What are Verbals?

In English grammar verbals are forms of the verb used as nouns, adjectives, and adverbs.  The –ing form of the verb is used as a noun or an adjective.   The past participle is used as an adjective. The infinitive is used as a noun, adjective or an adverb.


1.     The –ING form used as a noun (Gerund).

 a)    Subject

  • Writing is considered an art.
  • Constant smoking is harmful.
  • Traveling alone is not much fun.

 b)    Object of the verb

  • I like reading.
  • He dislikes flying alone.
  • The student considered buying a car.

 c)     Object of a preposition

  • He left without telling me where he was going.
  • After eating his supper, he left for the movies.
  • The t-37 is used for training pilots.

 d)    Object of a Verb –Preposition compound

  • He believes in studying every day.
  • She objected to doing her homework.
  • He is looking forward to seeing his old friend.

 e)    In apposition

  • He likes his work,flying jets.
  • His hobby, collecting stamps, is interesting.
  • The students had several interests: taking pictures, reading books, playing football.

 f)       Predicate noun

    • His work is driving trucks.
    • Her hobby was painting pictures.
    • John’s favorite sport is boxing.


 2.     The –ING form used as an adjective.

 a)    Attributive (preceding the noun)

  • A rapidly growing population is one of our problems.
  • The idea of an expanding universe is new.
  • The aircraft engine makes a humming noise.

 b) Predicate Adjective (following the linking verb)

  • The show was exciting.
  • Your story is veryinteresting.
  • Aviation is fascinating.

c) Appositive Adjective

    • The students, working fast, soon finished their assignments.
    • The waiter gave the drink to the girl sitting at the table.
    • The airplane taxiingon the runway is ready take of.
    • Jack is the boy sittingover there.


 3. Past participle used as an adjective.

 a) Attributive

  • The written examination was difficult.
  • He is a well-educated man.
  • The senator is a polished speaker.
  • I have a broken DVD.

 b) Predicate Adjective

  • My take is broken.
  • He seems hurt.
  • The store is closed.

 c) Appositive

    • The picture takenby Jim was very good.
    • The plane damaged by the storm is being repaired.
    • The tapes used in the lab are very helpful.
    • I enjoyed the party given in the officers Club.
    • He was an officer respected for his courage.


 4. Infinitive used as a noun

 a) Subject

  • To speak English is easy.
  • To concentrate is important.
  • To work together is our duty.

 b) Object of the verb

  • They wanted to go.
  • He refused to pay his debts.
  • We plan to leave early.

 c) In Apposition

  • Their desire to speak English is strong.
  • The instructor reminded him of his duty to learn grammar.
  • His decision to leave was a wise one.

 d) Predicate Noun

  • His aim is to finish the course as soon as possible.
  • Their plan is to leave as soon as possible.
  • Her ambition was to become an actress.

 e) The infinitive is often used with the dummy subject it, as in the following pattern:

    • It is better to think before you act.
    • It is sometimes better to remain silent.
    • It is foolish to leave in this stormy weather.


5. Infinitive used as an adjective.

    •  The thing to tell them is that you can’t go.
    • They have a lot of work to do.
    • This is the time to speak.


 6. Infinitive used as an adverb.

    •  He stopped to smoke a cigarette.
    • I came to learn English.
    • A good example is difficult to find.


 7. Omission of to in the infinitive.

 The to of the infinitive is not used after can, may, must, will, shall, and a few verbal phrases; namely, had rather, had better, had just as soon.  It is not used after a few verbs like make, help, let, which are related in meaning to can, may or must, in that they involve obligation, permission or request.


    • You must go now.
    • You can help.
    • You had better take some medicine.
    • I had just as soon stay home.
    • I had rather stay.
    • He made me study.
    • They let him go home
    • Help him move the piano.


 8. Verbs followed only by infinitive (as object)

  • Example: I don’t care to meet him.









9.  Verbs followed only by gerund (as object)

  • Example: He admits stealing the money.
















March 25, 2015