Verb Phrases in English with types and Illustration

Verb Phrase

A verb phrase is the combination of the main verb and one or more auxiliary verbs. Verb Phrases in English with types

This group of words acts as a verb.

For example, you could say,

  • “I waited for you.”In this sentence, the word waited is a verb.

    You could replace waited with a group of words (a phrase) and say,

  • “I have been waiting for you.”Have been waiting is a verb phrase and functions as a single verb in the sentence.

    So we call it a verb phrase. It can also be called a compound verb.

Illustrations of Verb Phrase

  1. They are waiting for the rain to stop
  2. Why is she staying at home?
  3. Jack is not taking any breaks
  4. Shanon will meet us there
  5. Will you help us?
  6. He can speak more than ten languages.
  7. Should I call you?
  8. They have replaced all the locks
  9. My brother has been working there for over five years
  10. They have not seen it
  11. Was it baked?
  12. His heart was broken

Structures of Verb Phrases

With the name of verb phrases, two types of structures are known.


This first structure consists of the presence of a verb that can be used in impersonal forms: infinitive, gerund, or participle, to which objects and complements are added and function as a single phrase, which can fulfill different functions in the sentence. The three types of verb phrases are:

Infinitive phrase

which uses the form to + verb, plus objects + complements. It can function as a noun, adjective, or adverb. Verb Phrases in English with types

Partition phrase

containing a verb with the participle form (ending –ed in the past participle of regular verbs and ending –ing in the present participle), + objects + complements; which works as an adjective.

Gerund phrase

(verb ending in –ing + objects + complements) which functions as a noun in the sentence.

They are called only verbal ( verbals ), since in them the verb does not express an action, but rather fulfills another grammatical function (noun, adjective, or adverb).

2-Verbal phrase

Verb structures that are made up of one or more auxiliary verbs (auxiliary verb, also sometimes called helping verb) and the main verb are commonly called verb phrases. This structure is most commonly known as a verb phrase. It is also called a verb string.

One of the main uses of verb strings is the conjugation of some verb tenses:

  • Future

will + verb; shall + simple verb

  • Present continuous

verb to be in present tense + verb in gerund

  • Present perfect

have / has + simple verb

  • Present perfect continuous

have / has + been + verb in gerund

  • Past continuous

verb to be in past + verb in gerund

  • Past perfect

had + verb in participle.

Verb Phrases in English with types

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