Syntax

Verb phrases examples characteristics and types

Verb phrases

verbal phrase , also called verbal periphrasis , is a construction that is formed with a conjugated verb and a verboid . For example: The sun is rising . In this article we will describe the verb phrases with examples.

Sometimes it can also incorporate certain nexuses . For example: The milk was spoiled . 

In these structures, the conjugated verb works as an auxiliary and provides all the grammatical data (tense, mood, person and number). The verboid, for its part, gives the global meaning of the verbal phrase. For example: The young man usually passes all his exams well.

Verb Phrase Examples

we are leaving start again we were able to understand
Started to cry you must surrender You have to try
we usually be you can hear sang again
We have drunk i tried to run away has writings
was found spoiled we were awarded
stop singing we try to explain was hospitalized
continued talking usually wanted to explain
I have traveled you have to shout we can get there

Characteristics of verb phrases

Verb phrases can sometimes be confused, so it is important to take into account their fundamental characteristics:

  • They are made up of a conjugated verb (the auxiliary) and a verboid (that is, an infinitive , a participle or a gerund ), but many times they also incorporate other elements, such as prepositions, relative pronouns, etc.
  • They function as a single unit, that is, as if they were a single verb.
  • They are fixed structures, that is, they are stable forms. This means that in case the verboid can be replaced by a proposition or a complement, it is not a verb phrase.
  • With regard to meaning, the idea to be conveyed is always expressed by the non-conjugated form (that is, the verboid), while the grammatical aspects are conveyed through the auxiliary.

Types of Verb Phrases

1-According to its shape:

According to their structure, verb phrases can be classified into three types:

  • Compound tenses . They are formed by the auxiliary verb “to have” followed by a participle . For example: We have eaten very well in the restaurant.
  • Passive Verb Phrase . It is formed with the verb “to be” followed by a participle, which must agree with the nucleus of the subject . For example: The woman was seen near the scene of the incidents.
  • Conjugated verb constructions followed by an infinitive or a gerund . In the cases of verb phrases with an infinitive, other elements are often added as well, usually a preposition that is incorporated between the two elements or a relative pronoun . For example: We have to deal with the issue before it’s too late.

2-According to its meaning:

Depending on their meaning and the speaker’s relation to what they are saying, verb phrases can be divided into the two groups.

1-aspectual periphrases

They are those that refer to the way in which the speaker sees the action and highlight an aspect of it. The most common cases are:

  • Ingressive . They mark that an action is about to begin. For example: Let’s go out for a walk .
  • Inchoatives . They indicate that the action begins exactly at that moment. For example: The boy lost his toy and started crying .
  • Durative . They mark that the action is developing. For example: The cat is eating his food.
  • Egressive . They indicate that the action has been stopped or interrupted. For example: As soon as he heard the noise, he stopped cleaning the room and looked out the window.
  • resumed . They mark that an action that had been interrupted is resumed. For example: After a short break, the boy continued studying and finished his degree.
  • Terminative . They indicate that the action ends at that precise moment. For example: The team just won the biggest game of the year.
  • Results . They regard the action as finished. For example: I have read ten books so far this year.
  • Habitual or customary . They mark actions that are performed several times. For example: The doctor is often late for the office on Mondays.
  • repetitive . They indicate that the action is repeated once. For example: The record ended and started again .
2-modal paraphrases

They are those that express an attitude of the speaker regarding the action. They can be classified into three types:

  • Of obligation . Generally, they are formed with the verbs “must”, “have” or “have”. For example: The father must take the children to school.
  • Of possibility . They are usually formed with the verb “power“. For example: The dog cannot jump because it hurt its leg.
  • Of doubt or probability . They are built with “duty” followed by a participle. For example: If he is not at home, he must have gone out to buy something.

Examples of sentences with verb phrases

Below are the verb phrases with examples

  1. The runner will not be able to compete in the next race because he is injured.
  2. The day is ending and we still have dinner.
  3. The patient must rest to recover from the surgery.
  4. The woman goes singing down the street because she is happy.
  5. This Saturday I want to go to the theater to see a play.
  6. To pass the exam, you will have to study hard.
  7. The lawyer tried to persuade the judge, but was unsuccessful.
  8. The employment rate has been falling for years, they will have to find a solution.
  9. The horse grazes through the fields during the day and returns to the stable at night.
  10. If you didn’t show up for your appointment, you must have had a problem.
  11. The boy fell asleep after several hours of crying.
  12. You have to be a good person in life.
  13. The car was last seen Monday night in the vicinity of the house.
  14. The boy can’t go out tonight because he’s grounded.
  15. When it stops raining we will leave the shelter.
  16. The bomb is about to explode .
  17. She heard the news of the pregnancy and burst out laughing with happiness.
  18. Cook will start preparing dinner in a few moments.
  19. As soon as it starts to get hot , we’ll take a vacation.
  20. The research team has been working on the project for years.
  21. The train usually passes through the station at five in the afternoon.
  22. Although he lost the contest, he will keep trying .
  23. We’ll have to buy new tableware for the party.
  24. Her friends may have flaws, but she loves them anyway.
  25. We have to get food for when we go on a trip.
  26. The woman said the same thing again as the night before, but no one heard her.
  27. The thief was arrested by the police yesterday.
  28. Are you listening while I speak to you?
  29. From playing with the ceramic ornament so much, the boy ended up breaking it .
  30. The man has lived in the country for ten years and still does not speak the language well.
  31. They had a great time on the birthday.
  32. We have brought dessert.
  33. Have you read One Hundred Years of Solitude ?
  34. The film was acclaimed by critics.
  35. The boys were accompanied by their parents.
  36. The band was beaten by the public.
  37. Pedro is reading in his room.
  38. My parents always walk to the market.
  39. My father is the one who comes talking to the man with the black beard.
  40. Will you be able to go to the grocery store while I prepare the turkey?
  41. You should be more careful with that knife.
  42. Do you want to go to the theater with me tonight?
  43. I’m trying to learn my lines for tomorrow’s rehearsal.
  44. I usually play basketball on Saturday afternoons.
  45. My sister is playing words game.
  46. You must tell me whether or not you want to participate in the settlement.
  47. We had seen each other a few years ago.
  48. The crime was only solved ten years later.
  49. They must be fixing the theater, that’s why it won’t open.
  50. They would have come earlier if they didn’t want to miss the start of the movie.

We tried our level best to explain the verb phrases with examples. Hope you grasped it.

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