Identifying a verb

Words in the English language are broadly divided into eight parts of speech: nouns, pronouns, adjectives, adverbs, verbs, prepositions, conjunctions, interjections. Words belonging to different parts of speech have different grammatical properties. And hence students should be able to identify them.

How is identifying parts of speech done?

Well, here are some simple techniques that you can employ.

Identifying a verb

The word is probably a verb if it has different forms. For example, verbs have an –ing form and an infinitive form. Verbs can also be used with modal auxiliary verbs like will, shall, can, could etc. Here are some examples:

Come is a verb. It can be used with the modals. You can, for example, say will come or should come. It also has an –ing form and an infinitive.

  • I would like to come.
  • I hate coming late.

Now consider the word run. Is it a verb? Well, let’s see. Can we use it with modal auxiliary verbs? Yes, we can. We can, for example, say will run and could run.

  • He can run four miles in 30 minutes.
  • She will run.

The word run also has an –ing form and an infinitive form.

The thief tried to run away.

He came running to me.


Underline the verbs in the following sentences.

1. My mother makes delicious cakes.

2. Alice wants to go abroad.

3. Gautam works for an insurance company.

4. The boy solved the puzzle in a few minutes.

5. The wind blew fiercely.

6. The terrorists tried to blow up the bridge.

7. The girl cried for help.


In some cases the same word can serve different purposes. For example, the word help is a verb in the sentence ‘Help me’. It is a noun in the sentence ‘She cried for help.’