Verbs - An Overview

Verbs are a class of words used to show the performance of an action (do, throw, run), existence (be), possession (have), or state (know, love) of a subject. To put it simply a verb shows what something or someone does.

Most statements in speech and writing have a main verb. These verbs are expressed in tenses which place everything in a point in time.

Verbs have moods, which indicate the viewpoint of the verb, whether it is a fact, a command or hypothetical.

Verbs have a voice too. The voice shows whether the subject of a sentence is carrying out an action, or is having an action carried out on it.

Verbs are conjugated (inflected) to reflect how they are used. There are two general areas in which conjugation occurs; for person and for tense . 

Conjugation for tense is carried out on all verbs.  All conjugations start with the infinitive form of the verb.  The infinitive is simply the to form of the verb For example, to begin.  The present participle form (the -ing form), is formed by adding ing to the bare infinitive. For example, the present participle of the verb to begin is beginning. There are two other forms that the verb can take, depending on the tense type and time, the simple past form (began) and the past participle (begun). See here for a list of irregular verbs.

Conjugation for person occurs when the verb changes form, depending on whether it is governed by a first, second, or third person subject.  This gives three conjugations for any verb depending on who is acting as the subject of the verb.  For example, we have: to begin, you begin , and he begins.  Note that only the third conjunction really shows a difference.

While most English verbs simply do not show extensive conjugation forms for person, an exception is the verb to be