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The Verb Recognize a verb when you see one. Verbs are a necessary component of all sentences. Verbs have two important functions: Some verbs put stalled subjects into motion while other verbs help to clarify the subjects in meaningful ways.
Look at the examples below: My grumpy old English teacher smiled at the plate of cold meatloaf. The daredevil cockroach splashed into Sara's soup. Theo's overworked computer exploded in a spray of sparks. The curious toddler popped a grasshopper into her mouth.
The important thing to remember is that every subject in a sentence must have a verb. Otherwise, you will have written a fragmenta major writing error. Consider word function when you are looking for a verb. Many words in English have more than one function.
Sometimes a word is a nounsometimes a verb, sometimes a modifier. As a result, you must often analyze the job a word is doing in the sentence.
Look at these two examples: Potato chips crunch too loudly to eat during an exam. The crunch of the potato chips drew the angry glance of Professor Orsini to our corner of the room.
Crunch is something that we can do. We can crunch cockroaches under our shoes. We can crunch popcorn during a movie.
We can crunch numbers for a math class. In the first sentence, then, crunch is what the potato chips do, so we can call it a verb.
Even though crunch is often a verb, it can also be a noun. The crunch of the potato chips, for example, is a thing, a sound that we can hear. You therefore need to analyze the function that a word provides in a sentence before you determine what grammatical name to give that word.
Know an action verb when you see one. What are these words doing? They are expressing action, something that a person, animal, force of nature, or thing can do. As a result, words like these are called action verbs. Clyde sneezes with the force of a tornado. Sneezing is something that Clyde can do.
Because of the spoiled mayonnaise, Ricky vomited potato salad all day. Vomiting is something that Ricky can do—although he might not enjoy it.
Sylvia always winks at cute guys driving hot cars. Winking is something that Sylvia can do. The telephone rang with shrill, annoying cries. Ringing is something that the telephone can do. Thunder boomed in the distance, sending my poor dog scrambling under the bed.
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