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Reflexive VerbsEdit

No mention in this article - there is a Wikipedia page on them - and no link for the main verb page. Grammar is outside my area - but this obviously is missing and someone capable needs to work it in. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:58, 6 April 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Verb TensesEdit

There are dozens upon dozens of verb tenses across many Western languages: present, progressive, imperfect, preterite, present subjunctive, past subjunctive, conditional, future, present perfect, past perfect, etc. Any mention of these? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 00:15, 25 December 2005

You're mixing tense with aspect and mood, but anyway, grammatical tense, present tense, past tense, etc., and the corresponding language articles or subarticles (English verbs, Spanish verbs, etc.) have lots of material. Including everything in this same article would be too much. --Pablo D. Flores (Talk) 04:20, 25 December 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"Action verbs"?Edit

The entry for "Action verb" redirects to "Verb". There is no reference to the term in the article. One is left to wonder what is meant by this curiously redundant term, apparently used by Hunter S. Thompson. 16:45, 28 September 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

An action verb is as opposed to a state-of-being verb (exist, be, copulas, etc.). AFAIK, it's a grammar-school distinction, not one actually used by linguists; I'm not sure what purpose it's supposed to serve. I don't think action verb should redirect here. Ruakh 18:33, 28 September 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Modal verbsEdit

Where do I find information on modal verbs? Ncik 19:50, 16 October 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Are you looking for information on English's modal auxiliary verbs? (Should, might, etc.) Ruakh 19:58, 16 October 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Ditransitive verbsEdit

I've just reverted the change from I gave flowers to John to I gave John flowers. In English the indirect object is often preceded by to and that doesn't make the verb any less ditransitive. There are some borderline cases in English where you can't distinguish between a transitive verb with a complement and a ditransitive verb, but this is not one of those. Cf also the "personal a" of Spanish (Spanish prepositions#Personal a): a direct object that is marked by a preposition. --Pablo D. Flores (Talk) 10:30, 15 December 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The terminology that we English-speakers learned in grade school has indirect object referring specifically to an object of a verb that is not a direct object and that is not marked by a preposition. (This is partly because according to the grammar that we learned in grade school, there's no such thing as an object of a verb that's marked by a preposition; in such a sentence as "I gave flowers to John," John was presented as the object of to, not as an object of gave.) It was only when we studied certain foreign languages, such as French or Spanish, that we were exposed to a broader sense of the term indirect object, one that included French's complément d'objet indirect or Spanish's complemento de objeto directo. User presumably never studied one of these languages, or did so but never realized that this broader use of indirect object might be applied in English as well.
Personally, while I do accept the current example as correct, I don't see a reason to insist on "gave flowers to John" over the "gave John flowers" that more English-speakers will recognize. Ruakh 09:42, 25 December 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]
There is a slight difference between a ditransitive verb and a verb that can take two compliments. For instance, "I gave flowers to John" and "I gave John flowers" are interchangeable with the first taking a PP and an NP and the second taking two NPs (the first usage of "gave" is bivalent and the second is trivalent). An example of a verb that this cannot happen with is "took." Compare: "She took Mary to market," and *"She took market Mary." So, "took" requires a NP and can take PPs as optional compliments. However, additional compliments do not change the valency of the verb: "I swam in the water under the bridge during the dark, dark night." Here, "swam" is bivalent. Harveyhiestand (talk) 01:13, 3 September 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]


How is an impersonal verb in Tlingit different from an impersonal verb in any other null subject language? And how is an objective verb different from an unaccusative verb? Ruakh 06:03, 25 January 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Quality of this articleEdit

This article is in serious need of improvement. I'd like to list a number of things that seem to be controversial, wrong, or out of keeping with practices in linguistics.

  • The definition on top of the page "A verb is a part of speech that usually denotes action [...], occurrence, ..," is uninformative and not in line with standard practices in linguistics. The standard would be to provide morpho-syntactic criteria.
  • The discussion of null-ary verbs is misleading, undocumented and controversial. People have argued that weather predicates do have a semantic argument (in all langueages), and the distinction between null-subject languages and non-null-subject languages is unrelated to the arity of the relevant verbs. That is actually completely uncontroversial.
  • There isn't a single citation in the article.
  • The discussion of Tlingit seems slightly out of place, and it isn't supported by examples or citations. It may be good to illustrate things with other languages, but the way that it stands, it's somewhat unclear what purpose it serves.
  • The discussion of passive and active participles as "describing nouns" is opaque. I've never heard voice being described in this way before, and I'm not sure what is meant by "describing nouns" here.
  • A number of relevant distinctions are missing from the article, such as that between unergatives and unaccusatives, psuch verbs and other classes.

Neither 18:08, 26 October 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I, for one, would welcome any improvements you can offer, but let me try to respond to some of your points, so you understand what the article is trying to do:
  • It's true that linguists describe lexical categories in terms of morphology, syntactic distribution, etc., but for those who aren't linguists, I think it's helpful to give a definition that makes some reference to semantics. This has the additional benefit that it resembles the definition most people learned in school. Now, it has the obvious weakness that a word's meaning doesn't really correspond to its lexical category (explode and explosion have roughly the same meaning, aside from one being a verb and one a noun), but I think it's a start. (My opinion on this could definitely be swayed, if you can provide a linguistically valid definition that fits in one normal sentence and is easily understood by a non-linguist.)
  • So you're saying that "is raining" and "está lloviendo" either both have valency zero, or both have valency one, depending whom you ask?
  • That needs to be fixed.
  • Agreed.
  • You seem to be misunderstanding something. Adjectives, in traditional pedagogy, are said to describe nouns. Participles, in traditional pedagogy, are said to be verbal adjectives: verb forms that act as adjectives by describing nouns. In no way is "describing nouns" intended to describe voice.
  • Please feel free to add such things. What's a psuch verb?
(That's not to say that you shouldn't delete things; I just didn't want your deletions to be based in misunderstanding.)
Ruakh 22:47, 26 October 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks again for the quick reply. I agree that the discussion shoud cater mainly to non-linguists (linguists aren't going to look up "verb" on wikipedia, and if they do, it is to check that the entry is correct or someting like that). But I also think it should reflect our current understanding of the matter and that that should be given priority. Hence, in all my edits, I've tried to discuss the commonsense understanding of things in a fair way, and added whatever problems have lead linguists to abandon that view. As it stands, I think this article is in a precarious state. When I choose to complain about this article, rather than revise it, it is simply because, if I were to edit it, I would need to sit down and read up on verbs and verb classes to get my facts and references right, etc. And there is a huge literature... I'm thinking of contacting somebody who knows more about it.
Weather predicates: People have argued (i'm not sure who right now) that they have an "atmospheric" argument, and that this can explain the difference between "there" expletives and "it" expletives, among other things. Look, I don't have a stake in this, but whether or not it's right, it carries over to null-subject languages: these allow omission of subjects in general, but, even when the subject is ommitted, the relevant sentence is interpreted as though there was one. For example, in Italian, the sentence "Capisco." means "I understand." There's no sense in which the arity of the verb "capire" has changed when they say "Io capisco." ('I understand'): What changes is the emphasis on the subject.
Passives: My complaint is more about the use of the term "noun" than the term "describe" I think. I'm also in the habit of using "describe" when "predicated of" would probably be more accurate. But nouns aren't subjects: noun phrases are, among other kinds of phrases. Furthermore, there is an important distinction between verbal and adjectival passives. The problem with the section on passives is that it's so user friedly as to become useless, or that's how I see it. :)
"psuch verbs" was a typo: I meant "psych verbs." These have a range of interesting grammatical properties discussed by Belletti and Rizzi in some famous article, and examples include "fear." Again, I don't remember exactly what the facts are, and it would be much easier for a real expert on the matter to remedy the shortcomings.
Again, I added the flags to alert the reader to the fact that this article simply doesn't live up to the standards one should expect. I hope to be able to change this, or get somebody else to, in the near future. Neither 00:34, 27 October 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Most of your points are valid, and I have no response, but I still don't get your weather-verb/null-subject point. Clearly entiendo has valency 1 both in "Entendio" and in "Yo entendio" (Spanish for "I understand" and "I understand", respectively); but llueve is different in that *"Él llueve" (Spanish for *"It rains") is impossible. It makes perfect sense to me to say that entender, understand, and rain have valency 1, but that llover has valency 0. Ruakh 01:51, 27 October 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don't mind your insisting on this point, because I think it's important. Let me begin by emphasizing that I do think your point of view makes sense. But in current syntactic theory, among the most mysterious phenomena involve apparently vacious expressions, like the "there" of "there seems to be a unicorn in my garden," and a lot of work has aimed at solving that problem. Let's consider the arity of the verb "seem." Sometimes its subect is "it", as in "it seems to be raining outside" and sometimes it's "there" as in the previous example I gave. At other times one can have regular noun phrase subjects, as in "John seems to be clever." The latter sentece means the same as "It seems that John is clever." So, even though "John" can serve as the subject of "seem" in one sense, this is not a matter of the arity of "seem." In other cases, you even get parts of an idiomatic expression to serve as the subect of seem, as in: "The shit seems to be hitting the fan." In that case, it would make very little sense to say that "the shit" is an argument of the verb "seem". Now, in null-subject languages, the subject slot of "seem" is only filled when the subject would be a "real" noun phrase, i.e. one doesn't use "fillers" like "there" and "it." Thus "seem" seems to be 1-ary, selecting for one sentential argument. If that argument is a finite sentence "that John is clever," one fills the subject slot with a semantically vacuous "it." This "it" doesn't appear to be an "argument." If the (sentential) argument is an infinitival clause, then the subject of the infinitival clause becomes the subject of "seem" (raising), even if that subject is a semantically vacuous filler, like "it" or "there" or part of an idiom chunk belonging in the infinitival clause. Facts like these have made syntacticians refer to "fillers" like "it" and "there" as expletives. (sorry if I'm being overly pedagogical here) For languages like English, then, there seems to be an absolute requirement that the subject slot be filled, regardless of whether the arity of the verb provides an argument to fill it. This requirement is usually referred to as the Extended Projection Principle" (EPP, so-called for irrelevant historical reasons). The point is that null-subject languages never realize fillers, because they obviously don't have a requirement that their subject slots be filled by visible expressions in the same way.
Now, Spanish is evidently like this, i.e. it doesn't obey the EPP. Suppose first that weather predicates are null-ary. Then we don't expect Spanish to realize any expletive in the relevant sentences. Suppose, on the other hand, that weather predicates are 1-ary. Then, in order to see what we expect from Spanish weather predicates (given that it doesn't obey the EPP) depends on what the conditions are under which subjects can be dropped and realized in this language. Suppose we say (which I think would be fairly accurate), that you only express the subject if you want to emphasize it, or contrast it to some other potential subject. Then, we don't expect expletives to ever show up with weather predicates, just because whatever subject they have they can't be emphasized or contrasted, even in English (or in any other language that has weather expletives): "*It's IT that rains." "*only IT rains." "*IT rains, not that."
My point is thus that whether we think weather predicates are 1-ary or 0-ary, the distinction between null-subject languages and other languages is sort of orthogonal to the discussion of the arity of verbs. That said, when and why languages "obey the EPP" is among the outstanding problems of contemporary grammatical theory. Whoever solves it will be famous. :)
Neither 03:55, 27 October 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Your discussion seems interesting (though, I have to admit, way over my head), but it also seems excessively focused on English. Am I being a total ignoramus, if my instinctive reaction is "No wonder you don't believe in zero-valency verbs — you're thinking in English!" Don't take this too seriously, though. I really am over my head here, and just watching the show, mostly. Debate on. ;-) FilipeS 14:30, 29 October 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Not really so much focused on English: the discussion is about whether there's a difference between English and Spanish with respect to the arity of weather predicates. The article says there is, and I say that's at best controversial, and unsupported by arguments and citations. :) Neither 02:31, 30 October 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

discus mood of verb..


Can I suggest merging some info at verbal agreement here; or maybe into grammatical conjugation. The verbal agreement page is ancient, found in Special:Ancientpages, with few links. --Montchav 00:05, 7 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I support the merger of verbal agreement with grammatical conjugation. I'm unsure about merging either with verb. :-) FilipeS 00:15, 7 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Agreed. —RuakhTALK 00:42, 7 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm sorry, but this is a baffling suggestion. A verbal agreement is an entirely different concept to a verb! I don't even see how the two are related. One is an agreement based on words (when often an "oral agreement" is what is actually meant); the other is the name applied to "doing" words. I'm not sure that the proposer understands the grammatical point of verbs, but maybe I'm doing him/her an injustice. IXIA 16:21, 7 February 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The suggestion would be less baffling if you took a look at Verbal agreement. :-) —RuakhTALK 19:01, 7 February 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

In all fairness, the suggestion was "merging some info at verbal agreement here". FilipeS 17:12, 7 February 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Verb is an action word..For example:dancing,watching,reading and many more.. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 11:07, 6 June 2007 (UTC).Reply[reply]

Your definition suggests that verbs describe actions. However, in the sentences "It is nice today" and "He appears friendly" there are no actions in the sense that most of us understand the word "action," yet there are certainly verbs. Therefore, your definition is not very clear and liable to create confusion for many people. (talk) 04:55, 1 August 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]


the discussion on the valency of weather predicates does in fact vary on who you ask. (I'm not good at writing wiki-style, so someone please make that edit.) also, the tlingit discussion makes no sense here at least, as it is. And last, shouldn't there be some discussion or a link to the fact that verbs are a member of the class 'predicate'? (talk) 21:39, 5 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The statement: "It is impossible to have verbs with zero valency. . . .In English, they require a dummy pronoun, and therefore formally have a valency of 1." is incorrect. It's possible to have a one-word sentence with a verb no noun at all, the subject being implied. "Go", "Come", "Stop", etc. Statalyzer (talk) 20:25, 13 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I think you're referring to imperative formation. The subject is nearly always implied in the imperative; this is true pretty much cross-linguistically. I agree though that the statement about 0 valence is overstated. The weather it is typically regarded as having 0 *semantic* valence. It's always important to make a distinction between syntactic vs. semantic valence, because a verb like eat for example will always have a semantic valence of 2 (S and DO) regardless of whether or not the DO is syntactically expressed in the sentence. — Zerida 22:15, 10 May 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don't know if this argument holds. The section on valency led me to believe that one-word sentences in Spanish (article's ex: Llueve. "It rains," or possibly, "It's raining.") are verbs with zero valence, having no semantic arguments and no real syntactic arguments. This is also an instance of an understood subject. The only difference is that in an imperative form, a subject is understood as "you" or "we", but in this case, the understood subject is a dummy subject. I feel like the only difference between these two kinds of understood subjects is syntactic value. If we make a distinction between semantic and syntactic valence, then we should make the case that zero valence is possible for both kinds in English, just not at the same time. For example, "It's raining," and other sentences with dummy subjects have semantic valence, but have zero syntactic valence. On the other hand, all understood subjects (zero semantic valence) have syntactic weight in English. In languages where it is possible to have both zero semantic and zero syntactic valence, e.g. Spanish, an overall valence of zero is possible. me llamo Andrés (tock) 13:46, 2 August 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Some examples are given of verbs taking four arguments. These are WRONG. "sold" and "paid" take 2 arguments, NOT 4. "Pat(1) sold a lawnmower(2)" and "Chris(1) paid Pat(2)" are correct. The remaining nouns are adjuncts. (talk) 16:06, 27 February 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]


I'll add my voice to the calls above for a knowledgeable person to expand on the definition of "verb" in this article; e.g. looking at semantic criteria, syntactic and morphological criteria, and definitional controversies, as well as finding sources for them! :)

I think the "noun" article is a good guide on how to proceed with this (and it would make sense to have the two articles in a similar format). I'm not at all confident to tackle this, but I may give it a go in a while if this comment doesn't spark any discussion.

As for distinguishing nouns from verbs, here's a start (looking at formal, semantic and syntactic properties):

  • Sapir, E. 1921. Language. New York: Hartcourt, Brace and World.
  • Robins, R. 1952. "Noun and Verb in Universal Grammar". Language, 28(3), pp. 289-298.
  • Jacobsen, W. 1979. "Noun and Verb in Nootkan". Heritage Record 4, pp. 83-155.

Others have suggested that the noun-verb category division is irrelevant and unfounded:

  • Hopper, P. and S. Thompson. 1985. "The Iconicity of the Universal Categories 'Noun' and 'Verbs'". In Typological Studies in Language: Iconicity and Syntax. John Haiman (ed), vol. 6, pp. 151-183, Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company.

ntennis 00:06, 11 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Geoffrey Pullum’s Lexical Categorization in English Dictionaries and Traditional Grammars provides good arguments in favor of the syntactic/morphological criteria for defining nouns and verbs, among other lexical categories. Probably worth citing. Jim Carnicelli (talk) 07:31, 29 October 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]


I think a small note about verbing would be a nice addition to this article. - Soulkeeper (talk) 12:56, 15 September 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Regarding the sentence fragment "the rest of the persons are..." in the section in the article of this same name, is the subject an uncountable noun? Are uncountable nouns singular in the grammatic sense? If so, why is the verb plural? Should the sentence fragment be "the rest of the persons is..."? (talk) 06:17, 2 June 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

My belated response to an interesting question: I believe every native speaker would say that "are" is correct and "is" is not. If the following noun were uncountable, then so would be "rest", and the singular verb would be appropriate: "the rest of the coffee is cold". But if the following noun is countable plural then so must be "rest": "the rest of the persons are". Hence "rest" is not a collective noun--one that could be used either in the countable singular ("the group of persons is large") to refer to one whole set OR in the plural to refer to all the members of the set ("the group of persons are happy"). (talk) 15:09, 4 October 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Reading level of articleEdit

This article is written in such a way that it is very difficult for a person to quickly and easily answer what is a verb. Reading the first chapter to find out what a verb was quite difficult, im not sure if there are guidelines for the proper reading level of articles in Wikipedia, however I am sure that this entry would benefit from being more accessible in its early paragraphs and then perhaps later delving directly into the more difficult to understand detail and topic specific keywords. I don’t intend to suggest 'dumbing down' the information, but rather making it more accessible initially for those less able to extract the meaning from what are complex sentences. My example/metaphor would be opening a physics book to find the melting point of an element, only to be drawn directly into a text which explains the subatomic make up of the element and the quantum states which allow solidity and liquidity. I'm just proposing you ease the article in, not start right away with hard to read language. Regards Dan. 11/08/11 — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:24, 11 August 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Verbs Act On Things not "Dummy Pronouns"Edit

Hello Everyone. My name is Li Xiang and I am from China and studying a little English.

This is only what I think and I think I'm not wrong. However, maybe it's incomplete because I simply haven't the free time to elaborate. Nor do I have the time to deliberate other people's strange perceptions of English, being the busy scientist that I am.

My concern about the article is from the point of view of confused non-native English learners.

In regards to the weather clauses refered to in the Valency Section of the article, using a 'dummy pronoun' seems idiotic to me. If a weatherman tells me,

"It will be a fine, dry day",

he is telling me what a definition of "the entity" being refered to is, by it's 'trueness to (be)' a fine, dry day i.e.

"It(the thing I'm talking about) will be a fine, dry day."

I just don't believe it when the article says,

"In the objective the verb takes an object but no subject; the nonreferent subject in some uses may be marked in the verb by an incorporated dummy pronoun similar to that used with the English weather verbs. Impersonal verbs in null subject languages take neither subject nor object, as is true of other verbs, but again the verb may show incorporated dummy pronouns despite the lack of subject and object phrases. Tlingit lacks a ditransitive, so the indirect object is described by a separate, extraposed clause."

The idea of a "dummy pronoun" seems null to me, you know. I see it (the entity that is defined by its 'trueness to 'a fine, dry day) as the subject. I see "IS" to mean "trueness to" because the things on the left of "IS" are defined by other things on the right of "IS". For example;

"The pen IS black"

This is true because black is a colour (which is a light thing). The pen has a black colour, so it is true when you say,

The pen "Trueness to" a black colour. The pen is a black colour. The pen is black.

The pen also contains therein a shape (another thing). The pen has a long shape. The pen "trueness to" a long shape. The pen is a long shape. The pen is long.

Now, it is stoically correct to say,

"It is a long, black pen"

because "it" also has an ink delivery system (indeed, a pen!), as well as the colour and the shape, therefore the IT on the left exists as truly defined by the things on the right.

Less null is the concept that perhaps the writer was being a dummy, but at least they've contributed and so I salute them for this. Without such an article, it would be difficult to create a context upon which one can understand what others may think about something.

Verbs act on things.

Everything is a thing. A thing can be an actual thing or a conceptual thing. "It" is "a thing". Everything is made of things. "It" is everything, too. Even "nothing" is a thing. It is a thing that doesn't exist (an occurrence that has yet to emerge or re-emerge). It's object orientation and largely, that's how English is.

The article seems to have been written by an intelligent Western person who has so far been unable to abstract him or herself from their personal cognition sufficiently enough to know what "things" are.

Sadly, not only is he or she not indicating how the English language maps the logical, emergent beauty of the Universe,

but also neither is he or she indicating how the English language can be used as a tool that can view EVERYTHING from an infinite pallet of abstractions.

In fact, the article only refers to a few cognitive abstractions(things) and what the often cited labels of those things may be. Luckily, this doesn't matter because so many entities(things) and their activities(things) are beautifully functioning in their occurrences(things), so that we simply experience these entities(things) as life itself (its own thing).

I would prefer "it" if linguists were not to further confuse us more because musicians, poets, artists, bureaucrats, philosophers, scientists and the myriad like, all do the hard work of expressing the alleged meanings of the entities we perceive, whether we like it or not.

Most people are unaware of the language's ultimate ability to encapsualate everything into an entity (an it) and so tend to get themselves into rather a muddle. They then subsequently go about confusing anyone else who is actually still trying to understand English.

First, there is nothing. Then there is something. It is something because the entity (it) has properties.

A property is something that must be owned by an entity. If no entity owns a property, then the property wouldn't exist.

If nothing is green, then green can only exist as nothing until it emerges as something green.

Let's streamline this concept into your mind;

If nothing is green, then green only exists as nothing (and nothing includes even the word green). Nothing owns a property that is green, so a green property cannot therefore, exist.

So, using English can briefly conclude that a property needs to be owned by something in order to exist. Further investigations about this follow.

(A "property" that is a house without an owner, still exists because actually "a house" is a thing with its own properties, so therefore it exists...)

An entity is defined by it's properties. If an entity has no properties then it cannot exist. The most common properties found in things (that English words represent) are things such as it's shape, colour and purpose. English talks only about entities, be they actual or conceptual. An entity is identified in English with use of 'it', 'the', 'a', 'an', 'this', 'that', 'my thing', 'her thing', 'our thing', 'something's thing', and so on and so forth...

(See my PPS for my "I'm watching TV" perception, where TV is a dialectic "it" that doesn't require direct encapsulation)

Even 'a verb' is an entity. It is a word that represents 'an energetic' or 'a conceptual action' upon an entity and/or between entities.

Let's simplify the above sentence for you;

"It is a thing that does 'a thing' or 'a thing upon a thing and/or between things"

An English verb is solely dependent on an entity's properties stored within the English speaker's various minds. These minds are things that the Westerners call the conscious mind, the subconscious mind, this conscious mind or that conscious mind, whatever. It doesn't matter, the entity's properties are bound to be somewhere in there.

Take for instance, our vision. The verb 'to see' works equally well with the mind's vision and with what Westerners consider to be 'our actual sight'. I imagine this is because of the properties shared by both "the process of thinking" and "our actual sight" (...both "the doing" and "our it").

It is important that published and self proclaimed linguists should beware of falling into the trap of not seeing the wood for the trees. People seem to be faltering in the study of this peculiar language by so wrapping themselves up with their terminological classifications that they are not indicating to anyone, nor to themselves, the actual meaning of the language.

For instance, creating illogical "verb valencies" is a red herring and redirects people's away from the truth of the matter, which is that the verbs can only instantiate when the entity's own properties fit "the verb's activation of instantiation requirements". (I made this thing up, but I use an example below to express what I mean by it. That's what everyone else does, whether it's published or not, isn't it?).

For example, the verb, " to heat" can only be applied to things that are cooler than the heater. It is indeed a requirement of 'to heat' for something to be cooler. By the way, "to instantiate" means in this case, "to bring about an occurrence" (which is another 'thing' altogether).

My grammer isn't splendid, but I get by without being 'aided' by confusing grammer books and articles written in a strange, diffuse, Western manner.

That's basically what I reckon, really.


The "be" collection of verbs(they) confuse Westerners, too. "Be" means "exist as true". "Is", "are" and "am" are just simple logic checks between arguments.

"Was" and "were" simply indicate to the recipient of the language that the logic checks between arguments used to be true before, but are not now. Don't forget, even an "entire clause" or a "whole clausal argument" is a thing. It is a sentence argument - see?

It is difficult to discern the properties of the word "being" except that it, along with the other components of the sentence, indicatively encapsulates -something is "currently existing as" something-. For example;

"I am being a scientist who is studying the Western People's solutions to actual and conceptual problems, thus finally unlocking their mysterious secret to their creativity".

In other words,

"I(something) am(logic compare:TRUE) being( currently existing as) a scientist who is studying..."

(In fact, I'm getting close! It seems that if one combines the properties of those things that do exist, then it is possible to create new 'things' myself. If these new things solve people's problems, then China will become more valuable to the World, like the Americans and Europeans have done. I think they are rich because their solutions, like cars and planes and things, have become indispensible. One day, I hope I will be able to communicate in correct English so that even English or American people can understand me. I fear that the current Chinglish I espouse is all but incomprehensible to those whom English is their mother tongue).

Anyway, The verb concept can have a direction of application and this is indicated with the "being done" concept. The man is walking the dog. This verb indicates some kind of process flow from the man to the dog. For instance; "something is doing something" "The man is walking the dog" "something is being done by something" The dog is being walked by the man.

So, the other meaning of "being' is simply used to indicate that a verb is being applied to the entity in question ("the entity" being "the dog").

So, if Westerners feel English is tricky, they should try to conceptualise in Mandarin where entity encapsulation is not the norm, though those things we Chinese consider to be entities, are implied on those occassions when the ci(2) are not instantiated directly. We don't even have words. Our Hanzi is organised with "Ci(2)" which are made from what you call "the Chinese characters". Many of these represent dialectic conscious appreciation of actual and conceptual reality, from which you can understand what's going on. It's not much like English at all, not even philosophically.

English isn't hard and is actually quite a helpful language for understanding that "things" are yet another way to cognitively experience occurrences.


"Well!" you cry, "if you only indicate the encapsulated entity (or 'it') with "the", "my", "this" etc, what about "I'm watching tv!"" you scream? "This simply must mean "I'm doing it" and it is tv?"

Yes, this is true, but not in the way you think. The "it" in "I'm doing it (I'm watching tv)" is a dialectic unencapsulated word. Here "tv" is being used to imply a dialectic relationship between you and every entity concerned with confirming your interaction with the television.

For example; (Something) is doing (something else). I am that something, so therefore

"something" is I.


I am doing (something else).

The doing is watching,


I am watching (something else).

(Something else) is the television.


I am watching the television.

The verb indicates a watching interaction (This thing is directional due to the nature of the verb) from the me entity to the tv entity. THIS IS TRUE.

I am watching my tv. THIS IS TRUE.

I am watching my program. THIS IS TRUE.

I am watching (every other subject/object interaction that flashes through the consciousness regarding all the applicable processes of watching a television). THIS IS TRUE.

Because all the relevent interactions are TRUE, the express need to indicate a particular interaction between things is not always neccessary So, the sentence, "I'm watching tv" is a dialectic sentence actually employed by English speakers to represent all the entity interactions that flash vaguely through one of their minds without actually being converted into English, as this would be a waste of time.

So, the word "TV" is a dialectic "it".

Any ape capable of expressing codified abstraction to us could tell you that.

"TV" in this case operates in a way vaguely similar to dialectic Mandarin character concepts. The same is true for, "I'm going to work" when in the specific case of indicating that one is heading to one's place of daily toil and thereby implicitly indicating all the activities therein.

"The" or "a" are not required for specific names either. "I'm going to the football match", as opposed to I'm going to London.

Let's abstract into the verb, "to watch". As indicated before, it is a directional verb. "I'm watching the tv" means that you are looking at the television and receiving data from it, together.

If you are looking at a tv in order to be watching it, then you are seeing it, too.

So using English, one can simply express a brief summary of what the "watching" entity is all about, not only from the unusual point of view of it's semantically similar verbs, but also from the cunning use of "a cause and immediate effect if clause" (which is a thing itself) to help me define "watching" to you in this elegant manner.

Following the Universal Laws of Emergence, English is rather a good language for expressing anything in particular that you have chosen to refer to. Then one can expand upon the definition of that particular thing using "is" logic checks ad on infinata. For our 5000 year old culture, this seems to be the secret behind the recent explosive expansion of the British Empire which has led to the existence of America and modern Hong Kong. Unfortunately, these emergent thinking processes, that European Languages allow, led to the creation of machines. These have solved innumerable problems in China since then, but it had also emboldened our now quiet Japanese neighbours to attack us and for the Germans to attack others.

So English is a double-edged sword with it's powerful affects on the mind and by how it allows men to consider and arrange their activities.

In future, English will even be able to express these things that have yet to exist, as well as those things that we simply haven't any understanding of, up until then.

I do hope any Westerners can understand me because I do struggle with English. Finding a consistant pattern within all the information I have found in books, films, radio and indeed the television programs originating from Western countries, is something of a struggle. It is beginning to seem that everyone has their own opinion about what it is, even if it is a verb being indicated on wikipedia. If this is the case, then I'll have to inform My People that English is harder than they think it is, as Westerners misunderstand each other every day the same way as we do in China. I suppose there are less of them than us, so their problems in this regard may be smaller. (talk) 18:22, 17 November 2011 (UTC)Li Xiang, The People's Republic of China222.240.185.82 (talk) 18:22, 17 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Verb typesEdit

The verb types listed and definitions can not be applied to all languages. The categorisation seem to be made just for the English language. In Swedish, for example, a "linking verb" may be followed by an adverb. The corresponding adverbs may be used in English too, but would be placed before the verb: "He suddenly became very upset". A more language neutral description should be used in the article, or the text should make it clear that the descriptions can not be applied to all languages. (talk) 11:09, 1 December 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I don't claim to know anything about Swedish, nor do I know that what you are claiming about the disparity of the definitions in different languages is true, but if it is, then I agree that either a neutral description or clarification should be provided. --DPizzo (talk) 15:11, 1 November 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Transitive Vc Verbs QuestionEdit

The article says that the Vc verbs say that the verb is followed by a direct object and then a noun phrase, adjective or infinitive phrase. However, in one of the examples: "Some students perceive adults quite inaccurately", I believe "quite inaccurately" is an adverbial phrase. So my question is, am I mistaken in that "quite inaccurately" is adverbial, is the example wrong, or can the direct object be followed by an adverbial phrase as well? --DPizzo (talk) 15:16, 1 November 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

You are absolutely right, and that is why I came to this talk page, too. In that sentence, "perceive" is NOT a Vc verb. It is a simple transitive verb with a single direct object ("adults") modified by an adverb phrase ("quite inaccurately"). It shouldn't be an example in this section. Perhaps someone who has editing priveleges can remove it. (The page currently appears to be locked for editing, or I'd do it myself.) (talk) 04:42, 1 August 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Linking Verb descriptionEdit

Under the Linking verb description, it says that a linking verb can never be followed by an adverb. This is only partly true, for instance in the sentence "John is incredibly strong." the linking verb "is" was followed by the adverb "strong". Perhaps a better description would be one that says that a linking verb can't have an adverb modify it. T97π (talk) 02:47, 7 February 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Perfect aspectEdit

Placing the Perfect as a sub-type of "imperfective aspect" seems unsatisfactory (nor does Comrie do this). For one thing, it confuses the issue of the Perfect Continuous ("I have been playing the piano for two years") vs the Perfect Simple. Secondly, where do you fit in the "Anti-Perfect" (Discontinuous Past) tenses which are found in some languages? For example, in the Bantu language Chichewa to translate a sentence "I received some coupons, but I sold them" two different tenses would be used, the one for "I received" implying that the result of the action has been cancelled and the one for "I sold" implying that the result of the action still holds. The former is a Discontinuous Past, the latter a kind of Perfect. So although the state resulting from the action is imperfective ("he has died" = "he is dead") the event leading to that state is perfective. Thirdly, there are several languages such as French where what was formerly a Perfect tense has gradually come to be used as a Past Simple. If we classify Perfect as a kind of imperfective aspect, at what point in this process does it cease to be imperfective and move over to being perfective? It seems to me therefore that the Perfect aspect must be considered a combination of perfective and imperfective, therefore, and not classified under one or the other. I have therefore moved it up to the same level as "imperfective" and also added "discontinuous past" as its counterpart. Kanjuzi (talk) 22:53, 7 October 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]


A verb is a word that expresses an action or state of being — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:07, 23 March 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

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Definition of verbEdit

Hi all. It seems that the definition of verb is controversial, and different people use it to mean different things. I think it would be good to adress this at the start of the article. For example, "In traditional grammar [or whatever the correct term for that is], a verb is defined as a word that conveys an action, an occurrence, or a state of being. In current linguistics scholarship, the definition of verb depends on the theoretical background of the researcher. Most linguists agree that verbs generally conform to X criteria. However, the details vary. According to [some popular linguistics theory], a verb is [x]. According to [some other popular linguistics theory], a verb is [x]. Other theories define verbs in yet other ways. These definitions generally agree that [prototypical verb examples] count as verbs. However, they differ on how they classify less prototypical verbs, such as [examples]. " JonathanHopeThisIsUnique (talk) 22:24, 26 November 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

lousy article on verbs - biased towards english and inaccurately cites other languagesEdit

how is this article on verbs rated important as it is badly written / edited — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:39, 6 March 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]