Tuesday, 14 September 2021 11:31

Verbs - Class 8 English Revision Notes

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Transitive and Intransitive Verbs

Transitive verbs require a direct object for their meaning to be complete.

 Subject   Transitive Verb   Direct object   Meaning 
 Jenny  erased.       incomplete 
 Jenny  earsed  the whiteboard.   complete 
 Gary  told.    incomplete 
 Gary  told   a secret.   complete


Intransitive verbs do NOT require a direct object for their meaning to be complete.

 Subject   Intransitive Verb   Direct object   Adverbial   Meaning 
Wendy  slept.       complete 
Peter   ran  the whiteboard.   to school.  complete 


Some verbs can be transitive or intransitive depending on the context in the sentence

 Subject      Verb   Direct object   Adverbial    Transitive/Intransitive  
 Doug    moved   the sofa.        transitive 
 Doug    moved     to Singapore.        intransitive 
 Kelly    left  her bag  at home.      transitive 
 Kelly    left    at three O'clock     intransitive  

Progressive and Non-progressive (Stative) Verbs

Progressive verbs describe an action occurring over a period of time. They are formed with the verb be + the present participle (-ing form)

 Subject   Be   Present Participle  
  I  am  reading   the newspaper. 
 Angela  was   washing  the dishes. 
 They  had been   running   a marathon. 


Non-progressive (Stative) verbs do not describe actions. Instead, they describe a state or condition. The state or condition can occur over a period of time. They are NOT formed with be + the present participle.

 Subject   Stative Verb   
  Diana  loves  Casey.
  Pizza  tastes   good. 
 They  understand  Spanish. 

Common non-progressive (stative) verbs: appreciate, believe, dislike, exist, fear, hate, know, like, love, need, prefer, realize, resemble, seem, sound, understand

Many verbs can be progressive or non-progressive (stative) depending on the context of the sentence.

 Subject    Verb    Progressive/ Stative 
  John  thinks  soccer is fun.   stative
  Kevin  is thinking   about soccer.  progressive
 Shelley  feels    sick.  stative 
 Lisa  is feeling  the rabbit's fur.   progressive

Common progressive and non-progressive verbs: appear, cost, feel, forget, have, hear, imagine, include, look, measure, remember, see, smell, taste, think, want, weigh

Phrasal Verbs

Phrasal verbs are verbs that combine with a preposition to create a meaning that is different from the two words taken separately. With some phrasal verbs, the object must be placed after the preposition.

   Verb   Preposition     Meaning 
 Sherri   came   across  someone's wallet on the street.   found by chance 
 Did Craig  drop   by     his friend's house?   visit
 We didn't   get   on  thye bus.  enter (a vehicle)

Other common non-separable phrasal verbs: check in, drop out (of), get along (with), get off, get in, grow up, look after, take after, run into.

With some phrasal verbs, the object can be placed between the verb and the preposition or after the preposition.

   Verb   Object   Preposition   Meaning 
 Barney   figured   the answer   out.  found/understood 
 Did she   pick  a candy  out?  choose 
 He didn't   turn  his ipod  off.  stop 

Other common separable phrasal verbs: call off, cheer up, drop off, find out, give up, hand in, look up, make up, put off, take over, turn on, turn down

Note that not every verb + preposition is a phrasal verb. Phrasal verbs are only those combinations that have a separate meaning.

   Verb   Preposition     Phrasal verb/Not 
 The ball   dropped       by   the big tree.    not 
 We  dropped      by  the store for some milk    phrasal verb
 She  looked     into   a trip to Hawaii.   phrasal verb
 Charlie   looked     into   the fridge to see if there was any milk.   not


Verb Moods

Indicative and Imperative

The indicative mood is the most common verb mood in English. It is used to express facts and opinions, or to ask questions about them. The indicative mood is used in all verb tenses.

 Indicative Conjugation (Simple Present)   I am going to visit Paris next week.
You looked happy yesterday.
My dog is barking at passing cars.
Does she have my book?
Do they study English on Tuesdays?      
              I  am
      He/ She/ It  is
    You/ We/ They  are


The imperative mood is used to make requests or give orders and warnings. It is used only in the simple present and future tenses.

The subject in the imperative mood is always you. In simple present tense, the you-subject is not usually stated.  Pass me the salt, please.
Don’t walk near my vegetable garden.
Look out for those bees!
In the simple future tense, the you-subject is usually stated. It is used to place stronger emphasis on a command. Finish your homework tonight. (command)
You will finish your homework tonight (strong command)


Present Subjunctive

The subjunctive mood is used to express uncertain actions or states.

The present subjunctive* is formed with the base form of a verb. It follows verbs, nouns, or adjectives that express suggestion, demand, or request.

 Words of suggestion used: determine, determination, propose, recommend, recommendation, suggest, suggestion, advise, advisable, critical, desirable, important, vital, urge The doctor suggested I sleep more.
My recommendation is that he sleep more.
The doctor’s recommendation is that they sleep more.
It is advisable that she sleep more.**
Words of demand used: demand, imperative, insist, necessary, order, require, required. My parents demand that I be quiet at night.
Your parents require that you be quiet at night. It is imperative that she not be noisy at night.
Words of request used: ask, beg, prefer, request, wish I ask that you have more patience with the other students.
The teacher requested that Nick have his project finished a day earlier


* The term “present” refers to the form of the subjunctive verb (base form) rather than the time in which the action happens. The following sentences all use the present subjunctive mood:

  • The patient asked that he be given more medicine.
  • The patient requests that he be given more medicine.
  • The patient is demanding that he be given more medicine.
  • The patient will insist that he be given more medicine.

** Often, that is not omitted from sentences.

Past Subjunctive

The subjunctive mood is also used to express uncertain actions or states.

The past subjunctive* is formed with the simple past form of a verb that describes a state, condition, or habit. With the verb be, the form were (not was) is always used. It refers to hypothetical or imaginary situations.

The past subjunctive is used after the verb wish to express an unfulfilled desire I wish Sally were here to help us.
He wishes he could run faster
 It is also used after the verbs suppose and imagine or with if (only) phrases to express unreal conditions. Such sentences are usually followed by would or could. Suppose you met the president. What would you say? Imagine you were rich. What would you do first?
If people drove smaller cars, we could all breathe cleaner air
The past subjunctive is also used when a comparison to an imaginary condition is made. In this case, as though or as if usually precedes it She acts as though she were very rich, but she’s not.
He drives as if he were in a Formula 1 race.


Verb Tenses

The time of an action or the state of being is expressed by different forms of the verb. These forms are called the tenses of the verb.
There are three main forms of a verb: the present, the past, or the future.

The Present Tense

A verb which is in present tense indicates what the subject of the sentence is doing right now.
The teacher sees the students.
The verb sees tells that the teacher is seeing the students now. To show the present tense, an -s or -es is added to most verbs if the subject is singular.

If the subject is plural, or I or You, the -s, or -es is not added.
The bird hatches in the nest.
The stream flows down the hill.
The boys rush for their breakfast.
We talk a lot.

Rules for forming the Present Tense with Singular Subjects

  1. Most verbs: add –s
    get – gets
    play – plays
    eat – eats
  2. Verbs ending in s, ch, sh, x, and z: add-es
    pass – passes
    mix – mixes
    buzz – buzzes
    push – pushes
  3. Verbs ending with a consonant and y:
    change the y to i and add -es
    try - tries
    empty – empties

The Past Tense

A verb which is in past tense shows what has already happened.
Tito liked his grandmother’s story.
The verb liked tells that the action in the sentence happened before now.

Rules for forming the Past Tense

  1. Most verbs: Add -ed
    play – played
    talk – talked
    climb – climbed
  2. Verbs ending with e: Add -d
    praise – praised
    hope – hoped
    wipe – wiped
  3. Verbs ending with a consonant and -y: the y to i and add -ed
    bury – buried
    carry – carried
    study – studied
  4. Verbs ending with a single vowel and a consonant: Double the final consonant and add-ed
    stop – stopped
    man – manned
    trip – tripped

The Future Tense

A verb which is in future tense tells what is going to happen.
Evans will take his car to the garage.
She will probably come with us.

The verbs will take and will come tell us what is going to happen. Hence, they are in future tense.

To form the future tense of a verb, use the helping verb will or shall with the main verb.

The Simple Tenses

The most common tenses of the verb are the simple tenses. You use them most often in your speaking and writing.

  1. Present simple tense.
    Look at the following sentences.
    1. I know Kisumu
    2. He goes to school everyday.
    3. The sun rises from the east.
      All the above sentences contain a verb in the present simple tense. This tense is used for different purposes.
      1. To state a personal fact
        Example: I know Kisumu.
      2.  To point out a regular habit.
        Example: He goes to school everyday.
      3. To state known a scientific fact
        Example: The sun rises from the east.
  2. Past Simple Tense
    The past simple tense is used when an action has been completed .
    We cleaned our classrooms yesterday.
    He drove the car this morning.
    She planned the whole incident.
  3. Future Simple Tense
    The future simple tense places the action or condition in the future. It is formed by using the word shall or will before the present form of the main verb.
    We shall need help with her load.
    She will eat the bananas alone.
    The dancers will entertain them.

The Perfect Tenses

The perfect tenses are used to show that an action was completed or that a condition existed before a given time.
The perfect tenses are formed using has, have, or had before the past participles i.e.
verb forms ending in -ed.

  1. Present Perfect Tense:
    Ceasar has just finished his homework.
    Kamau and Njoroge have now agreed to meet.
  2. Present Perfect Continuous Tense
    Kibet has been working in his shamba for two hours.
    We have been swimming in this pool for ten minutes.
  3. Past Perfect Tense
    We had completed the work by the time the supervisor came.
    Nobody knew that she had already remarried.
  4. Past Perfect Continuous Tense
    I had been trying to contact him for two hours before he finally appeared.
    Mrs. Masumbuko had been feeling unwell the whole week before she decided to visit
    a doctor.
  5. Future Perfect Tense
    Agege will have sold his goats by two p.m.
    By next term, twenty students will have dropped from this school.
  6. Future Perfect Continuous
    The players will have been playing for twenty minutes by the time the President arrives.
    By the end of this term, she will have been living with her aunt for five years.

The Progressive Verb Forms

The progressive form of the verb shows continuing action.
I am singing
She was dancing.

The progressive form is formed using various forms of the verb be plus the present participle i.e. a verb form that ends in -ing.

  1. Present Progressive Tense
    I am reading a book about Red Indians.
    Her mother is preparing dinner.
  2. Present Perfect Progressive
    He has been cleaning his car since morning.
    They have been exercising for a week now.
  3. Past Progressive Tense
    She was cooking supper when I arrived.
    They were fighting fiercely when the police arrived.
  4. Past Perfect Progressive Tense
    Sonko had been wearing an earing for years before he removed it.
    Onyancha had been killing children before he was finally discovered.
  5. Future Progressive
    He will be tilling the land next week.
    Joyce and Joan will be washing clothes all morning.
  6. Future Perfect Progressive
    The children will have been sleeping for two hours by the time their parents arrive.
    John will have grown a beard by the time he is twelve.
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