Update: 2009-05-24 04:55 PM +0800

TIL

TIL English Grammar

05. Using Verbs

c05Use-Verb.htm

A compilation by U Kyaw Tun and staff of TIL (Tun Institute of Learning, http://www.tuninst.net ). Not for sale.

In the United States, periods and commas go inside quotation marks regardless of logic.
In the United Kingdom, Canada, and islands under the influence of British education, punctuation around quotation marks is more apt to follow logic. In American style, then, you would write: My favorite poem is Robert Frost's "Design." But in England you would write: My favorite poem is Robert Frost's "Design".

 

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UKT: To keep the file size down, I have split up the original folder into two: Using Verbs and Using Verb Tenses. Both the files are in the same folder.

05. Introduction to verbs
Using Verbs
05.01. Compound Verb
05.02. Auxiliary Verb
05.03. Transitive and Intransitive Verbs
05.04. Linking Verb
05.05. Verbal
05.05.01. Participle: Verbal acting as an adjective
05.05.02. Gerund: Verbal acting as a noun
05.05.03. Using Verbals
05.06. Forming and Using Verb Tense
05.06.01. Irregular Verb
05.07. Frequently-Confused Verbs
05.07.01. "Lie" and "Lay"
05.07.02. "Sit" and "Set"
05.rev.01. Review: Transitive and Intransitive Verbs
05.rev.02. Review: Linking Verbs
05.rev.03. Review: Frequently-Confused Verbs
Continued in Use of Verb tense - c05Use-Tense.htm 

UKT notes
• Types of verbs

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05. Introduction to verbs

The verb is perhaps the most important part of the sentence. A verb or compound verb asserts something about the subject of the sentence and expresses actions, events, or states of being.

UKT: See Types of Verbs in my notes.

In each of the following sentences, the verb or compound verb appears highlighted:

Dracula bites his victims on the neck.

The verb "bites" describes the action Dracula takes.

In early October, Giselle will plant twenty tulip bulbs.

Here the compound verb "will plant" describes an action that will take place in the future.

My first teacher was Miss Crawford, but I remember the janitor Mr. Weatherbee more vividly.

In this sentence, the verb "was" (the simple past tense of "is") identifies a particular person and the verb "remembered" describes a mental action.

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05.01. Compound Verb

You construct a compound verb out of an auxiliary verb and another verb.

In particular, you may use an auxiliary verb (also known as a helping verb) with the verb in order to create the many of the tenses available in English.

In each of the following sentences, the compound verb appears highlighted:

Karl Creelman bicycled around in world in 1899, but his diaries and his bicycle were destroyed.

The compound verb in this sentence is made up of the auxiliary "were" and the past participle "destroyed".

The book Seema was looking for is under the sofa.

Here the compound verb is made up of the auxiliary verb "was" and the present participle "looking".

They will meet us at the newest cafι in the market.

In this example the compound verb is made up of the auxiliary verb "will" and the verb "meet".

That dog has been barking for three hours; I wonder if someone will call the owner.

In this sentence the first compound verb is made up of the two auxiliary verbs ("has" and "been") and a present participle ("barking"). The second compound verb is made up of the auxiliary verb "will" and the verb "call".

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05.02. Auxiliary Verb

The most common auxiliary verbs are "be", "do", and "have", and you may also use these verbs on their own. You use "Will" and "shall" to express future time.

In each of the following examples, a verb commonly used as an auxiliary verb appears as a simple predicate:

She is the chief engineer.

The tea cups are in the china cabinet.

Garth does this kind of thing frequently.

My roommates and I do the laundry every second week.

I can't complete my assignment because he still has my notes.

They have several kinds of gelato in the display case.

Other common auxiliaries are "can", "could", "may", "might", "must", "ought", "should", "will", and "would". A verb like these is called a modal auxiliary and expresses necessity, obligation, or possibility.

The highlighted word in each of the following sentences is a modal auxiliary:

Zora was pleased to learn that she could take several days off.

The small freckled girl told her neighbours that she would walk their dog for an appropriate fee.

Henry told Eliza that she ought to have the hole in the bucket fixed.

The principal told the assembled students that the school board might introduce a dress code next autumn.

According to the instructions, we must leave this goo in our hair for twenty minutes.

Several words may intervene between the auxiliary and the verb which goes with it, as in the following sentences:

They have not delivered the documents on time.

The treasure chest was never discovered.

The health department has recently decided that all high school students should be immunised against meningitis.

Will you walk the dog tonight?

The ballet corps was rapidly and gracefully pirouetting about the stage.

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05.03. Transitive and Intransitive Verbs

Depending on the type of object they take, verbs may be transitive, intransitive, or linking.

The meaning of a transitive verb is incomplete without a direct object, as in the following examples:

incomplete: The shelf holds.
complete: The shelf holds three books and a vase of flowers.

incomplete: The committee named.
complete: The committee named a new chairperson.

incomplete: The child broke.
complete: The child broke the plate.

An intransitive verb, on the other hand, cannot take a direct object:

This plant has thrived on the south windowsill.

The compound verb "has thrived" is intransitive and takes no direct object in this sentence. The prepositional phrase "on the south windowsill" acts as an adverb describing where the plant thrives.

The sound of the choir carried through the cathedral.

The verb "carried" is used intransitively in this sentence and takes no direct object. The prepositional phrase "through the cathedral" acts as an adverb describing where the sound carried.

The train from Montreal arrived four hours late.

The intransitive verb "arrived" takes no direct object, and the noun phrase "four hours late" acts as an adverb describing when the train arrived.

Since the company was pleasant and the coffee both plentiful and good, we lingered in the restaurant for several hours.

The verb "lingered" is used intransitively and takes no direct object. The prepositional phrase "in the restaurant for several hours" acts as an adverb modifying "lingered".

The painting was hung on the south wall of the reception room.

The compound verb "was hung" is used intransitively and the sentence has no direct object. The prepositional phrase "on the south wall of the reception room" acts as a adverb describing where the paint hung.

Many verbs can be either transitive or intransitive, depending on their context in the sentence. In the following pairs of sentences, the first sentence uses the verb transitively and the second uses the same verb intransitively:

 transitive:
 
According to the instructions, we must leave this goo in our hair for twenty minutes.

In this example, the verb "leave" takes a direct object, the noun phrase "this goo".

intransitive:
We would like to stay longer, but we must leave.

In this example, the verb "leave" does not take a direct object.

transitive:
The audience attentively watched the latest production of The Trojan Women.

In this example, the verb "watch" is used transitively and takes the noun phrase "the latest production of The Trojan Women " as a direct object.

intransitive:
The cook watched while the new dishwasher surreptitiously picked up the fragments of the broken dish.

In this example, the verb "watched" is used intransitively and takes no direct object.

intransitive:
The crowd moves across the field in an attempt to see the rock star get into her helicopter.

Here the verb "moves" is used as an intransitive verb and takes no direct object.

transitive:
Every spring, William moves all boxes and trunks from one side of the attic to the other.

In this sentence "moves" is used as a transitive verb and takes the noun phrase "all the boxes and trunk" as a direct object.

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05.04. Linking Verb

A linking verb connects a subject to a subject complement which identifies or describes the subject, as in the following sentences:

The play is Waiting for Godot.

In this sentence, the linking verb "is" links the noun phrase "the play" to the identifying phrase "Waiting for Godot", which is called a subject complement.

Some of us thought that the play was very good.

In this sentence, the verb "was" links the subject complement "very good" to subject "the play".

Others thought it became tedious after the first fifteen minutes.

In this sentence, the linking verb "became" links the subject "it" to the subject complement "tedious". The phrase "after the first fifteen minutes"functions as a adverb modifying the clause "it became tedious".

The cast appears disorganised and confused; perhaps Beckett intended this.

Here "appears" is functioning as a linking verb that connects the subject "the cats" to its subject complement "disorganised and confused".

The play seems absurd to me.

The subject "the play" is joined to its subject complement "absurd" by the linking verb "seems".

Linking verbs are either verbs of sensation ("feel", "look", "smell", "sound", "taste") or verbs of existence ("act", "appear", "be", "become", "continue", "grow", "prove", "remain", "seem", "sit", "strand", "turn").

Many linking verbs (with the significant exception of "be") can also be used as transitive or intransitive verbs. In the following pairs of sentences, the first sentence uses the highlighted verb as a linking verb and the second uses the same verb as either a transitive or an intransitive verb:

Linking: Griffin insists that the water in Winnipeg tastes terrible.

In this sentence, the adjective "terrible" is a subject complement that describes a quality of the water.

Transitive: I tasted the soup before adding more salt.

Here the noun phrase "the soup" identifies what "I tasted". "The soup" is the direct object of the verb "tasted".

Linking:
My neighbour's singing voice sounds very squeaky despite several hours of daily practice.

In this example, the phrase "very squeaky" is a subject complement that describes or identities the nature of the "singing voice".

Transitive:
Upon the approach of the enemy troops, the gate-keeper sounded his horn.

Here the verb "sounded" takes a direct object, the noun phrase "his horn".

Linking:
Cynthia feels queasy whenever she listens to banjo music.

In this sentence, the adjective "queasy" is a subject complement that describes Cynthia.

Transitive:
The customer carefully feels the fabric of the coat.

Here the noun phrase "the fabric of the coat" is the direct object of the verb "feels" and identifies what the customer feels.

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05.05. Verbal

A verbal is a noun or adjective formed from a verb.

Writers sometimes make mistakes by using a verbal in place of a verb, and in very formal writing, by confusing different types of verbals. This section covers three different verbals:
1. the participle (which acts as an adjective),
2. the gerund (which acts as a noun), and
3. the infinitive (which also acts as a noun).

The fundamental difference between verbals and other nouns and adjectives is that verbals can take their own objects, even though they are no longer verbs:

Gerund: Building a house is complicated.

In this example, the noun phrase "a house" is the direct object of the verbal "building", even though "building" is a noun rather than a verb.

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05.05.01. Participle: Verbal acting as an adjective

A participle is an adjective formed from a verb. To make a present participle, you add "-ing" to the verb, sometimes doubling the final consonant :

"think" becomes "thinking"
"fall" becomes "falling"
"run" becomes "running"

The second type of participle, the past participle, is a little more complicated, since not all verbs form the past tense regularly. The following are all past participles:

the sunken ship
a ruined city
a misspelled word

Note that only transitive verbs can use their past participles as adjectives, and that unlike other verbals, past participles do not take objects (unless they are part of a compound verb).

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05.05.02. Gerund: Verbal acting as a noun

A gerund is a noun formed from a verb. To make a gerund, you add ``-ing'' to the verb, just as with a present participle. The fundamental difference is that a gerund is a noun, while a participle is an adjective:

gerund:
I enjoy running.
("Running" is a noun acting as the direct object of the verb "enjoy".)

participle:
Stay away from running water.
("Running" is an adjective modifying the noun "water".)

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05.05.03. Using Verbals

There are two common problems that come up when writers use verbals. The first is that since verbals look like verbs, they sometimes cause students to write fragmentary sentences:

[WRONG] Oh, to find true love!

[WRONG] Jimmy, swimming the most important race of his life.

The second problem is a very fine point, which most editors and some teachers no longer enforce. Although they look the same, gerunds and present participles are different parts of speech, and need to be treated differently. For example, consider the following two sentences:

I admire the woman finishing the report.

I admire the woman's finishing the report.

In the first example, "finishing" is a participle modifying the noun "woman": in other words, the writer admires the woman, not what she is doing;
in the second example, "finishing" is a participle, modified by the possessive noun "woman's": in other words, the writer admires not the woman herself but the fact that she is finishing the report.

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05.06. Forming and Using Verb Tenses

Rechecked: http://www.uottawa.ca/academic/arts/writcent/hypergrammar/tenses.html 081210

English speakers form many verb tenses by combining one of principal parts of the verb with one or more auxiliary verbs.

In order to form verb tenses you need a good grasp of the auxiliaries and the principal parts of the verb. There are four principal parts:
1. the basic form,
2. the present participle,
3. the past form, and
4. the past participle.

The basic form (or root of the verb is the form listed in the dictionary and is usually identical to the first person singular form of the simple present tense (except in the case of the verb "to be"):
• walk • paint • think • grow • sing

The infinitive form of the verb is a compound verb made up of the the preposition "to" and the basic form of the verb:
• to walk • to paint • to think • to grow • to sing

To form the present participle, add "-ing" to the basic form of the verb:
• walking • painting • thinking • growing • singing

Note that you cannot use the present participle as a predicate unless you use an auxiliary verb with it -- the word group "I walking to the store" is an incomplete and ungrammatical sentence, while word group "I am walking to the store" is a complete sentence. You will often use the present participle as a modifier.

The past form of verbs is a little trickier. If the verb is regular (or weak, you can create the past form by adding "-ed", "-d", or "-t" to the present form. When a basic form ends in "-y", you changed the "-y" to "-i-"; in many cases you should also double terminal consonants before adding "-ed" (see UKT notes  on Spelling words with Double Consonants).
• walked • painted • thought • grew • sang

The past participle of regular verbs is usually identical to the past form, while the past participle of irregular verbs is often different:
• walked • painted • thought • grown • sung

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05.06.01. Irregular Verb

Irregular verbs form the past participle and the past form without "-(e)d" or "-t", and frequently their past form and past participle are different. For example, the past form of the verb "break" is "broke" and the past participle is "broken".

This list contains the most common verbs that form their past tenses irregularly.

arise - arose - arise [UKT: rechecked 081210]
awake - awoke or awaked - awaked or awoken
awaken - awakened - awakened
bear (carry) - bore - borne
bear (give birth) - bore - [not given]

beat - beat - beaten or beat
be - was - been
become - became - become
begin - began - begun
bet - bet - bet

bid (offer) - bid - bid
bid (order, invite) - bade - bidden
bind - bound - bound
bite - bit - bitten
bleed - bled - bled

blow - blew - blown
break - broke - broken
breed - bred - bred
bring - brought - brought
burst - burst - burst

buy - bought - bought
cast - cast - cast
catch - caught - caught
choose - chose - chosen
cling - clung - clung

come - came - come
creep - crept - crept
cut - cut - cut
deal - dealt - dealt
dig - dug - dug

dive - dived or dove - dived
do - did - done
draw - drew - drawn
dream - dreamed or dreamt - dreamed or dreamt
drink - drank - drunk

drive - drove - driven
eat - ate - eaten
fall - fell - fallen
feed - fed - fed
feel - felt - felt

fight - fought - fought
find - found - found
flee - fled - fled
fly - flew - flown
forbid - forbade - forbidden

forget - forgot - forgotten
forgive - forgave - forgiven
forsake - forsook - forsaken
freeze - froze - frozen
get - got - got or gotten

give - gave - given
go - went - gone
grind - ground - ground
grow - grew - grown
hang (suspend) - hung - hung

hang (execute) - hanged - hanged
have - had - had
hear - heard - heard
hide - hid - hidden
hit - hit - hit

hold - held - held
hurt - hurt - hurt
keep - kept - kept
kneel - knelt or kneeled - knelt or kneeled
knit - knitted or knit - knitted or knit

know - knew - known
lay - laid - laid
lead - led - led
leap - leaped or leapt - leaped or leapt
leave - left - left

lend - lent - lent
let - let - let
lie - lay - lain
light - lighted or lit - lighted or lit
lose - lost - lost

make - made - made
mean - meant - meant
meet - met - met
mistake - mistook - mistaken
overcome - overcame - overcome

pay - paid - paid
prove - proved - proved or proven
put - put - put
quit - quit - quit
read - read - read

ride - rode - ridden
ring - rang - rung
rise - rose - risen
run - ran - run
say - said - said

see - saw - seen
seek - sought - sought
sell - sold - sold
send - sent - sent
set - set - set

shake - shook - shaken
shed - shed - shed
shoot - shot - shot
shrink - shrank or shrunk - shrunk
shut - shut - shut

sing - sang - sung
sink - sank - sunk
sit - sat - sat
slay - slew - slain
sleep - slept - slept

slide - slid - slide
sling - slung - slung
slink - slunk - slunk
speak - spoke - spoken
speed - sped or speeded - sped or speeded

spend - spent - spent
spin - spun - spun
spit - spit or spat - spit or spat
split - split - split
spread - spread - spread

spring - sprang or sprung - sprung
stand - stood - stood
steal - stole - stolen
stick - stuck - stuck
stink - stank or stunk - stunk

strew - strewed - strewn
stride - strode - stridden
strike - struck - struck
string - strung - strung
strive - stove or strived - striven or strived

swear - swore - sworn
sweep - swept - swept
swell - swelled - swelled or swollen
swim - swam - swum
swing - swung - swung

take - took - taken
teach - taught - taught
tear - tore - torn
tell - told - told
think - thought - though

thrive - throve or thrived - throve or thriven
throw - threw - thrown
thrust - thrust - thrust
wake - woke or waked - waked or woken
weep - wept - wept

win - won - won
wind - wound - wound
wring - wring - wrung
write - wrote - written

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05.07. Frequently-Confused Verbs

Writers often confuse the verb pairs "lie" and "lay" and "sit" and "set".
Editor's note: Remember what is confusing for Canadians is not necessarily confusing for  Myanmars and what is confusing for the Myanmars is not necessarily confusing for Canadians.

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05.07.01. "Lie" and "Lay"

UKT: <lie> and <lay> are found in the following sets of verbs:
lie, lay, lain (irregular verb) - {lθ:lyaung:thζΡ} / {nι-ra-hkya.hta:thζΡ}
lie, lied, lied (regular verb) - {laim-prau:thζΡ}

For a Myanmar these two verbs are not confusing if he goes by the meanings. What usually bothers him are the phrasal verbs and idioms. The following is from AHTD:
   Phrasal Verbs: lie down 1. To do little or nothing: He's lying down on the job. lie in 1. To be in confinement for childbirth. lie to Nautical 1. To remain stationary while facing the wind. lie with 1. To be decided by, dependent on, or up to: The choice lies with you. 2. Archaic To have sexual intercourse with.
   Idioms: lie low or lay low 1. To keep oneself or one's plans hidden. 2. To bide one's time but remain ready for action. [Middle English lien from Old English licgan; See legh- in Indo-European Roots.]

The verb "lie" is an intransitive verb which means "to recline" or "to be situated". The present participle of "lie" is "lying", the past form is "lay" and the past participle is "lain":

The cup is lying on the floor.

The cat lay in the sun all morning.

The newspapers had lain on the verandah for two weeks before anyone noticed that Mr. Gilfillian had disappeared.

In each of these examples, the intransitive verb "lie" is used (in conjunction with an adverbial phrase) to describe the location of the subject.

The verb "lay" is a transitive verb which means "to place" or "to put". The present participle of "lay" is "laying", and both the past form and the past participle is "laid":

I was laying the cups and saucers on the table when I dropped one.

Jenkins laid the suspicious parcel on the commissioner's desk.

The supervisor had laid a cup of scalding coffee on the counter only moments before the bulldozer rammed into the construction office.

In each of these sentences, the transitive verb ``lay'' is used to describe the fact that someone had placed something somewhere.

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05.07.02. "Sit" and "Set"

The verbs "sit" and "set" are also frequently confused. The intransitive verb "sit" means "to rest" or "to occupy a seat". The present participle is "sitting", and both the past part and the past participle are "sat".

Charlie will be surprised when he learns that he is sitting on a freshly painted bench.

We sat in the corridor outside the dean's office all afternoon.

The student delegate is persistent; they have sat in the excruciatingly uncomfortable chairs outside the dean's office for several hours.

In each of these sentences, the verb "sit" is used in conjunction with a adverbial phrase to describe the position of the subject.

The transitive verb "set" is means "to place", "to put", or "to lay". The present participle of "set" is "setting", and both the past form and the past participle are "set":

The clockmaker was setting his tools on the bench when the hooligans came into his shop.

Germaine set plates and soup bowls on the table.

Once we had set the clock ahead an hour, we went to bed.

In each of these sentence, the verb "set" is used to describe the placing of an object in a specific place.

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05.rev.01. Review: Transitive and Intransitive Verbs

UKT: Review sections reformatted: questions, answers, and explanations.

Question: Identify whether the underlined verb or compound verb is used transitively or intransitively:

Q01. The old woman struggled up the hill, pulling a grocery cart that had lost one wheel behind her.
Ans:  intransitive verb
Exp: The verb "struggled" does not have a direct object; the prepositional phrase "up the hill" acts as an adverb describing where she struggled.

Q02. Hermione is editing her uncle's memoirs of his lifetime as a green grocer.
Ans:   transitive verb
Exp: The compound verb "is editing" takes a direct object -- the noun phrase "her uncle's memoirs".

Q03. Much to the amusement of the onlookers, Paul danced a minuet to the polka music that drifted out of the beer tent.
Ans:  transitive verb
Exp: Here the verb "danced" is accompanied by a noun phrase ("a minuet") that acts as a direct object.

Q04. At the beginning of the play, the entire cast dances manically across the stage.
Ans:  intransitive verb
Exp: In this sentence, the verb "dances" is not accompanied by a direct object. The phrase "manically across the stage" acts as an adverb describing where the dancing takes place.

Q05. Stella is reading quietly in the upstairs bedroom instead of doing her chores.
Ans:  intransitive verb
Exp: The compound verb "is reading" is accompanied by the adverb "quietly" but does not take a direct object.

Q06. This term I am reading all of the works of Sylvia Townsend Warner.
Ans:  transitive verb
Exp: In this sentence, the compound verb "am reading" takes the noun phrase "all of the works of Sylvia Townsend Warner" as a direct object.

Q07. At the feast, we will eat heartily.
Ans:  intransitive verb
Exp: Here the compound verb is not associated with a direct object; "heartily" is an adverb modifying the compound verb.

Q08. Charles opened up his lunch, examined the contents carefully, and ate his dessert first.
Ans:  transitive verb
Exp: In this sentence, the verb "ate" takes a direct object, the noun phrase "his dessert".

Q09. The Stephens sisters are both very talented; Virginia writes and Vanessa paints.
Ans:  intransitive verb
Exp: The verb "paints" describes Vanessa's actions but takes no direct object; what Vanessa paints is not stated.

Q10. When I was three years old, my father left a can of paint open in my bedroom, and early one morning, I painted my baby brother's face green.
Ans:  transitive verb
Exp: In the sentence, the verb "painted" takes the noun phrase "my baby brother's face" as a direct object.

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05.rev.02. Review: Linking Verbs

UKT: I've reformatted the Review sections: questions, answers, and explanations.

Question: Identify whether the underlined verb is used as a linking verb:

Q01. Frankenstein is the name of the scientist not the monster.
Ans: Yes, this is a linking verb.
Exp: The verb "be" is usually used as a linking verb. The noun phrase "the name of the scientist not the monster" is a subject complement that identifies the proper noun "Frankenstein".

Q02. The oenophile tasted several types of Beaujolais.
Ans:  No, this is not a linking verb.
Exp: The verb "tasted" is accompanied by a noun phrase ("several types of Beaujolais") that acts as a direct object.

Q03. Francine's uncle grows prize winning dahlias.
Ans:  No, this is not a linking verb.
Exp: Here the verb "grows" is used as a transitive verb and takes the noun phrase "prize winning dahlias" as a direct object.

Q04. The cheesecake tastes delicious.
Ans:  Yes, this is a linking verb.
Exp:  In this sentence, the verb "tastes" is used as a linking verb. The adjective "delicious" is a subject complement that identifies the subject of the sentence, "the cheesecake".

Q05. After smoking three cigars, Flannery turned green.
Ans:  Yes, this is a linking verb.
Exp: Here the verb "turned" is used as a linking verb and the adjective "green" is a subject complement that defines the subject "Flannery".

Q06. The cat fastidiously smelled the dish of food placed before it.
Ans:  No, this is not a linking verb.
Exp: In this sentence, the verb "smelled" is used as a transitive verb and takes the noun phrase "the dish of food" as a direct object.

Q07. The flowers always grow quickly during a sunny summer.
Ans: No, this is not a linking verb is correct.
Exp: Here the verb "grow" is used as an intransitive verb and is accompanied by the phrase "quickly during a sunny summer", which acts as an adverb

Q08. The stew that Gordon made smells too spicy to me.
Ans:  Yes, this is a linking verb.
Exp: In this sentence, the verb "smells" is used as a linking verb and the phrase "too spicy" is a subject complement that identifies the nature of the stew. The dependent clause "that Gordon made" functions as an adjective defining the nature of the stew.

Q09. Walter was annoyed because Ross turned pages too quickly.
Ans:  No, this is not a linking verb.
Exp: Here the verb "turned" is used as a transitive verb and takes the direct object "pages".

Q10. David Garrick was a very prominent eighteenth-century actor.
Ans: Yes, this is a linking verb.
Exp: The verb "be" is usually used as a linking verb. The noun phrase "a very prominent eighteenth-century actor" is a subject complement that identifies the proper noun "David Garrick".

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05.rev.03. Review: Frequently-Confused Verbs

UKT: I've reformatted the Review sections: questions, answers, and explanations.

Question: In the following sentences, identify whether the highlighted verb or compound verb is used correctly.

Q01. The leftover casserole has been setting in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks.
Ans:  This compound verb is not correctly formed.
Exp: The compound verb "has been setting" is transitive, but the sentence describes the position of the casserole, not the act of placing it somewhere. The correct form is "has been sitting".

Q02. The cows were laying in the field even though it was raining.
Ans:  This compound verb is not correctly formed.
Exp: The compound verb "were laying" is transitive, but the sentence describes the position of the cows, not the act of lying down. The correct form is "were lying".

Q03. Set that vase on the sideboard.
Ans:  This verb is correctly formed.
Exp: The verb "set" is transitive and is used to described the act of placing the vase rather than to describe its position.

Q04. The beavers spent the afternoon lying new branches on the lodge.
Ans:  This verb is not correctly formed.
Exp: The verb "lying" is intransitive, but the sentence describes the act of placing the branches, not the position of the branches. The correct form is "laying".

Q05. Joseph argues that setting in a rocking chair is a form of aerobic exercise.
Ans:  This verb is not correctly formed.
Exp: The verb "setting" is transitive, but the sentence does not describe the act of placing something or someone in a particular place. The correct form is "sitting".

Q06. The entire cub pack suddenly sitted down.
Ans:  This verb is not correctly formed.
Exp: "Sitted" is not one of the principal parts of the either the verb "to sit" or "to set". The correct form is "sat".

Q07. While they were lying the new linoleum, the McLeod boys listened to some Howie MacDonald fiddle music.
Ans:  This compound verb is not correctly formed.
Exp: The compound verb "were lying" is intransitive but the sentence describes the act of placing the linoleum on the floor. The correct form is "were laying".

Q08. The cat preferred to set on the dining room table.
Ans:  This compound verb is not correctly formed.
Exp: The infinitive ``to set'' is transitive, but the sentence requires the intransitive "to sit".

Q09. After the clerk had laid the fabric on the table, Willa saw several small grease spots.
Ans:  This compound verb is correctly formed.
Exp: The dependent clause describe the act of placing the bolt on the table and therefore the transitive form "had laid" is appropriate

Q10. While Charlene and Shasta were sitting the post in the concrete, they were harassed by clouds of black flies.
Ans:  This compound verb is not correctly formed.
Exp: The sentence describing the action of placing the post in the concrete and thus requires the transitive compound verb "were setting".

Q11. Mary laid down for a short nap before the exam.
Ans:  This verb is not correctly formed.
Exp: "Laid" is the past participle which must be used with and auxiliary verb. The correct form is "lay".

Q12. We have set here four hours and still haven't caught a fish.
AnsThis compound verb is not correctly formed.
Exp: The compound verb "have set" is intransitive, but the sentence describes the position of the people rather than the act of sitting down. The correct form is "have sat".

Q13. After lying the egg carton on the counter, Beverly began to search for the frying pan.
Ans:  This verb is not correctly formed.
Exp: The verb "lying" is intransitive but the sentence requires the transitive verb "laying" because it describe the action of placing the carton on the counter.

Q14. After she had sat the bags of groceries down, she was able to find her door keys.
Ans:  This compound verb is not correctly formed.
Exp: The compound verb "had sat" is intransitive but the sentence describes the action of putting the bags down. The correct form is the transitive "had set".

Q15. Charlie and Paulette lied in the sun all afternoon.
Ans:  This verb is not correctly formed.
Exp: The correct form is "lay".

Q16. The youngest child usually sets in a special chair.
Ans:  This verb is not correctly formed.
Exp: This sentence describes the position of the child and should use the intransitive verb "sits".

Q17. We spent the morning lying on the sofa watching cartoons instead of raking the leaves.
Ans:  This verb is correctly formed.
Exp: The participle "lying" is intransitive and describes the position the "we" rather than the act of placing something on the sofa

Q18. Jason carefully sits the bamboo bridge on the counter.
Ans:  This verb is not correctly formed.
Exp: The sentence describes the act of placing the bridge on the counter and thus requires the transitive form "sets".

Q19. The records were ruined because they had laid on top of the radiator all weekend.
Ans:  This compound verb is not correctly formed.
Exp: The compound verb "had laid" is an transitive verb but the sentence describes the position of the records rather than the act of placing them on the radiator. The intransitive form "had lain" should be used

Q20. Lie those boxes on the top shelf in the garage.
Ans:  This verb is not correctly formed.
Exp: The verb "lie" is intransitive but the sentence requires the transitive verb "lay".

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UKT notes

Spelling words with double consonants

From: HyperGrammar http://www.uottawa.ca/academic/arts/writcent/hypergrammar/spdoubl.html#spdoubl 081210

Double the final consonant before a suffix beginning with a vowel if both of the following are true: the consonant ends a stressed syllable or a one-syllable word, and the consonant is preceded by a single vowel:

drag becomes dragged
wet becomes wetter
occur becomes occurred, occurring
refer becomes referral, referring

Written by Dorothy Turner

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Types of Verbs

From: http://www.englishpage.com/verbpage/types.html 081212

Before you begin the verb tense lessons, it is extremely important to understand that NOT all English verbs are the same. English verbs are divided into three groups: Normal Verbs, Non-Continuous Verbs, and Mixed Verbs.

Group 1. Normal Verbs

Most verbs are "Normal Verbs." These verbs are usually physical actions which you can see somebody doing. These verbs can be used in all tenses.

to run, to walk, to eat, to fly, to go, to say, to touch, etc.

€ I eat dinner every day.
€ I am eating dinner now.

Group 2. Non-continuous Verbs

The second group, called "Non-Continuous Verbs," is smaller. These verbs are usually things you cannot see somebody doing. These verbs are rarely used in continuous tenses. They include:

Abstract Verbs

to be, to want, to cost, to seem, to need, to care, to contain, to owe, to exist...

Possession Verbs

to possess, to own, to belong ...

Emotion Verbs

to like, to love, to hate, to dislike, to fear, to envy, to mind...

€ He is needing help now. Not Correct
€ He needs help now. Correct

€ He is wanting a drink now. Not Correct
€ He wants a drink now. Correct

Group 3. Mixed Verbs

The third group, called "Mixed Verbs," is the smallest group. These verbs have more than one meaning. In a way, each meaning is a unique verb. Some meanings behave like "Non-Continuous Verbs," while other meanings behave like "Normal Verbs."

Mixed Verbs

to appear, to feel, to have, to hear, to look, to see, to weigh ...

List of Mixed Verbs with Examples and Definitions :

to appear :

€ Donna appears confused. Non-Continuous Verb
Donna seems confused.

€ My favorite singer is appearing at the jazz club tonight. Normal Verb
My favorite singer is giving a performance at the jazz club tonight.

to have :

€ I have a dollar now. Non-Continuous Verb
I possess a dollar.

€ I am having fun now. Normal Verb
I am experiencing fun now.

to hear :

€ She hears the music. Non-Continuous Verb
She hears the music with her ears.

€ She is hearing voices. Normal Verb
She hears something others cannot hear. She is hearing voices in her mind.

to look :

€ Nancy looks tired. Non-Continuous Verb
She seems tired.

€ Farah is looking at the pictures. Normal Verb
She is looking with her eyes.

to miss :

€ John misses Sally. Non-Continuous Verb
He is sad because she is not there.
€ Debbie is missing her favorite TV program. Normal Verb
She is not there to see her favorite program.

to see :

€ I see her. Non-Continuous Verb
I see her with my eyes.

€ I am seeing the doctor. Normal Verb
I am visiting or consulting with a doctor. (Also used with dentist and lawyer.)

€ I am seeing her. Normal Verb
I am having a relationship with her.

€ He is seeing ghosts at night. Normal Verb
He sees something others cannot see. For example ghosts, aura, a vision of the future, etc.

to smell :

€ The coffee smells good. Non-Continuous Verb
The coffee has a good smell.

€ I am smelling the flowers. Normal Verb
I am sniffing the flowers to see what their smell is like.

to taste :

€ The coffee tastes good. Non-Continuous Verb
The coffee has a good taste.

€ I am tasting the cake. Normal Verb
I am trying the cake to see what it tastes like.

to think :

€ He thinks the test is easy. Non-Continuous Verb
He considers the test to be easy.

€ She is thinking about the question. Normal Verb
She is pondering the question, going over it in her mind.

to weigh :

€ The table weighs a lot. Non-Continuous Verb
The table is heavy.

€ She is weighing herself. Normal Verb
She is determining her weight.

Some Verbs Can Be Especially Confusing:

to be :

€ Joe is American. Non-Continuous Verb
Joe is an American citizen.

€ Joe is being very American. Normal Verb
Joe is behaving like a stereotypical American.

€ Joe is being very rude. Normal Verb
Joe is behaving very rudely. Usually he is not rude.

€ Joe is being very formal. Normal Verb
Joe is behaving very formally. Usually he is not formal.

NOTICE: Only rarely is "to be" used in a continuous form. This is most commonly done when a person is temporarily behaving badly or stereotypically. It can also be used when someone's behavior is noticeably different.

to feel :

€ The massage feels great. Non-Continuous Verb
The massage has a pleasing feeling.

€ I don't feel well today. Sometimes used as Non-Continuous Verb
I am a little sick.
I am not feeling well today. Sometimes used as Normal Verb
I am a little sick.

NOTICE: The second meaning of "feel" is very flexible and there is no real difference in meaning between "I don't feel well today" and "I am not feeling well today."

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