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Intro to Verbs


An introduction to verb form. First thing I'll point out is you may be wondering why do we have this whole module on verbs. And we don't have a similar module for any of the other parts of speech. Well as it turns out, verbs are awfully persnickety. And what do I mean by this?

Well, when you think about a noun, the only change you make in a noun, really, is singular versus plural. Other than that, the noun is exactly the same, no matter what you're doing with the noun. Whether it's a subject or direct object, or the object of a prepositional phrase. That noun is always gonna be exactly the same.

The only change you make at all is singular or plural. Well, verbs, by contrast, take on a bewildering array of forms. And that's what we're gonna be discussing throughout this video series. The most important forms with which to be concerned. Revolve around the 4 major qualities, mood, tense, voice, and number. So what exactly do we mean by these?

Let's start with verb mood, there are 3 moods, the most common mood is the indicative mood. The indicative mood is used for totally factual statements. He went late, she is going soon. It doesn't actually matter whether the fact is in the past or the present or the future.

If it's an unambiguous clear fact. That is what we use the indicative for. I'll point out right away, 97% of the sentences you see on the GMAT. 97% of the sentences you see in a magazine article, in a newspaper article are in the indicative. By far, the majority of the language is in the indicative.

The second mood is the imperative mood, go forth, buy low, sell high, do this, do that, when we're giving commands that's the imperative. This does not appear at all on the GMAT. It may appear somewhere in the directions, but it doesn't appear anywhere in the questions on the GMAT. One place where you do see the imperative quite a bit, is in advertising.

In advertising they're always telling you, buy this product, use that, take this drug etc, etc. They're giving you commands, but that's not something for which you will be tested on the GMAT sentence correction. Finally, the third one. The tricky one.

This is tested on the GMAT. The subjunctive. The subjunctive is very strange. It's for all those hypothetical situations. Uncertain predictions. Uncertain possibilities that might happen in the future.

The GMAT loves to talk about things in the subjunctive. There'll be a few videos coming up in which we discuss this subjunctive in much grater detail. The second quality is verb tense. Verb tense quite simply indicates the time at which an action happens. And of course the most simple tenses are just simple past, simple present, and simple future.

Now when we start thinking about tense, we realize there are many more possibilities than just those three. And, in fact, we'll be discussing these. We have a long sequence of videos, purely on verb tense. So I won't go through these right here. I'm just displaying these sentences to show that there is quite a bit of variety.

In the ways that we can indicate the time of an action. We'll be talking about this in much greater detail in upcoming videos. The third quality, voice, has to do with active versus passive. Active voice versus passive voice. So active voice is when we actually have the doer of the action. And then we have the doer, the action, and the recipient of the action.

So someone buys a house. Someone bought a car. These are active. Somebody gives the dog a bone. All of these are active. Passive is when we flip things around and focus on the object that received the action.

A house is bought, a car was bought. Notice it can be present or past. It gets very tricky when there's an indirect object. We could actually focus it on the. Indirect object. The dog is given a bone.

Or we could focus on the direct object, a bone is given to the dog. The g mat is not going to test this. It's not going to test putting sentences with indirect objects into the passive. In fact the g mat hardly ever talks about indirect objects. That's not a focus for the g mat at all. But active and passive is a big focus for the GMAT.

As a general rule, the GMAT does prefer active to passive, but that is just a very broad rule. And we're going to have to clarify that in much greater detail in upcoming videos. Finally, verb number has to do with whether the verb is singular or plural. Now, this is tricky for almost all verbs other than the verb to be, this only happens in the third person.

What do we mean by the third person? First person is the speaker I or we, second person is the spoken to, you or you plural. Third person is the singular he or she or it, or the plural they. And the change is form only happens in the third person, he does versus they do. So that's a change in verb number.

Also it's only relevant in certain tenses, so for example, he will, they will, that's in the future, there's no verb number in the future. There's no change according to number when we're in the future. So this is a very tricky topic. We'll be discussing this a little bit when we discuss, irregular verbs. But we'll just be discussing this in much greater detail, in the Agreement module.

So overall I will say, every sentence, and in fact every clause, must have a full verb. And this is why verbs are so important. They are really, in many ways the lynch pin of the entire sentence. Every full verb has a specific mood, a specific tense, a specific voice, and a specific number.

And that's why we have to talk about all these qualities. Finally, as if it weren't confusing enough, there are also these other things. These verb forms, infinitives. Participles and gerunds. These can't take the place of full verbs. They tend not to have the verb qualities.

But they can take on other properties. They can have a direct object. They can have an adverb. They can have modifiers. You can form a total phrase out of any one of them. Infinitive phrases, participial phrases, gerund phrases.

The GMAT loves these. Each one of these will be discussed in detail. In a video much later on in this module.

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