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Types of Verbs

Before you begin the verb tense lessons, it is extremely important to understand that NOT all English verbs are the same. English verbs are divided into three groups: Normal Verbs, Non-Continuous Verbs, and Mixed Verbs.

Group I Normal Verbs

Most verbs are "Normal Verbs." These verbs are usually physical actions which you can see somebody doing. These verbs can be used in all tenses.

Normal Verbs

to run, to walk, to eat, to fly, to go, to say, to touch, etc.

Examples:

  • I eat dinner every day.
  • I am eating dinner now.

Group II Non-Continuous Verbs

The second group, called "Non-Continuous Verbs," is smaller. These verbs are usually things you cannot see somebody doing. These verbs are rarely used in continuous tenses. They include:

Abstract Verbs

to be, to want, to cost, to seem, to need, to care, to contain, to owe, to exist...

Possession Verbs

to possess, to own, to belong...

Emotion Verbs

to like, to love, to hate, to dislike, to fear, to envy, to mind...

Examples:

  • He is needing help now. Not Correct
  • He needs help now. Correct
  • He is wanting a drink now. Not Correct
  • He wants a drink now. Correct

Group III Mixed Verbs

The third group, called "Mixed Verbs," is the smallest group. These verbs have more than one meaning. In a way, each meaning is a unique verb. Some meanings behave like "Non-Continuous Verbs," while other meanings behave like "Normal Verbs."

Mixed Verbs

to appear, to feel, to have, to hear, to look, to see, to weigh...

List of Mixed Verbs with Examples and Definitions:

to appear:

to have:

to hear:

to look:

to miss:

to see:

to smell:

to taste:

to think:

to weigh:

Some Verbs Can Be Especially Confusing:

to be:

NOTICE: Only rarely is "to be" used in a continuous form. This is most commonly done when a person is temporarily behaving badly or stereotypically. It can also be used when someone's behavior is noticeably different.

to feel:

NOTICE: The second meaning of "feel" is very flexible and there is no real difference in meaning between "I don't feel well today" and "I am not feeling well today."

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