What is a verb? “A verb is an action, state or feeling”. Simple right? Not exactly. A verb should be a simple part of English but, often it is not. It is not always just because it is a verb. It is often where a word might come from what confuses students.
What do I mean by confuses? Well, telling a student that most nouns are verbs usually earns a strange look on a students face. Most Ukrainian teachers don’t teach with that thought in mind. Most teachers in Ukraine tell students that verbs are actions! That is it!.
Not all Ukrainian English teachers teach with this explanation but most do. Mind you, there is nothing wrong with telling a student that a verb is an action. In fact, it is an action and and and. I actually left out other ways we use verbs.
Verbs can also be nouns. This is when the word might be spelled the same and means two different things. An example might be “My house is being painted with paint by the painter”. This tense is “present continuous passive voice”. Some teachers refer to this tense as “present progressive passive”. Painted is a verb in third form, paint and painter are nouns.
While verbs are actions, they are states. A state verb is a verb we use to refer to facts and not actions. For example; agree, understand, recognize, appreciate and many more. These words are used to express states or facts. Most state verbs are never used in the continuous tenses.
There are exceptions to this rule. Thought verbs, emotions, relationships, senses, states of being and measurements. Thought verbs are often used in the continuous. They are exceptions to the general rule. The general rule is that most state verbs are never used in continuous tenses.
Most verbs can also be nouns with an “ing” suffix. These would be called “Gerunds”. Compare “Understand” as a verb to “Understanding” a noun or gerund. What about feelings? An example would be “I like you” Like is a verb but, I have just used it to describe how I feel.
Another example would be “I am enjoying this party”. Again, another state verb expressing my feelings. All teachers should teach students that a word is just a word until we use the word in a specific way.
So, to finish up; “A verb expresses an action, state or feeling” Verbs can also be used in a variety of other ways as well. If you are a teacher, think about teaching students in simple terms.
Find a combination of examples to explain how and include the why. There is a lot more to this subject. I have just covered a few areas that might be beneficial to your students bank of English knowledge.