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B is for BEING VERBS!
In our books, we group being/helping/linking verbs together since they often serve the same purpose, and they all have the same modifiers (i.e. adjectives modifying noun before BHL verb as opposed to adverbs modifying the verb), etc.
To help you remember the Be, a Helper, Link verbs, there is a little rhyme that you can sing to the tune of ABC’s (or “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”):
Be, a Helper, Link verbs,
Is, Are, Am, Was, & Were.
Be, & Being, Been, Become,
Has, & Had, & Have are ones.
(Now I said my ABC’s)
Can, Could, Shall, Should—they are fun.
(Next time won’t you sing with me?)
Will, Would, Do, Did, Does, & Done.
May, Might, Must—they are some as well,
Appear, Look, Seem, Remain, Taste, Feel, & Smell.
B is for BHL VERBS!
There are a number of reasons to memorize being, helping, and linking verbs:
(1) When one stands alone as a linking verb or is used before a base verb as a helping verb, it is the verb that you match with the subject: He IS happy…is must match with He; they ARE going (are must match with they.
(2) They tell WHEN something happened (present, past, etc.).
(3) When one stands alone, it may have an adjective following it–which is going back to the noun or pronoun before it, describing that noun or pronoun. (You do not use an adverb with a single BHL verb.)
(4) When one stands alone, it should have the subjective form of a pronoun following it (if it has a pronoun following it), not the objective: This is SHE (not this is HER).
(5) When a base verb follows has, had, or have (and oftentimes was and were), it should be in its past participle tense:
a. has written
b. had gone
c. have done
d. had lain
e. has risen
f. have come
Earlier I said that we teach two main categories of verbs—action and Be a Helper, Link verbs (BHL verbs).
There is another “category” of verbs that you should learn, however. That is the group of verbs (also used as other parts of speech) known as the infinitive.
We teach infinitives as verbs (and early on) for a couple of reasons:
- While they might act like other parts of speech (i.e. modifying, being the sentence’s main subject, etc.) at times, more often than not, they act like verbs.
- They can describe what a subject is doing: The girl decided to write the letter.
- They can have BHL verbs with them: She had to take her medicine.
- They can have adverbs with them (when they are comprised of action verbs): She wanted to write beautifully.
- They can have direct objects with them (when they are comprised of action verbs): The girl wanted to eat chocolates.
- They can have predicate adjectives with them (when they are comprised of BHL verbs): She wanted to be careful.
They can have predicate nominatives with them (when they are comprised of BHL verbs): She wanted to be an actress.
Tomorrow—more on infinitives.
There are two main classes of verbs that we teach in our books: action verbs and being, helping, and linking verbs. Obviously, there are various tenses of verbs. And yes, there are verbs that can have objects (i.e. direct objects) and verbs that are not known for having objects. And there are dozens of other ways to categorize verbs.
However, we have found that the best way to teach any grammar skill is to teach it as it relates to writing. After all, we learn grammar for writing and speaking (not to choose the correct answer on a grammar quiz!). Thus, we focus on action verbs and another group of verbs that we affectionately call Be a Helper, Link verbs—being, helping, and linking verbs all grouped together.
There are many reasons for this, and since many teachers have questioned us through the years, I will give our reasons here—and then tomorrow, introduce you to a simple-as-pie way to learn (or teach your kids/students) all being, helping, and linking verbs in one easy swoop!
- Action verbs all have the same characteristics (regardless of whether they are transitive, intransitive, passive, active, etc. etc.):
- They show that the subject did some type of action.
- They can all have adverbs with them.
- They can have direct objects following them:
i. I gave the book away. (Action verb—gave; Direct object book)
ii. She spoke the words clearly. (Action verb—spoke; Direct object words)
- Being, helping, and linking verbs all have the same characteristics:
- They show the state of being of the subject: He was here.
- They cannot have adverbs with them.
- They can have predicate adjectives following them: He was smart.
- They can have predicate nominatives following them: They were the ones.
- Most of them may be used as helping verbs—each one can help a base word by telling when the base verb took place: They were reading the novel in class.
For those reasons, we group action verbs all together as action verbs—and being, helping, and linking verbs all together into BHL verbs (Be a Helper, Link)—being, helping, and linking verbs.
Join us tomorrow to learn all thirty-two of these in one day! Smile…