How to Find Verbs Key
Courtesy Oestara Publishing LLC
©1996 Cynthia Joyce Clay Please respect the copyright of the author by only reproducing for non-commercial purposes.
SCIENCE FICTION GRAMMAR TABLE OF CONTENTS
Since the most common type of verb is the action verb, one means of finding the verb is to ask,
What's happening? or What's being
The word that answers that question will be your verb. Then all you need to do is look for the helping verbs.
For instance, in the sentence Marcus has gone to the moon for some cheese. If you ask 'What's happening?' the answer is clearly 'gone.' Then, you look to the left of the main verb 'gone' for a helping verb, and you find 'has.' Just keep backing up--looking to the left--for verbs. If you find a word ending in 'ly' do not include the 'ly' word in the verb, but keep backing up. Ly-words are a signal that there may be more helping verbs. The words 'not' and 'never' are also signals to keep looking for helping verbs.
When you need to find the complete verb, remember that it may
be ONE, TWO, THREE, OR FOUR words! For instance,
the sentence, Jose is an alien has only ONE verb;
the sentence, Alicia has flown home has TWO verb;s
the sentence, Octavius must have been surprised has three verbs;
the sentence, Daniela should have been studying has four verbs;
IN THESE SENTENCES, THE ACTION VERB HAS BEEN FOUND BY ASKING 'What's happening? AND THEN HELPERS HAVE BEEN FOUND.
1. Gazelda is known for catching tornadoes.
2. She has caught them in Texas, Iowa, Illinois, and Georgia.
3. The people of the Miami have decided to hire Gazelda.
4. The Miamians should have hired Gazelda years ago.
5. Tornadoes have been plaguing Miami.
6. So, Gazelda has come to Miami to increase her collection of tornadoes.
7. When the sky turns pea-green or yellow, Gazelda readies herself. (This sentence has two clauses.)
8. She wraps a dark cloak about her shoulders.
9. Then, she takes a bottle from her pocket and removes the cork. (This sentence has a compound verb.)
10. Next, she opens her umbrella.
11. The umbrella lifts her up into the sky.
12. Gazelda heads for the bulge in the clouds.
13. As soon as the bulge forms into a funnel cloud, Gazelda holds her bottle beneath the cloud and sucks in her breath. (This sentence has two clauses, and the second clause has a compound verb.)
14. The suction forces the funnel cloud into the bottle.
15. Quickly, Gazelda corks the bottle.
16. The funnel cloud never has a chance to touch down.
17. Gazelda floats down to earth and closes her umbrella. (This sentence has a compound verb.)
18. She then inspects the bottle.
19. Within it, the tornado rages.
20. Gazelda must then show the bottled tornado to the people before they will pay her. (This sentence has two clauses.)
21. Gazelda has collected five hundred tornadoes so far.
22. She wants to have the largest collection on Earth.
23. What will she do with them all?
24. Ah, that question has worried me for some time.
Linking verbs are a bit trickier to find, but if you remember that the word "is" is ALWAYS a verb it will help. If a verb can be changed to the word 'is' and the sentence still makes sense, then that word is a linking verb, and you have found the sentence's main verb.
For instance, in the sentence, She looks pretty, the word 'looks' can be changed to the word 'is' and the sentence still means more or less the same thing--She is pretty. Once you find the linking verb, all that is left to do is to check for helping verbs.
NOTICE THE LINKING VERBS AND THEIR HELPING VERBS IN THESE SENTENCES.
1. The man is a monster.
2. His skin looks mottled green and purple. (Notice that you can replace the word "looks" with the word "is" and the sentence still makes sense.)
3. His mouth resembles a snout. (You can replace the word "resembles" with the word "is" and the sentence still makes sense.)
4. His teeth appear long and sharp like a wolf's. (You can replace the word "appear" with the word "is" and the sentence still makes sense.)
5. His ears are on top of his head and are pointed and furry. (This sentence has a compound verb.)
6. His eyes seem to be slits of purple light. (You can replace the phrase "seem to be" with the word "are" and the sentence still makes sense.)
7. His nose is an empty hollow.
8. He acts like a vampire. (You can replace the word "acts" with the word "is" and the sentence still makes sense.)
9. His skin feels slimy. (You can replace the word "feels" with the word "is" and the sentence still makes sense.)
10. Truly, the man must have been ugly from birth.
There are also more web pages on verbs. Just go to the Grammar Table of Contents to find them.