Helping Verb and Main Verb

I understand there are a lot there who get confused about what is helping verb or main verb or what function does each have in a sentence. This is basically the equation:     Helping Verb + Main Verb = Verb Phrase

VERB PHRASE = is composed of two or more words (helping verb + main verb)  in a sentence that basically has a single function which is as VERB.


(Verb)    Carl walks to work everyday.

(Verb Phrase)      Carl is walking to work right now.

(Verb)     I waited for you last night.

(Verb Phrase)   I have been waiting for you all night.

(Verb) Mary studied this book yesterday.

(Verb Phrase)  Mary has been studying this book for the entire month.


For example: The students must submit their homework by the end of the class.

**In this example, the word submit is the main verb because it expresses the main action in the sentence while must submit is our verb phrase.


1.) The main verb expresses the main action in the sentence.

2.) All main verbs are either action verbs or linking verbs.

3.) Main verbs are also called by other grammarians as Lexical verbs.

4.) The main verbs in the sentence may be of different forms depending on the helping verb(s) before it.


For example:  The student in the class is drawing while listening to her teacher.

**In this example, the word is is the helping verb because it helps the main verb express the time or the tense of the action. It indicates that the action is in the present time.

Let’s have another example: The student in the class was drawing while listening to her teacher.

** Notice how the tense of the sentence changed when we used was instead of is in the verb phrase.

For the idea of necessity, here is the example: All the employees must wear their identification cards before entering the building.

For possibility: The workers may finish the job next week.

Permission: May I borrow the book that you just bought last night?

**Notice that verb phrases may be split when used in asking questions.

For example: Where will you go after this event?


1.) Helping verbs are words that help the main verbs express the time or the tense of the action being expressed in the sentence.

2.) Helping verbs are also known as auxiliary verbs.

3.) Helping  verbs may also express ideas such as possibility, necessity and permission.

4.) The main helping verbs in English are: be (am/is/are), have, do, can, could, may, might, shall, should, will, would and must.

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Meaning of Verb – Action Verb or Linking Verb?

What is a Verb? What is the difference between Action Verbs and Linking Verbs?

There are a lot of people when asked about the meaning of verb would just say, “A verb is an action word”. I’m not saying this definition is wrong. It’s just that this does not convey the complete meaning of a verb. 

Now before we dig deeper, I want to share this really fun song about verbs. I’m sure you’ll love it because I really do.

A verb describes an action or a state of being or condition. It tells us what someone or something does. A verb also helps to describe what someone or something is or is like.

Verbs which describe events, actions, activities or happenings are what we call  action verbs.

For example:

The little girl opened the windows.

Fred runs every morning.

The dolphin jumped into the water.

Verbs which describe a condition or a state of being are called linking verbs.

 The most common linking verbs in English are am, is, are, was, were, feel, sound, smell, taste, look, remain, turn and so on.

For example:

I am happy right now.

She is so beautiful.

The cake smells good.

My ice cream tastes so sweet.

Her father remained faithful until the end.

Tina’s documents turned yellow after many years of keeping them.

It is very easy to spot the be verbs (am/is/are/was/were) as linking verbs in sentences, but many might get confused when they see the verbs of senses (sound, taste, look, smell, feel). Just remember that many verbs that can be used as linking verbs can also be used as action verbs.

For example:

Carlo smells his cake before he eats it. (Action Verb)

Carlo’s cake smells really delicious. (Linking Verb)

Andrea looked at me with amazement. (Action Verb)

Andrea looked really amazing today. (Linking Verb)

To spot the difference quicker and easier, try to substitute the be verbs (am/is/are/was/were) in the verb slot  and if the sentence makes sense, then it’s most probably a linking verb.

For example:

I felt  really great today.

(I was really great today.) The sentence makes sense, and it tells us the condition of the subject. Therefore, felt is a linking verb.

I felt the softness of my skin.

(I was the softness of my skin.) The sentence doesn’t make sense, so felt is an action verb.

More examples:

He turned his back on me. (Action Verb)

He turned angry after hearing me shout. (Linking Verb)

David sounded upset after the meeting.(Linking Verb)

David sounded the alarm to start the meeting. (Action Verb)

The cookie I baked tasted sweet and delicious.(Linking Verb)

My daughter tasted the cookie I baked for her. (Action Verb)

See also:

Nouns for Beginners

What is Pronoun – Why do we have to know pronous

Eight Parts of Speech


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What is PRONOUN: Why do we have to know pronouns?

cavemenWhat is pronoun? Why is pronoun important? What are the types of pronouns?

These are some of the things discussed on this page.

A pronoun is a substitute of a noun. In other words, a pronoun takes the place of a   noun.

Take a look at the picture above. The three cavemen are having a conversation:

     Mike: Hhhmmnn. Mike cannot see Tarzan and Jane! Rick and Tim also don’t see Tarzan and Jane. Where are Tarzan and Jane?

     Rick: Rick saw Tarzan and Jane this morning , but now Rick don’t see Tarzan and Jane? Do Tim know where are Tarzan and Jane?

     Tim: Tim also don’t know. Mike, Rick and Tim just go home!

Notice how many times the names Tarzan and Jane as well as Mike Tim and Rick were mentioned. Without pronouns, everybody in the world will sound like cavemen, and everything else we say will  be full of repetitions. So that’s how important a pronoun is.

Types of Pronouns

Here are the common types of pronouns as well as some of their examples.

Personal Pronoun  – It is a pronoun which is used to point out people or things.

Subject Case:  I         We       You        They        He        She       It

Object Case:  me        us          you        them       him       her        it

Possessive Case: mine     ours     yours    theirs        his      hers

Interrogative Pronoun – It is a pronoun used to ask questions.

Who           Whom          Whose          Which        What

Indefinite Pronoun It is a pronoun which is used to point out someone or something without telling exactly what it is, which one, how much or how many.

somebody      someone      something    anyone      anything     any     nothing

none               no one           nobody          everything      everyone   all       some

each               much              few               many

Demonstrative Pronoun – It is a pronoun which is used to point to people or things emphasizing the distance and the number. 

                                     near                  far  

     Singular                 this                            that

     Plural                     these                      those

Possessive Pronoun – It is a pronoun which shows ownership or possession.

mine            ours              yours              theirs                his                hers               its

Relative Pronoun –  It is a pronoun which introduces a relative clause.

What                Which                     Whose                   Whom                   That

Reflexive Pronoun – It is a pronoun which comes with a suffix (-self/-selves). This pronoun is used to point back to the subject of the sentence.

myself             yourself/yourselves             ourselves               themselves              himself                  herself              itself

Here is a very good video for you to watch!

I hope you like this post. Feel free to suggest or comment. Thanks and enjoy!

See also NOUNS for beginners.

Meaning of Verb – Action Verb or Linking Verb

Eight Parts of Speech


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Nouns for Beginners


So what is a noun? What are the two main classes of nouns? Let’s study nouns the easiest way that we can.

I used to teach Korean students too, and I know how difficult it is to make some of them, especially the “newly arrived”, understand even simple words. Now let’s start by considering the definition and some examples of nouns.

The Eight Parts of Speech are:  Noun, Pronoun, Adjective, Verb, Adverb,      Conjunction, Preposition and Interjection. For now, let’s concentrate on nouns.


A noun is a name of a person, a place or a thing.  Take a minute to look around you. You may as well want to open the window to enjoy the view. Anything that you see, smell, touch, taste or hear around you is a noun. Every thing that has a name is a noun.

For Example:

Person: boy, girl, mother, father, queen, uncle, doctor

Place: Korea, Japan, market, school, Rome

Thing: bag, computer, book, chair, dictionary

These are the two main classes of nouns: The Proper Nouns and the Common Nouns.

Proper Noun It is the specific name of a person a place or a thing. It always starts with a capital letter unless it begins a sentence.

Common NounA name shared in common by a person, a place or a thing. It usually begins with a small letter.


     Proper                                 Common

Michael                                                       boy

Samsung                                        dictionary

Korea                                                       place

Obama                                            president

Diana                                                  princess

The boy named Michael is my brother.

The brand of my dictionary is Samsung.

The place I most want to visit is Korea.

The president of United States is Obama.

Diana is the name of the princess I love the most.

Now, under the category common noun, we have sub categories. They are concrete, abstract, collective and  possessive nouns.

A concrete noun is anything you can touch, smell, hear, feel or taste. In other words, this is the noun of the senses.

Examples: book, chair, table, computer, apple, mango, radio, noise, etc.

An abstract noun is the exact opposite of a concrete noun. Anything that you cannot perceive by your senses is an abstract noun.

Examples: glory, blessing, power, wisdom, anger, hope, etc.

A collective noun comes as group and is treated as a single unit.


Possessive Noun: Teacher Hennie’s class

Examples: family, class, group, team, herd, school, colony,  army, band, etc.

Possessive nouns show ownership. We usually add apostrophe (‘) and -s after a noun to show possession.


I like the dress of Mary.     —>     I like Mary’s dress.

My friend wants to borrow the dictionary of Jane.     –>     Jane’s dictionary

Terry enjoys playing with the toys of Dany.      –>    Dany’s toys

To better help you understand and remember the lesson, here is a good noun song you can watch. Check this out and enjoy!

To those ESL teachers and beginner students out there, I hope you find this page useful.

See also PRONOUNS: Why do we have to study them?

                  Meaning of Verb – Action Verb or Linking Verb

                  Eight Parts of Speech


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