• 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”


In the English Vocabulary Profile: begin verb START TO HAPPEN A1 begin verb START TO DO A2 begin with sth B1 to begin with B1: at the start of a situation to begin with B2: the first important reason for something A2: Look, son, I can’t even begin to tell you how proud of you I‘ve been these past weeks. listen   B1: Let’s begin with where you were born. listen   B2 grammar: …

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can’t bear + to-infinitive

In the English Vocabulary Profile at B2, ‘bear’ is defined: accept someone or something unpleasant For example: I can’t bear to see him like this. listen *There are other uses of ‘bear’ that are more advanced.  However, the sense defined above has a distinct grammar pattern: (CAN | COULD) (often negative) + bear + (to-infinitive | Verb-ing | noun phrase) Verb-ing …

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really | always | sometimes + VERB

The first point in the English Grammar Profile! A1 point 1 in the category of ADVERBS is defined: adverbs of degree and time to modify verbs. An iWeb search for: really|always|sometimes _VV   1 REALLY WANT 213278 I really want a brother.   Listen to the pronunciation 2 REALLY LIKE 181415 3 REALLY NEED 161580 4 REALLY KNOW …

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there is | there are

Although ‘There is’ and ‘There are’ is an A1 elementary piece of grammar, the noun phrases as complements are quite difficult for English learners. The following sentences are corrected sentences from Thai students: There are many religions in Thailand. There are many different cultures and traditions. There are many fresh plants and beautiful flowers. See uncorrected versions here. Point 1 in the category of  VERBS: there is/are + singular noun …

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MORE * * * THAN (complex comparisions)

A simple comparison in English is “She is more important than you.” One way to make comparisons more complex is to increase the number of words between ‘more’ and ‘than.’  This could include nouns or adjectives followed by non-finite clauses such as the following EXPERT EXAMPLE: Today, billions of citizens have more tools, more access to information, more capacity to influence than ever before. TED Pearson’s GSE 66 B2 structure is defined …

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if + necessary | any | anything | in doubt (subject and verb ellipsis)

Here are EXPERT EXAMPLES of subject and verb ellipsis after ‘if’: When you speak your character’s words, you can hear whether they sound natural, and fix them if necessary. TED *If necessary = if it is necessary. Unlike the billions of people who have few options, if any, due to war, poverty or illness, you have plentiful opportunities to live decisively. TED *if any = if there are any.     Planet Radio If in doubt, don’t drive. *if in doubt = in you are in doubt. GSE 66 B2 omit …

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Here’s an example of the preposition ‘after’ complemented by a non-finite perfect form of the passive ‘having been p.p.’ Roughly a month and a half after having been laid, the surviving eggs hatch. Listen In the English Grammar Profile, there are two similar C2 points in the category of passives: Point 38: non-finite ‘-ing’ perfect forms of the passive as the complement of prepositions. Point …

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There ‘BE’ a lot of + NOUN

Point 15 in the category of VERBS is defined: ‘there is’ and ‘there are’ + ‘a lot of’ + plural noun iWeb doesn’t allow for longer than 5 token searches: _EX _VB a lot of 1 THERE ARE A LOT OF 145235 2 THERE IS A LOT OF 69785 3 THERE ‘S A LOT OF …

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verb + object + clause

Point 12 in the category of VERBS/patterns is defined: verbs, typically reporting verbs, followed by a noun or pronoun as the indirect object and a clause with or without ‘that’, as the direct object. *Note some of our search results are not indirect objects.  However, the A2 complexity is still there with relative clauses. _VV …

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reporting verbs

Point 18 in VERBS/patterns: reporting verbs, especially mental process verbs, with a clause as the direct object, without ‘that’, especially in informal contexts. *notably, in the English Grammar Profile examples, all the verbs but ‘said’ are in the present tense. There are grammar points that use this same construction but in the past at higher …

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BE | HAVE | DO (auxiliary verbs)

Here is another group of A2 English Grammar Profile points that overlap multiple categories.  Many of these could be all merged into one point. Point 3 in the category of QUESTIONS: yes/no AUXILIARY ‘BE’ + subject + the continuous Point 5 in QUESTIONS: MAIN VERB ‘BE’ + subject to form ‘yes/no’ question Point 40 in …

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Here are two A2 English Grammar Profile points in different categories that cover imperatives. Point 39 in the category of CLAUSES is defined: affirmative imperative with the base form of a main verb Point 7 in NEGATION:  negative imperatives of main verbs with ‘don’t’ + main verb. However, ‘let me/us’ is listed at B2 in …

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TO infinitive (purpose)

Point 32 in the category of CLAUSES: non-finite subordinate clause with ‘to’, to introduce purpose PELIC STUDENT EXAMPLE: To learn English, just follow these steps. Arabic male level 3 writing class. An iWeb search for: . _TO * * * 1 . TO DO THIS , 35825 2 . TO LEARN MORE ABOUT 29344 3 . TO DO SO , 15803 …

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Let’s + VERB

point 29 in CLAUSES: ‘let’s’ + base form of a main verb, for first person plural imperatives to make a suggestion PELIC STUDENT EXAMPLE: Let’s discuss each change and see some examples of them. Arabic male level 5 writing class. An iWeb search for: Let_VM21 * * * * 1 LET ‘S TAKE A LOOK 31229 2 LET ‘S FACE IT , 17868 3 …

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COULD (range)

A2 point 52 in MODALITY: ‘could’ with a limited range of verbs to make suggestions. A2 point 27 in MODALITY: negative form B1 point 78 in MODALITY: affirmative form of ‘could’ to talk about ability. B1 point 79 in MODALITY: ‘could’ with an increasing range of verbs to make suggestions. An iWeb search for: could …

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MUST (ellipsis of following verb.)

Point 71 in the category of MODALITY: ‘must’ with the following verb ellipted where the previous main verb is understood *Ellipted subject is also B1. EXAMPLE of a following verb ellipted: We can do this because we must. An iWeb search for: * * * must_VM .|! *we have removed incorrectly tagged ‘must’ as a noun. 1 , IF YOU MUST …

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didn’t use to + INFINITVE

Point 60 in MODALITY: ‘used to’ to talk about repeated actions or states in the past that are no longer true. Point 32 in VERBS: semi-modal auxiliary verbs, ‘used to’ and ‘ought to’ *We have already got dedicated pages to semi-modals: See an overview of ‘ought to‘ and ‘used to’ as semi-modal. Since we have …

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am|is|are + going + to-INFINITVE (future)

Here are two examples of ‘BE going to’ with A1 infinitives: It is going to take time. Listen to the pronunciation   Are you going to do anything about it? Listen to the pronunciation In the English Grammar Profile, in the category of FUTURE: B1 Point 31 is defined: ‘be going to’:  increasing range of verbs to make predictions. A2 point 4 is defined: …

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I don’t + think | believe + CLAUSE

Point 14 in the category of NEGATION: negative forms of mental process verbs (‘I don’t think’, ‘I don’t believe’) followed by a complement clause, where the negative form is in the mental process verb rather than the complement clause An iWeb search for: _P _VD _X think|believe that_C 1 I DO N’T THINK THAT 20060 …

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