Verbs

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  • VERBS
    • Semantic properties
      • Verbs usually refer to actions, events, states, or changes of state.    
        • Actions: read, laugh, throw, climb    
        • Events: enjoy, hear, see, experience    
        • States: exist, remain, be, persist    
        • Changes of state: collapse, appear, fall, die    
    • Morphological properties
      • Verbs acquire a agreement morpheme when the subject is third person singular (he/she/it, the dog, etc.). 
        • The agreement morpheme for third person singular is -s in English. 
          • If a word can show agreement with the subject, then it’s a verb.    
      • Verbs also acquire a morpheme to distinguish the past tense.    
        • The regular past tense morpheme is -ed.    
          • If a word has a past tense form, then it’s a verb.    
      • Certain other morphemes are also typical of verbs.    
        • -ify signify modify -ate nominate evaluate -ize/-ise criticise itemise -ish finish publish
    • Syntactic properties
      • Verbs may be categorized as lexical (or “main”) and auxiliary verbs.    
        • Lexical verbs are the verbs which determine what other elements the sentence can (or must) contain. In other words, the lexical verbs determine the structure of the verb phrase: in particular, which complements are possible – or required. A clause will contain exactly one lexical verb.
        • Auxiliary verbs, on the other hand, are primarily functional elements. Auxiliary verbs may carry information related to tense or aspect, which we will discuss in a moment. Auxiliary verbs always take the same type of complement, namely verbal complements. A clause may contain anywhere from zero to four auxiliary verbs. 
          • Primary auxiliaries These include be, have, and do. Note that all of these verbs may also be used as lexical verbs, so you have to pay attention. Primary auxiliaries may show agreement with the subject and may inflect for tense, just like lexical verbs. 
          • Modal auxiliaries These include will, would, shall, should, may, might, can, could, and must. Notice that none of the modals in Modern English can show subject agremeent or tense morphology. 
  • Certain other morphemes are also typical of verbs.    
    • -ify signify modify -ate nominate evaluate -ize/-ise criticise itemise -ish finish publish

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