• Verbs describe actions, states, or occurrences.
  • A verb forms the main part of the predicate of a sentence.
  • The most distinctive property of lexical verbs is their inflection.  For example “…ed” marks past tense.
  • The form of verbs can be described by:
    • mood = indicative (normal), imperative, subjunctive.
    • modality = modal auxiliary (can,  will etc.)
    • tense (present/past)
    • aspect (perfect/continuous),
    • voice (passive/active)
    • number (singular/plural)
    • person (first: I, second: you, third: he etc.)
  • A verb can be the ‘head’ verb in a verb phrase: “might have been seen.”  The particular head verb largely determines what else is allowed in the clause.  For example, “I see you”, I look at you”

subject + adverb + lexical verb + clause

Most reporting or mental processing constructions that introduce object clauses are listed at A2 or B1 in the English Grammar Profile.  We believe that if adverbs are also included, this probably shows B2 ability.  To check this, we look in the TLC speaking tests and find that the most common example only starts being used at …

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TAKE * noun TO infinitive

A search in the NOW corpus for TAKE * _NN1 _TO _VVI 1 TOOK TO TWITTER TO SHARE 5632 UNLISTED  And fans were angry  and they took to Twitter  with the hashtag #WeWantLeia. TED 2 TAKE THIS OPPORTUNITY TO THANK 5134 B2 We want to take this opportunity to thank you for coming  and taking the time to pay your respects. listen 3 TOOK TO TWITTER TO EXPRESS 3331 4 TAKE EVERY EFFORT TO ENSURE 2530 5 TAKES A VILLAGE TO …

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Here is a search in the iWeb corpus for: *ise The 4 most common tags are: (vvi): 213 (vv0): 127 (jj): 119 (nn1): 106 1 OTHERWISE (RR) 1316552 2 NOISE (NN1) 629156 3 EXERCISE (NN1) 625637 4 RAISE (VVI) 536250 5 ENTERPRISE (NN1) 525395 6 EXPERTISE (NN1) 513919 7 RISE (NN1) 464909 8 SURPRISE (NN1) …

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not to be

Verb patterns with ‘not to be’ generally fall between A2 and B1.  If they are also negated, non-finite, passive or ellipted they should be at least B2.   A search in the NOW corpus for: not to be * * 1 NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH 10259 Not to be confused with the diary of Anne Hathaway  which we stole out of her purse at the Gotham Awards. listen 2 NOT …

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BE + past participle + BY phrase

A search in iWeb corpus for: _VB _VVN by 1 BE USED BY 82353 C2 treat someone badly in order to get what you want I knew he wouldn’t take it well,  that he‘d be angry with me,  but why is he allowing himself  to be used by them? A United Kingdom 2 IS CAUSED BY 64234 3 IS DETERMINED BY 56481 C1 Eighty percent of what we are and what we do  is determined by our genetic expression. listen 4 BE CAUSED BY 56024 5 IS USED …

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verb + WITH

Here are advanced examples of verbs + ‘WITH phrases‘: You hope for the best,  then make do with what you get. listen A man threatens you with a gun,  you break his neck,  we can’t call the police,  but it‘s nothing to do with me. listen DO WITH 796814 To find out which lexical verbs are most often followed by a ‘with PHRASE‘, we do a search in the iWeb corpus for: _VV with 1 WORK WITH 976989 A1 verb …

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lexical verb + possessive determiner + noun + TO prepositional phrase

C2 example: Our country owes its creation to a man  they declared insane. listen An iWeb search for: _VV _APPGE _NN to_II 1 MAKE YOUR WAY TO 9604 B2 Please make your way to the nearest exits. listen 2 MAKE THEIR WAY TO 6953 3 MADE THEIR WAY TO 6103 4 CHANGED ITS NAME TO 5283 B2 possessive determiner Facebook changed its name to Meta. But does that mean you should trust it? youtube 5 MADE ITS WAY TO 5135 …

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CAUSE + noun phrase + TO infinitive

B2 To cause something means to make it happen.  This is often a bad thing/negative. Here are some advanced causative examples :   I think the jury is entitled to know what powerful force has caused him to change his mind. listen This tidal wave of high-energy particles  excites atmospheric atoms such as oxygen and nitrogen,  causing them to rapidly shed photons at various energy levels. TED A search in the NOW corpus for: CAUSE _P _TO _VVI 1 CAUSED HIM TO MISS 2458 2 CAUSING HIM TO FALL 1518 3 …

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MAKE + noun phrase + OF

This structure is generally B2 grammar because it often comes with a wide range of general reference nouns without a determiner.  However, more detail can be found in the English Vocabulary Profile regarding meaning and level: make fun of sb/sth = B2 to make a joke about someone or something in an unkind way make …

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lexical verb + THE USE OF

Here are examples of verbs that suggest ability (or lack of) + the noun phrase ‘the use of’: So how have we enabled the use of goats as a reliable form of currency? TED In that service, he actually lost the use of his legs, he‘s paralyzed and he uses marijuana for pain management. TED In the English Vocabulary Profile: the use of sth = C2 permission to use something, or the ability to use something We are interested in finding which verbs might suggest …

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