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Describing language
Describing language

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Week 3: Verbs 1: how we describe what we do


There are three images here, the first shows a football player striking a ball with her right foot. The second depicts an avalanche in full flow. The third shows a person chopping a piece of wood with an axe.
Figure 1 A collage of action.

Last week your attention was on the words we use to talk about things – nouns. But if they were the only words we had to use, our conversations would be very dull (and short!). Life is not just full of things we can name, but also of action, movement and change. Look at the pictures above. We can name the things and people in them:

  • woman, ball
  • snow, mountain
  • man, axe, wood

But that is obviously only part of the story. As you work through this week’s materials, think about how you would describe what is happening in each of these pictures. This week you’ll focus on the words that express actions. We have called these ‘doing words’ so far, but from now on they will be called by their grammatical name – verbs. You’ll also see that, despite their association with actions and doing, verbs are actually used to talk about much more than that.

By the end of this week, you should be able to:

  • define what a verb is
  • label the different types of verbs used in English.