Tag Archives: eight parts of speech

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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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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