Monday, November 7, 2011

Function of Verb

Function of Verb

Verbs are a necessary component of all sentences. Verbs have two important functions: Some verbs put static objects into motion while other verbs help to clarify the objects in meaningful ways. Look at the examples below:
My grumpy old English teacher smiled at the plate of cold meatloaf.
My grumpy old English teacher = static object; smiled = verb.
                    The daredevil cockroach splashed into Sara's soup. 
                    The daredevil cockroach = static object; splashed = verb.
Theo's overworked computer exploded in a spray of sparks.
Theo's overworked computer = static object; exploded = verb.
                    The curious toddler popped a grasshopper into her mouth. 
                    The curious toddler = static object; popped = verb.
Francisco's comic book collection is worth $20,000.00.
Francisco's comic book collection = static object; is = verb.
The important thing to remember is that every subject in a sentence must have a verb. Otherwise, you will have written a fragment, a major writing error.

Remember to consider word function when you are looking for a verb.

Many words in English have more than one function. Sometimes a word is a subject, sometimes 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.

Dance! Sing! Paint! Giggle! Chew! 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. Look at the examples below:
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.
Booming is something that thunder can do.
If you are unsure whether a sentence contains an action verb or not, look at every word in the sentence and ask yourself, "Is this something that a person or thing can do?" Take this sentence, for example:
During the summer, my poodle constantly pants and drools.
Can you during? Is during something you can do? Can you the? Is there someone theing outside the window right now? Can you summer? Do your obnoxious neighbors keep you up until 2 a.m. because they are summering? Can you my? What does a person do when she's mying? Can you poodle? Show me what poodling is. Can you pant? Bingo! Sure you can! Run five miles and you'll be panting. Can you and? Of course not! But can you drool? You bet—although we don't need a demonstration of this ability. In the sentence above, therefore, there are two action verbs: pant and drool.


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