Verb (structural element)

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The Verb is one of the structural elements of a clause. (When Verb is written with a capital, we mean the functional element which forms part of the structure of a clause; written with a lowercase we mean verb the word class a 'verb'.) In essence, the two are the same; but it can be convenient for the student of grammar to emphasise the distinction.

As a structural element the Verb is at the centre of a well-formed sentence. It is essential, that all academic sentences contain a Main verb - which this is - or, from a different point of view, a finite verb. This encapsulates the statement that is made in any declarative sentence. This Verb may be a verb phrase containing up to five words.

Each member of the word class verb on the other hand is a single word. Verb phrases are assembled from a variable number of words. All verb phrases have a lexical verb, which informs the reader or hearer of the kind of action or state that is being talked of. (A verb phrase that contains only one word will contain only this lexical verb - at least in formal written English.) Other words in a verb phrase with more than one word are auxiliary verbs, whether 'to be', 'to have' or 'to do' (the primary verbs), or one or more of the modal or semi-modal verbs.

See Structure of a clause, and Verb (word class) for more on the respective categories.