Are you embarking on the journey to master the English language and ready to learn everything about verbs? Are you looking for a list of verbs? You’re in the right place!
We use verbs every day, so it’s important to understand what a verb is and its role in speech.
In this post, I’ll walk you through what a verb is, the different types of verbs with a list of 254 verb examples, and how to use them in a sentence. Whether you’re trying to understand verbs to use in your own writing or help with your child’s homework, I’m here to guide you.
What Are Verbs?
A verb is an action word — it describes an action or something that can be done. Every sentence must contain a verb.
The verb can describe what a noun does, whether the noun is a person, place, or thing.
Below are sentences with the verb in bold:
- Lisa calls her friend on the phone — In this sentence, Lisa (the noun) calls (the verb).
- Canada is a large country — In this sentence, Canada (the noun) is linked to the word large (an adjective) using the word ‘is’ (the verb).
- The cup of water spills across the floor — In this sentence, the water (the noun) spills (the verb) onto the floor (another noun).
In fact, verbs can be a sentence on their own. For instance, “Dance!” or “Move!” are complete sentences containing just a verb.
As well as describing an action, verbs can also describe a state of being. This refers to non-action words that don’t contain movement. For instance: “Laura thought about her application.” While the word ‘thought’ doesn’t contain movement, it’s still something someone can do.
If you’re confused, ask yourself, “Can I (insert verb here)?” or “What is happening?” In the sentence, Laura thought about her application, the thought is what’s happening, and you can also think. Therefore, it’s a verb!
Types of Verbs
There are three main types of verbs: action, linking, and helping.
- Action: Action verbs describe something that can be done using a physical or mental act.
- Linking: Linking verbs describe a state of being and so are also called “being verbs”. They usually link a noun with a subject complement (something that describes the subject, like a noun or adjective).
- Helping: Helping verbs work alongside other verbs to change a sentence’s meaning. This could change the tense of a verb, the mood, or the voice.
Action verbs describe a physical or mental act. This includes words like run, call, swim, help, ignore, and listen. Most verbs are action verbs.
Action verbs are also referred to as dynamic verbs. If it helps, you can think of them as words that describe particular actions or temporary events, such as write, bathe, or talk.
If a person, place, or object can do the word, then it’s an action verb. For example, a girl can draw, a house can stink, and a scarf can wave. These are all action verbs.
Within the world of action verbs, you’ll also find physical or mental action verbs. I’ll break this down for you.
Physical Action Verbs
Physical action verbs are active things we can do with our bodies or a tool. They describe a physical action that we might use motion or another object to perform. For instance, “I fell down the hill” or “The teacher opened the book to page 85.”
Examples of Physical Action Verbs
Below is a list of 50 physical action verbs from A to Z:
How To Use Physical Action Verbs in a Sentence
It is helpful to see physical action verbs in a sentence so you can better understand how to use them. In the sentences below, each verb describes a physical action you can complete using your body or another object. Remember that you can use more than one verb per sentence.
The physical action verb is in bold so that you can easily spot it. Here are three example sentences.
- He moved his fingers through his hair, scratching his head and smiling.
- After Grandpa drove away, my mother called my brother and cried on the phone.
- I stood at the podium and confidently read through my speech.
Mental Action Verbs
The other type of physical verb is a mental action verb. Similar to a physical action verb, this describes something you can do. But the difference is that it can’t be seen — it’s purely mental.
Mental action verbs describe concepts that refer to a cognitive state, such as thinking, believing, or understanding. If you can use your brain to perform the action without moving, then it’s a mental action verb.
Examples of Mental Action Verbs
Here are 50 examples of mental action verbs:
How To Use Mental Action Verbs in a Sentence
I’ll share three examples of how to use mental action verbs in a sentence. You’ll notice that in each sentence, the verb describes something a person can do cognitively, using their brain and not their body.
I’ve put the mental action verbs in bold so you can easily spot them.
- She believed in herself.
- He tried not to judge a book by its cover.
- Before we decided to cancel the trip, we hoped that the weather would be better.
Linking verbs describe a state of being rather than an action. Instead, they usually link a noun with a subject complement (something that describes the subject, like a noun or adjective).
These verbs are also called ‘being verbs’, since they literally describe a state of being, a condition, or a relationship — something that is more permanent. You can use linking verbs in the past or present tense.
Linking verbs include words like is, are, am, seems, got, and be. Here are two examples: “Rachel is a nurse” or “The dogs and cats are fluffy and cute.”
In this first example, the linking verb connects the subject (Rachel) to her descriptive noun (a nurse). In the second example, the linking verb connects the subjects (dogs and cats) to their descriptive adjectives (fluffy and cute).
Examples of Linking Verbs
Below are 24 examples of linking verbs in alphabetical order:
How To Use Linking Verbs in a Sentence
Use a linking verb to connect the sentence of a subject to its subject complement (usually a noun or adjective that describes the subject). In the sentence, “Elaine looks sleepy,” sleepy (the adjective) is linked to Elaine (the subject) through the word ‘looks’ (the linking verb).
A linking verb always follows a subject but can link to a noun, adjective, or adverb. For example, you can say, “The gymnasts (subject) do (linking verb) their warmups (subject complement noun).”
You can also say, “The quiz (subject) was (linking verb) yesterday (adverb).”
Overall, the subject complement doesn’t describe any action but instead describes a subject. This is connected using a linking verb.
Here are three examples of sentences using linking verbs.
- His hair turned gray from the stress.
- Elijah and Eliza make a cute couple.
- Mr. Findlay seems very grumpy today, and the class is upset.
Helping verbs work alongside other verbs to change a sentence’s meaning. This could change the tense of a verb, the mood, or the voice.
They’re often used to create a question or a negative statement. These include words like do, can, have, be, will, would, should, could, and did.
In other instances, the helping verbs convey the sentence’s tense, creating a past, present, or future concept.
Here are a few examples: “Did you take the dog out?” or “Freddy will return this evening.” or “She has not checked on the patient.” While these sentences also contain action verbs — take, return, and checked — the helping verbs connect to the action verbs to modify the sentence’s mood or meaning.
Two Types of Helping Verbs
Let’s look at the helping verbs in closer detail. As mentioned above, helping verbs have different roles. These are known as auxiliary verbs or modal verbs.
Auxiliary verbs convey a sentence’s tense: past, present, or future. The most common examples are ‘to be’, ‘to have’, and ‘to do’. Within these examples, they have various verb forms.
- To be verbs: be, been, being, am, are, is, was, were.
- To have verbs: had, has, have, having.
- To do verbs: did, do, does.
Auxiliary verbs work alongside an action or linking verb to fill out the sentence and complete the verb phrase.
Here is an example: Elizabeth hasn’t cleaned her office yet. In this sentence, ‘hasn’t’ is the auxiliary verb, and ‘cleaned’ is the action verb. The use of the word ‘hasn’t’ implies that presently, Elizabeth’s office is still untidy, but she does intend to clean it.
Another example is: I am having an extremely bad day. In this sentence, “am” is the linking verb that conveys a state of being. ‘Having’ is the auxiliary verb that conveys the present tense of the sentence.
Finally, you can use the word ‘do’ as an auxiliary verb which doesn’t set the sentence’s tense, but it does emphasize the main verb in the sentence. It has the power to make the sentence negative or create a question.
For example, “I do not enjoy tomatoes.” In this sentence, “do not” is the auxiliary verb that emphasizes one’s dislike of tomatoes.
Another example is, “Do you drive?” In this case, the auxiliary verb creates a question, asking the subject if they can drive (an action verb).
Examples of Auxiliary Verbs
Here are 14 examples of auxiliary verbs:
How To Use Auxiliary Verbs in a Sentence
When using an auxiliary verb, you must use it alongside another verb that’s in the past or present participle form. This creates a verb phrase. You can use auxiliary verbs to change the tense of a sentence.
For instance, “I packed the car” can become “I have packed the car” or “I had packed the car the night before”.
You can also use auxiliary verbs to create a negative sentence or a question.
Below are three auxiliary verb examples used in a sentence.
- I will be marking essays all night long.
- Does the boss know that you’re sick today?
- Rebecca has read this book before.
Modal verbs are a small group of helping verbs. You use them alongside ordinary verbs to change the sentence’s meaning from a fact to something more abstract. Modal verbs create a sentence that expresses necessity, prediction, possibility, ability, or permission.
These words include: must, ought, will, would, and shall. It’s important to remember that these words never conjugate depending on the subject or tense. ‘Will’ remains the same even if you’re talking about one person or 100 people. For example, you would say, “She will return” or “They will return”.
Generally, modal verbs usually convey present or future time, rather than past. Lastly, modal verbs come before the next verb, so they aren’t separated by other parts of speech.
Examples of Modal Verbs
There are only a few modal verbs, and they are all listed below:
- Ought to
How To Use Modal Verbs in a Sentence
When using modal verbs, never change the form of the modal verb. It doesn’t ever modify depending on the tense or number of subjects.
Modal verbs always precede the other verbs in the sentence. The other verb should always be in the infinitive form (the same as when you are speaking in the first person singular).
For instance, “Isabella ought to wear her seatbelt” or “The six friends shall wear matching outfits for the party.” Notice how the following verb, ‘wear’, is in the infinitive form.
Below are three more examples of modal verbs in a sentence.
- You must not hesitate when the baby starts crying.
- Sarah can recall all the details of that fateful night.
- My parents should have booked tickets earlier in the month.
List of Verbs in Alphabetical Order
It’s time to share a list of verb examples so that you get a better idea of this element of speech. I’ll walk you through 10 verbs for each letter of the alphabet, starting with A all the way to Z.
These will be in the present tense for the first person singular, but you can conjugate these verbs to suit any type of sentence, tense or subject.
Conjugating a verb means changing its form depending on the sentence it’s in. For example, you wouldn’t leave a verb in its infinitive form in every situation. You might say, “I go to the nail salon,” but if you’re talking about your sister last week, you would say, “She went to the nail salon.” Therefore, the verb go is conjugated to suit a different context.
To give you examples of conjugation, I will conjugate some example sentences so you can learn how to modify verbs depending on the situation.
Verbs That Start With A
- Abide: I abide by the rules.
- Absorb: The sponge will absorb the water.
- Account: They account for all the details.
- Act: He acts funny around his girlfriend.
- Activate: Did you activate the alarm?
- Affect: The light affects my eyes.
- Anchor: The boat anchors in place.
- Answer: Answer my phone call.
- Arrange: She arranged a bake sale.
- Atone: He atoned for his sins.
Verbs That Start With B
- Bag: I bagged groceries all weekend.
- Band: I band together the files.
- Bark: The dogs bark loudly.
- Bathe: I bathed in the tub.
- Bawl: He bawled at the movie.
- Birth: She birthed a baby girl.
- Bite: Don’t bite your sister!
- Blaze: The fire blazed through the woods.
- Breastfeed: She will breastfeed the baby soon.
- Breathe: I can’t breathe underwater.
Verbs That Start With C
- Calculate: Oliver calculated the risks.
- Call: She calls her father every evening.
- Cancel: She canceled her Netflix subscription.
- Canvass: The police had canvassed the area already.
- Care: I don’t care about soccer.
- Carry: Can you carry his bags?
- Certify: Are you certified in first-aid?
- Chain: Lewis chained the gate shut.
- Chip: I chipped a tooth.
- Collaborate: We collaborated on a project.
Verbs That Start With D
- Damage: Teresa damaged her car.
- Declutter: Have you decluttered the bathroom?
- Decorate: I might decorate this weekend.
- Delegate: The teacher will delegate the tasks.
- Deodorize: Deodorize the room with baking soda.
- Descale: The maid descaled the iron.
- Destroy: Michael destroyed his toys.
- Discourage: I discouraged Tim from riding his motorbike.
- Distribute: Ronald distributed the information.
- Downgrade: She downgraded her property.
Verbs That Start With E
- Earn: Paul and Leo earned their money.
- Ease: I slowly eased off the caffeine.
- Eat: Nobody ate the pies.
- Electrocute: Be careful you don’t electrocute yourself.
- Elevate: He elevated his status.
- Embark: William embarked on his journey.
- Enlighten: Enlighten me on your findings.
- Erode: The rock was already eroded.
- Evaluate: My brothers evaluated the height.
- Evoke: The movie evoked a lot of emotion.
Verbs That Start With F
- Face: Face away from the wind.
- Fade: The scene faded to black.
- Fake: He faked his own death!
- Fiddle: He fiddled with his pencil during the exam.
- Fight: The siblings fought like cats and dogs.
- Film: Please don’t film the show.
- Finish: Roscoe never finishes his dinner.
- Flare: The pain flared up.
- Flush: Make sure you flush the toilet.
- Freak: She totally freaked out!
Verbs That Start With G
- Gag: He gagged on his dinner.
- Gallop: The horse will gallop across the field.
- Garden: Joe gardened all summer.
- Ghost: Quinn ghosted her date.
- Glide: The queen glided past.
- Glisten: You will glisten in that dress.
- Grab: Let me grab my bag.
- Grieve: I grieved the loss of my dog.
- Guide: We have been guided throughout.
- Gulp: She gulped down the water.
Verbs That Start With H
- Hack: Did you hack the computer?
- Hand: Michelle handed me the phone.
- Harden: The paste hardened on the wall.
- Hear: I don’t hear anything.
- Hesitate: I’m afraid I might hesitate.
- Hire: They hired a new guy.
- Hit: I haven’t hit the jackpot yet.
- Honk: The car behind me is honking.
- Huff: He huffed loudly.
- Hypothesize: Veronica hypothesized beforehand.
Verbs That Start With I
- Ice: My brother iced the cake.
- Illuminate: The highlighter illuminated the book.
- Imagine: Can you imagine a better day?
- Implore: I implore you to think again.
- Improve: How can we improve the stats?
- Indicate: They have indicated this before.
- Infect: The virus will infect many people.
- Insist: The couple had insisted on more guests.
- Inspire: The music inspired me.
- Intervene: Can the security intervene, please?
Verbs That Start With J
- Jam: The friends jammed on their instruments together.
- Jaunt: Mom and Dad went for a jaunt.
- Jeopardize: I cannot jeopardize this opportunity.
- Jiggle: The jelly jiggles on the plate.
- Jive: The teachers were jiving at the disco.
- Join: Join your hands together.
- Joke: Are you joking?
- Judge: I will not judge anybody.
- Journal: I haven’t journaled in months.
- Justify: Dave justified his actions.
Verbs That Start With K
- Kayak: Do you kayak with friends?
- Keel: The boat keeled over.
- Keep: I’m keeping too many secrets.
- Key: Key in your password.
- Kick: It’s time to kick the ball.
- Kill: I would kill for more pizza.
- Kiss: Olivia kissed her husband goodbye.
- Kneel: Christine knelt down.
- Knock: I knocked five times.
- Know: The cats know where to use the bathroom.
Verbs That Start With L
- Label: Theo doesn’t label himself.
- Lactate: Women lactate after birth.
- Land: The plane landed safely.
- Laugh: I will laugh at his jokes.
- Lead: He’s leading a double life.
- Lend: Evan lent me his sweater.
- Light: Light the candles.
- Lose: I have lost my earrings.
- Love: He loved his mother.
- Lunge: The king lunged forward.
Verbs That Start With M
- Make: They made a lovely cake.
- Manifest: Do you manifest your future?
- Market: We are marketing the product to younger people.
- Mask: Mask up!
- Measure: Zoe measured the room.
- Memorize: I have to memorize the numbers.
- Message: Gertrude messaged me back.
- Milk: The farmer will milk the cows tomorrow.
- Mistreat: I haven’t mistreated anyone.
- Mourn: They will mourn for one year.
Verbs That Start With N
- Narrow: Kevin narrows his eyes.
- Need: I don’t need antibiotics.
- Neglect: The parents never neglected their son.
- Niggle: The thought niggled me for a while.
- Nip: The needle nipped my skin.
- Nod: The baby nods.
- Notice: I noticed a lot of inconsistencies.
- Normalize: Nina normalizes women in tech.
- Nourish: It’s important to nourish your body.
- Nurse: She nursed him back to health.
Verbs That Start With O
- Obey: My dog won’t obey me!
- Observe: Becca observes everything.
- Offer: She offers him a slice of cake.
- Oil: I oiled my desk with wax.
- Omit: Was any information omitted?
- Open: We opened the windows earlier.
- Operate: I don’t know how to operate a car.
- Orbit: It’s orbiting around in space.
- Organize: I’m tired of organizing everything.
- Overcook: You always overcook the chicken.
Verbs That Start With P
- Pack: They haven’t packed yet.
- Pander: I won’t pander to your every need.
- Paralyze: The fall paralyzed Noah.
- Parent: She parented her brothers.
- Pass: The car passed quickly.
- Patch: Grandma patched up my blanket.
- Perfect: I have perfected the backstroke.
- Photograph: Can I photograph you?
- Pick: Will Drew pick her flowers?
- Pitch: Jessica had pitched her idea before Tracy.
Verbs That Start With Q
- Quadruple: The numbers quadrupled.
- Qualified: Rosie qualified for the Olympics.
- Quarrel: They’ve been quarreling all night.
- Quarter: Simon quartered the pizza.
- Quench: The water quenched his thirst.
- Question: The students question the teacher.
- Queue: I’ve been queuing for hours.
- Quit: I would love to quit my job.
- Quiz: Shona quizzed her sister.
- Quote: She will quote the book forever.
Verbs That Start With R
- Rain: It will rain on the coast.
- Rake: My dad raked the leaves.
- Reason: Please reason with me.
- Record: Stephanie recorded a hit song.
- Reduce: The size has reduced considerably.
- Reject: Eloise rejected her date.
- Retract: The governor retracted his statement.
- Reverse: Reverse the video.
- Rise: She is rising above her colleagues.
- Ruffle: The duck ruffles its feathers.
Verbs That Start With S
- Sample: Can I sample the ice cream flavors?
- Save: Save a slice for Alisdair.
- Scan: She scanned her eyes over the page.
- Seat: I’ll seat myself down.
- Self-publish: Do you think you’ll self-publish your novel?
- Sew: I tried sewing it back together.
- Shelter: My mother sheltered me during childhood.
- Sign: Tori signed her name.
- Skip: Skip home with me.
- Snatch: Lisa, don’t snatch the toy!
Verbs That Start With T
- Tell: I’ll tell you my real thoughts.
- Testify: She will testify in court.
- Throw: Throw in the towel.
- Title: Who titled the book?
- Torch: He torched the place down.
- Touch: I will touch a snake at the zoo.
- Track: I’m asking you to track the data.
- Travel: We traveled across the world.
- Trust: Trust me.
- Tumble: I tumbled down the hill.
Verbs That Start With U
- Unclasp: Can you unclasp my necklace?
- Unbutton: I unbuttoned the dress.
- Undermined: He undermined my ability.
- Unfriend: Jerry unfriended Isaac on Facebook.
- Unite: We will unite next week.
- Upgrade: I want to upgrade my car.
- Upset: She upset her daughter.
- Urbanize: The government urbanized the countryside.
- Use: You used too much makeup.
- Utter: Don’t utter another word.
Verbs That Start With V
- Vaccinate: The crew was vaccinated against diseases.
- Validate: Nick validated my feelings.
- Value: Do you value my time?
- Verbalize: I can’t verbalize my point well.
- Verify: Pablo couldn’t verify the information.
- View: We viewed the house yesterday.
- Violate: He violated his parole.
- Visit: What countries does Helen want to visit?
- Vocalize: The singers vocalize beautifully.
- Volunteer: Greg volunteers weekly.
Verbs That Start With W
- Wait: Fiona will wait for the results.
- Wake: Wake up!
- Wash: Have you washed the dishes?
- Wear: I don’t like wearing jeans.
- Whip: Whip yourself into shape.
- Wind: Sean wound the cable back up.
- Win: Lane won the race.
- Work: I worked for Mcdonald’s last year.
- Worry: I had worried about money for a while.
- Write: I wrote a book.
Verbs That Start With X
- Xeriscape: Iain xeriscaped the garden.
- Xerocopy: I need you to xerocopy this report.
- Xerox: George is xeroxing the papers now.
- X-ray: The doctor will X-ray your arm.
Verbs That Start With Y
- Yank: Blake yanked at his mother’s hair.
- Yap: The dogs yapped all morning.
- Yawn: The baby yawned widely.
- Yearn: Anne yearned for her husband to return.
- Yeet: My brother yeeted his ball across the yard.
- Yell: The neighbors are always yelling.
- Yellow: The books on the windowsill are yellowing.
- Yield: The plant should yield many strawberries.
- Yodel: Chris can yodel.
- Yowl: The cat next door yowled.
Verbs That Start With Z
- Zap: I was zapped by the switch.
- Zeolitize: John zeolitized the rocks.
- Zero: It’s time to zero in on the target.
- Zest: Will you zest the lemon?
- Zigzag: The car zigzagged all over the place.
- Zinc: The metal will be zinced tomorrow.
- Zing: The grasshoppers zing in the grass.
- Zip: Zip up your jacket.
- Zone: Yolanda had already zoned out.
- Zoom: The camera zoomed in.