English Verb Phrases
Before we learn English verb phrases, click here to review English
Click Here for Step-by-Step Rules, Stories and Exercises to Practice All English Tenses
What is a verb phrase?
phrase = main verb + auxiliary verbs (helping verbs)
of verb phrases
(the verb phrases are underlined):
eating + are => are eating
"They are eating
come + will => will come
"I will come
wait + have been => have been waiting
"She has been waiting
for more than an hour."
A verb phrase
is a combination of a main
verb and one or more auxiliary verbs (also known as helping
This group of words acts
like a verb
For example, you could say, "I waited for you."
In this sentence the word waited
is a verb.
You could replace waited
with a group of words (a phrase) and say, "I have been waiting
is a verb phrase, and it
functions as a single verb in the sentence.
So we call it a verb
. It can also be called a compound verb
the verbs in the verb phrase can be separated. In other words, they
don't have to follow each other!
For example, both "We will
" and "Will
contain verb phrases (in bold).Note:
Don't confuse verb phrases with phrasal verbs
Additional examples of verb phrases
(the verb phrase is in bold):
waiting for the rain to stop.
- Why is
- Jack is
- Shanon will
you help us?
- He can
speak more than ten languages.
I call you?
- They have
all the locks.
- My brother has
been working there for over five years.
- They have
not seen it.
- His heart was