ТОП 10:

I. 5. Classification of the English Verb.

In order to master the use of the English verbs one should differentiate between the following classes of verbs.

1. Terminative vs. Durative


Terminative verbs imply a limit beyond which the action cannot continue.

e.g. “open”, “close”, “bring”, “break”.

Durative verbs imply no such limit with the action going on indefinitely.

e.g. “live”, “speak”, “know”, “sit”.


2. Dynamic (Actional) vs Stative (Statal)

Динамичные (Активного Действия) ↔ Статичные (Состояния)

Dynamic verbs denote actions and as such admit of the Continuous forms.

Stative verbs denote a variety of states – those of physical perceptions (“hear”, “see”, etc.); emotions (“respect”, “like”, “love”, “adore”, “dislike”, “hate”, etc); wish (“wish”, “want”, “desire”, etc); results of mental activity (“doubt”, “know”, “mind” (“возражать”), “”recall”, “recognize”, “regard” (and its synonyms), “remember”, “trust”, “understand”, etc); relations (“apply”, “be”, “belong”, “concern”, “consist”, “contain”, “depend”, “differ”, “equal”, “fit”, “have”, “include”, “involve”, “lack”, “matter”, “need”, “owe”, “own”, “remain”, require”, etc.); and other miscellaneous states (“agree”, “allow”, “appear”, “astonish”, “claim”, “consent”, “envy”, “fail (to do smth)”, “find”, “forbid”, “forgive”, “intend”, “interest”, “keep (doing smth)”, “manage (to do smth), “mean”, “object”, “please”, “prefer”, “prevent”, “puzzle”, refuse”, “remind”, “satisfy”, “seem” (and its synonyms), “succeed”, “suit”, “surprise”, “tend”, “value”, etc) – and normally do not admit of the Continuous forms.

Due to polysemy some verbs can be dynamic in one meaning and stative in another, cf. “think” – “считать, полагать (что …)” and “обдумывать”.


3. Regular vs. Irregular


The regular verbs form their Past Simple Tense and Past Participle by means of the inflexion “-ed” added to the plain stem of the verb. This is the largest group going back to the Germanic week verbs, and the pattern “stem + -ed” is the productive one according to which all new verbs form their Past Simple Tense and Past Participle.

The irregular verbs have their fixed Past Simple Tense and Past Participle forms built after a variety of patterns going back to the Germanic strong verbs. These are about 250 in number, but they are the most frequent and indispensable.

Here are some examples of the possible three-forms-of-the-verb combinations:


“begin – began – begun”, “sing – sang – sung”  

                                  – different root vowel change in the 2nd and the 3rd forms;


“find – found – found”, “meet – met – met”   

                                     – the same root vowel change in the 2nd and the 3rd forms;


“write – wrote – written”, “blow – blew – blown”

           – root vowel change in the 2nd and the old inflexion “-(e)n” in the 3rd form;



“lie – lay – lain”, “speak – spoke – spoken”

 – root vowel change in the 2nd and root vowel change combined with the old inflexion “-(e)n” in the 3rd form;


“hear – heard – heard’, “sell – sold – sold”, “keep – kept – kept”, “mean – meant – meant” 

– the same root vowel change in the 2nd and the 3rd forms  combined with the inflexion “-d (-t)” in the 3rd form;


“bend – bent – bent”, “build – built – built”, “lend – lent – lent”

– changing of the final “-d” into -t” in the 2nd and the 3rd forms;


“catch – caught – caught”, “leave – left – left”, “lose – lost – lost”, “have – had – had”

– the same root vowel change in the 2nd and the 3rd forms  combined with some consonantal changes;


“cut – cut – cut”, “hurt – hurt – hurt”, “put – put – put”, “hit – hit – hit”

– the same form for all the three forms of the verb – i.e. homonymy of forms.


“run – ran – run”, “come – came – come”; “beat – beat – beaten”

– partial homonymy of forms – the 1st and the 3rd or the 1st and the 2nd;

N.B. “read – read – read” [ri:d – red – red] – a case of homography (i.e. the same spelling but different pronunciation;


“be – was / were – been”, “go – went – gone”

– entirely different root for the 2nd form – the so-called “suppletion”;


“crow – crew – crowed”, “show – showed – shown”

– mixed formation – regular for one form and irregular for the other.  


A number of verbs have both regular and irregular forms. In most cases the choice depends on whether we stick to the rules of British or American English.

E.g. the following verbs are irregular in British and regular in American English:

“burn – burnt (burned) – burnt (burned)”, “dream – dreamt (dreamed) – dreamt (dreamed)”, “lean – leant (leaned) – leant (leaned)”, “learn – learnt (learned) – learnt (learned)”, “smell – smelt (smelled) – smelt (smelled)”, “spell – spelt (spelled) – spelt (spelled)”, “spill – spelt (spelled) – spelt (spelled)”, “spoil – spoilt (spoiled) – spoilt (spoiled)”, “wake – woke (waked) – woken (waked)”.

 The following verbs are irregular in American and regular in British English:

“fit – fit (fitted) – fit (fitted)”, “quit – quit (quitted) – quit (quitted)”, “wet – wet (wetted) – wet (wetted)”, “dive – dove (dived) –dived (dived)”.

The verb “get” has different Past Participle forms in British English – “got” and American English – “gotten” (except when in the combination “have got”).


4. Transitive vs. Intransitive


Transitive verbs require some kind of object to complete their meaning. They may be followed by: a) a direct object – an object immediately affected by the denoted action, e.g. “He always tells the truth.”; b) a combination of a direct object and an indirect object – an addressee (recipient / beneficiary) of the denoted action, e.g. “He gave me a book.”; c) a prepositional object – an object (a directly affected one or the addressee) collocated with the preceding verb with the help of a preposition (v + prep. + n), “Jane looks after her sister.”

Hence, the transitive verbs may be subdivided into: a) monotransitive, b) ditransitive and c) prepositional transitive verbs.

Intransitive verbs do not require some kind of object for the completion of their meaning, e.g. “The sun rises at the East.”

Only transitive verbs seem to be able to have Passive Voice forms, e.g. Active Voice: “He told me a story.” Passive Voice: “A story was told to me (by him).” – A Direct Passive. / “I was told a story (by him)”. – An Indirect Passive.

However, under some specific conditions, intransitive verbs do occur in passive constructions, e.g. “The bed has not been slept in”. “The house has not been lived in so far.”


5. Notional vs. Structural

Понятийные (Знаменательные)Структурные

Notional verbs always have a lexical meaning of their own an independent function in the sentence, e.g. “John lives in London. He lived in London during the war. Actually, he has been living since he was born.”

Structural verbs are always closely connected with some other words in the sentence. They are subdivided into auxiliary, modal, aspective (phasal), link (copulative) and structural verbs.

• Auxiliary verbs (“be”, “have”, “do”) are combined with non-finite verb-forms to build up analytical forms. They have lost their lexical meaning and bear a grammatical meaning only.

E.g. “I am trying to help you.” “Do you know the traffic rules?” “The work is done.”

Modal and aspective (phasal) verbs go together with a non-finite form (a verbal) of another verb to form a compound verbal (modal and aspective – respectively) predicate.

Modal verbs specify the speakers attitude to the action, e.g. “can” and “may” – ability to do smth., permission, request, prohibition, doubt;  “must” – necessity, order, prohibition, certainty; etc. Together with an infinitive they form a compound verbal modal predicate.

E.g. “I can read and write.” “He must have been here before.” “You should take care of yourself.”

•  Aspective (phasal) verbs specify the phase of the action – its beginning (“begin”, “start”), continuation (“continue”, “go on”, “keep”) or end (“stop”, “cease”, “give up”). When coupled with an infinitive or gerund (depending on the verb used) they make up a compound verbal aspective predicate.

E.g. “She started to sing.” “They kept looking at me.”

• Link (copulative / copula) verbs go together with a predicative (i.e. a noun, pronoun, adjective, adverb, numeral, verbal, clause) to form a compound nominal predicate. They are used to denote a state (the so-called verbs of being: “be“, “feel”, “seem”, “appear”, “look”, “taste”, “smell”, “sound”), coming into a state verbs of becoming: “become”, “grow”, “turn”, get”, “make”) and keeping a state (verbs of remaining: “remain”, “keep”, “stay”).

E.g. “It is (feels, seems, looks, etc.) good.” “The man became (grew, turned) cold.”

N.B. There is a group of verbs which while retaining their full lexical meaning can also perform the function of a link verb. Here belong the verbs “sit”, “stand”, “lie”, “leave”, “return”, “live”, “die”, “fall”. When combined with a predicative they form a verbal nominal predicate.

E.g. “They lied motionless.” (= “They lied and were motionless.”)

“He died a hero.” (=“He died and he is a hero.”)


II.            Глагол (The Verb): Личные Формы (Finite Forms)

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