Usage Notes on Verbs – Part 1- Verbal with Sujit

In this session of ‘Verbal with Sujit’ we streamline through the subject of ‘Verbs’ this week. Verbs show a mental or a physical action (of the subject).

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A)With transitive verbs , the action of the verb passes over from the subject to the object.

For eg. She writes poems.

With the intransitive verbs the action is complete in itself.

For eg. She weeps.

B)When the action of the subject passes over to itself the verb becomes reflexive.

For eg.We enjoyed ourselves.

C)Some verbs may not require an object, but remain incomplete in meaning without something else to complete their meaning. What completes their meaning is called a complement. Such verbs  are called Linking Verbs or Copulative Verbs.

There are certain words like be,have,shall,will etc. which occur with other verbs. These are called auxiliary verbs.

D)Linking Verbs.

Many important verbs do not express action. They help make a statement and link a noun or adjective o the subject. These are called linking verbs. The following are linking verbs: become,feel,grow,taste,remain,be,am, is, was,been,are,being,look,seem,smell,sound,appear,stay,prove,turn etc.

Verbs related to the senses (sound,smell etc) and verbs that describe a state (appear, become etc) are linking verbs. They are called stative verbs.

For eg. She is all right.

Some of the linking verbs can function as action verbs. For eg.:

The food tasted good. (linking verb)

They tasted the food. (action verb)

E) It is I OR It is me?

When a personal pronoun is follows a linking verb remember to always use the subject case of the pronoun. Subject cases are: I, we, you,he,she,they,it.

Correct: It is I at the door.

Incorrect: It is me at the door.

Correct: This is he speaking (on the phone).

Incorrect: This is me speaking.

F) Let’s work together vs Let we work together.

The English verb is distinct in its functions to denote either a fact or a command or a possibility or a wish. These are grammatically termed as Moods. A Fact is an Indicative Mood. A command is Imperative mood. A possibility or a wish is Subjunctive mood.

Indicative: The English Verb is distinct in its functions.

Imperative: Please leave me alone.

Subjunctive: I wish I were a bird.

Notice that the Imperative sentences have no subject. The implied subject in all imperative sentences is the second person (you) either singular or plural. The only exception to the imperative is the first person subject in sentences like:

Correct: Let us work together.

Incorrect: Let we work together.

Correct: Let them decide on this issue.

Correct: Let me decide on this issue.

G) If I were a millionaire AND If I was a millionaire

The Subjunctive Mood.

A sentence in he subjunctive does one of the following:

1)It expresses a wish.

2)It begins with if and expresses a condition which is contrary to the fact.

3)Begins with as if and as though and describes a speculation.

4) Begins with that and expresses a demand or a suggestion.

Correct: If I were a millionaire, I would buy a house at the beach*

Informal: If I was a millionaire, I would buy a house at the beach.*

* With If clauses in the subjunctive use ‘would’ or ‘could’ in the main clause.

These are some of the fixed expressions in subjunctive.

1)Long live the king!

2) God Bless You!

3)Heaven Forbid!

This excerpt has been reproduced from the book “The Pearson Guide to Verbal Ability for the CAT and other MBA Entrance Examinations” by Sujit Kumar  published by Dorling Kindersley India Pvt Ltd, licensees of Pearson Education in South Asia. The content has been reproduced with permission from the author.

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The author has a vast experience in training students appearing for various competitive exams. He has been preparing candidates for Verbal Ability, Group Discussion and Personal Interview for more than a decade. Apart from holding a diploma in management and corporate experience of more than 10 years, the author holds a masters degree in English Literature. He is currently working with CPLC,Mumbai as a Faculty and a part of the senior management.

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