A verb phrase is one that has a combination of a main verb and another auxiliary verb. Verb Phrases in English Grammar with Illustration
A verb phrase is the combination of a main verb and one or more auxiliary verbs.
This group of words acts as a verb.
They have been waiting for the teacher.
Why is your brother bothering my sister?
They can make a house really quick.
The verbs in the verb phrase can be separated. In other words, they don’t have to keep the same order!
For example, both “We will return! ” ( “We will return !”) And ” Will we return ?” (“Will we be back?”) Contain verbal phrases (in bold).
Note: Don’t confuse verb phrases with phrasal verbs!
Formation of Verb Phrases in English
In English, there are conjugations that are verb phrases themselves:
verb phrase formed by “will” and verb in the infinitive. I will see you soon. / I’ll see you soon. In the Spanish translation, the verb phrase formed by two verbs (will and see) becomes a single verb.
Verb phrase formed by the verb to be and the main verb in gerund. I am playing tennis. / I’m playing tennis.
Verb phrase of the verb to have and the verb in the past participle. I have seen that movie. / I’ve seen that movie.
Present perfect continuous
The verb to have + been + main verb in gerund. I have been looking for you. / I’ve been looking for you.
Verb phrase formed by the verb to have in the past (had) and the main verb in the participle. I had seen her before. / I had seen it before.
Auxiliary verbs as part of the Verb Phrases
There are verbs that, in addition to being used independently, are often used as part of verb phrases.
- Be: I am trying to help you. / I’m trying to help you.
- Can: He can jump higher. / You can jump higher.
- Do: Do you like chocolate? / You like chocolate? In this case, the verb phrase made up of two verbs (do and like) becomes a single verb.
- Must: We must pay in advance. / We must pay in advance.
Examples of verb phrases in English Grammar
( verb phrase is in bold)
- They are waiting for the rain to stop.
(They are waiting for the rain to stop.)
- Why is she staying at home?
(Why is he staying home?)
- Jack is not taking any breaks.
(Jack is not taking any breaks.)
- Shanon will meet us there.
(Shanon will see us there.)
- Will you help us?
(Will you help us?)
- He can speak more than ten languages.
(He can speak more than ten languages.)
- Should I call you?
(Should I call you?)
- They have replaced all the locks.
(They have replaced all the locks.)
- My brother has been working there for over five years.
(My brother has been working there for over five years.)
- They have not seen it.
(They haven’t seen it.)
- Was it baked?
(Was it baked?)
- His heart was broken.
(His heart was broken.)
Verb Phrases in English Grammar with Illustration