. (‘Trees’ is the object of the verb ‘climb’. It tells what the children climb.)

Janet runs laps. (‘Laps’ is the object of the verb ‘runs’. It tells what Janet runs.)

2. State of Being Verbs

State of being verbs are a small group of verbs that do not express action. They are linking verbs. The verb ‘be’ is the most important linking verb. The main purpose of this verb is to serve as a link that joins the subject to a word in the predicate that adds meaning to the subject.

be Present Tense Past Tense Future TenseAdd ‘shall’ or ‘will’
First Person singular I am I was I will be
Second Person Singular You are You were You will be
Third Person Singular He/she/it is He/she/it was He/she/it will be
First Person Plural We are We were We shall shall
Second Person Plural You are You were You will be
Third Person Plural They are They were They will will

Chart 1. Verb ‘be’ – Present, Past and Future Tenses

State of being verbs link the subject to a noun or adjectives in the predicate.

Example: Bob is ill. (State of being verbs link the subject to a noun or pronoun in the predicate. ‘Is’ is part of the verb ‘be’. The word ‘ill’ is a predicate adjective that describes how Bob feels.)

Example: My friends were late. (State of being verbs link the subject to a noun or pronoun in the predicate. ‘Were’ is part of the verb ‘be’. The word ‘late’ is a predicate adjective that describes friends.)

3. Verbs acting as linking verbs

Some verbs act like the verb ‘be’ because they serve a linking function in the sentence. They join the subject to a word in the predicate that gives meaning to the sentence. These verbs can also act as action verbs. The Chart 2 lists these verbs.

appear                  become                   feel                  grow               keep               lookprove                    remain                     seem               smell               sound             stay

taste                     turn

Chart  2. Verbs acting like Linking Verbs

Examples: Linking Verbs

The cookies are delicious. (‘Are’ is a linking verb. It links the subject ‘cookies’ to the predicate adjective ‘delicious’.)

The cookies taste sweet. (‘Taste’ is a linking verb. It links the subject ‘cookies’ to the predicate adjective ‘sweet’.)

My forehead feels hot. (‘Feels’ is a linking verb. It links the subject ‘forehead’ to the predicate adjective ‘hot’.)

Examples: Linking verbs acting as action verbs

I smell smoke. (’Smell’ is an action verb and ‘smoke’ is the object. It explains what I smell.)

Mrs. Jones grows vegetables in her garden. (.‘Grows’ is an action verb and ‘vegetables’ is the object. It explains what Mrs. Jones grows.)

Assignment

Write the verbs in the correct column to indicate whether they are active verbs or state of

being verbs.

1. The young couple was excited about going on a cruise.

Active State of being

2. They arrived late yesterday because they drove slowly through the storm.

Active State of being

3. You are old enough to travel alone now that you are a teenager.

Active State of being
Active State of being

4. The chef was exhausted because he cooked all day.

Active State of being

5. When the chef prepares the food, it is always delicious.

Active State of being

6. Chefs prepare food carefully so that people do not get sick.

Active State of being

7. Many students who study food science are men.

Active State of being

8. Anne was never a very confident cook until she took a chef training course.

Active State of being

9. Doctors recommend a healthy diet and regular exercise.

Active State of being

10.  I am on a high fiber, low fat diet. I follow it faithfully.

Active State of being

11.  I inquired about the electricity bill many times before the company corrected it.

Active State of being

12.  Our neighbors are worried about drinking water from the well.

Active State of being

13.  The doctor is concerned about Bill’s fractured leg.

Active State of being

14.  You have finished your workday before I am out of bed.

Active State of being

15.  The workmen completed the foundation before winter set in.

Active State of being

16.  Mother is older but more active than her younger sister (is).

Active State of being

17.  Jane decided not to adopt a pet right now because she is rarely at home.

Active State of being

18.  We follow the water safety rules carefully when we drive the boat.

Active State of being

19.  The Norman Rockwell Exhibition is at the local art gallery.

Active State of being

20.  His paintings depict many aspects of everyday events and are cherished by many admirers.

Active State of being

Answer Key

Verbs – Active and State of Being

1. The young couple was excited about going on a cruise.

Answer: were – state of being

2. They arrived late yesterday because they drove slowly through the storm.

Answer: arrived – active

drove – active

3. You are old enough to travel alone now that you are a teenager.

Answer: are – state of being

are – state of being

4. The chef was exhausted because he cooked all day.

Answer: was – state of being

cooked – active

5. When the chef prepares the food, it is always delicious.

Answer: is – state of being

prepares – active

6. Chefs prepare food carefully so that people do not get sick.

Answer: prepare – active

get- active

7. Many students who study food science are men.

Answer: are – state of being

study –active

8. Anne was never a very confident cook until she took a chef training course.

was – state of being

took- active

9. Doctors recommend a healthy diet and regular exercise.

Answer: recommend – active

10. I am on a high fiber, low fat diet. I follow it faithfully.

Answer: am – state of being

follow  – active

11. I inquired about the electricity bill many times before the company corrected it.

Answer: inquired – active

corrected – active

12. Our neighbors are worried about drinking water from the well.

Answer: are – state of being

13. The doctor is concerned about Bill’s fractured leg.

Answer: is – – state of being

14. You have finished your workday before I am out of bed.

Answer: have finished – active

am – state of being

15. The workmen completed the foundation before winter set in.

Answer: completed – active

set – active

16. Mother is older but more active than her younger sister (is).

Answer: is – state of being

(is) – state of being

17. Jane decided not to adopt a pet right now because she is rarely at home.

Answer: decided – active

is – state of being

18. We follow the water safety rules carefully when we drive the boat.

Answer: follow – active

drive – active

19. The Norman Rockwell Exhibition is at the local art gallery.

Answer: is – state of being

20. His paintings depict many aspects of everyday events and are cherished by many admirers.

Answer: depict – active

are cherished – active