English JSSCE Notes

Functions of verb


A verb is a word that tells or asserts something about a person or thing. Verbs comes from the Latin, verbum, a word. It is so called because it is the most important word in a sentence.

Functions of verbs

A verb may tell us:

1. What a person or thing does; as, Anthony laughs.

The clock strikes.

2. What is done to a person or thing; Harry is scolded.

The window is broken.

3. What a person or thing is; as The cat is dead.

I feel sorry.

Glass is brittle

A verb is a word used to tell or assert something about some person or thing.

A verb often consists of more than one word as,

The girls were singing.

I have learnt my lesson

The watch has been found.

Auxiliary verbs

These are helping verbs. They can not stand on their own. They help to form the tenses of verbs e.g

I have  written it

She has done it

They are  going

They were going

She is dancing

Modal Auxiliaries

These express ideas such as possibility, probability, ability, certainty, willingness, obligation, permission, necessity, request, compulsion etc.


I can  carry the load (ability)

We may see tomorrow (probability)

I must  do the assignment (certainty)

They will come (possibility)

You must do your assignment now (compulsion)

You can  go there. (permission)


Say the function of each of the underlined verb in each of the sentences below.

Harry is tall

Bola sings

Olawale was singing

I can swim

You may  go home

Reading Assignment

Auxiliary Verbs


English Grammar for Junior Secondary Schools. Page 47 to 50

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