CHAPTER 1.2 What is a Verb?

1.2 What Is a Noun?

The queen is the most powerful piece in chess. She is also the most powerful part of a sentence.  She is a verb.

Verb Tests are two tests for verbs.  The first:


If you can fill in the blank and then stop, it’s a verb.

They go.          They are.         They play.

Use the first verb test to pick out the verbs:

    1. laugh
    2. cry
    3. pray
    4. hope
    5. printer

The second test:

She __________.

If you can fill in the blank and then stop, it’s a verb. 

She goes.         She is.              She plays.

Use the second verb test to pick out the verbs:

    1. teeters
    2. is
    3. potatoes
    4. swims
    5. bows


Some verbs will fit both blanks:

They _____________ .

She _____________ .

    1. They/She went.       2. They/She talked.         3. They/She should.

What is a Verb? Activity 1

Does the word below fit –

    • One test? (a verb)
    • Both tests?   (a verb)
    • Neither test? (not a verb)

 1.belched      2. ask         3. stairs       4. sleeps       5. car

6. gallop       7. jog         8. shakes        9. carried         10. cabinets

What is a Verb? Activity 2

Most books will tell you verbs are action words. It is true that most verbs are action words. But most verbs we use are not action words. Use the verb tests on these words that are not actions.       2. are       3. was        4. were        5. should

6. would      7. could      8.  may      9. might      10. did


Not Sure?

If you are not sure if a word is a verb, then ask a question.

Should they     [do that]?                     They should.

Have they        [done that]?                 They have.

Would they     [do that]?                     They would.

Are they          [going there]?              They are.

Is it                  [mine]?                        It is.

Did she            [ask him]?                   She did.


Yell the following!

Verb:  She ________________ (blank)

They _____________ (blank)



=-S Verbs

Verbs can be singular, plural, or both.

A singular verb is for one person, place, thing, or idea.

A plural verb is for two or more people, places, things, or ideas.

Singular verbs end is s.  The first verb test works on them:

She runs.            She yells.

Plural verbs do not end is s.  The second verb test works on them:

They run.             They yell.

Some verbs are singular and plural.  Both verb tests work on them:

She ran.              They ran.

What is a Verb? Activity 3

Work one of these activities:

What is a Verb? Optional Activity

Write and submit an essay on one of the following general subjects. Exactly what you write on is up to you. The essay must be suitable in content and vocabulary for the indicated grade level.

Excellent essays have a chance to be published on this website and be eligible for the contest’s cash prize. For further information see “Reading or submitting an essay” under Read Me First.

Teachers and parents can (and should) also participate. Use the instructions in Read Me First to guide your students through the process. Then, if you wish, submit a corresponding grammar exercise. For further instructions, see Read Me First teacher or parent participation.