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Unlocking Verbals: The Language's Hidden Gems

Comprehensive Definition, Description, Examples & Rules 

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Introduction the Verbals

Verbal meaning would be a type of word that you use as an adverb, an adjective, or a noun in your sentence. 

What is a Verbal?

If you define verbal, it is a type of verb that directly looks like a verb but does not function as a verb in the sentence. The verbal sentence consists of a verb, a subject, and an object that makes the entire sentence. 


Verbal plays an essential role in the sentences and framing of the parts of speech. These roles include:

  • The verbal will act as a primary subject of the sentence or an adjective, and they will also identify the sentence’s main verb.
  • They add a lot to the sentence structure and elevate the writing with new ideas.
  • If you want to go beyond the simple structure of the sentence, then it is essential for you to use a verbal in your sentence.

Understanding Verbals: Types and Characteristics

There are various types of verbals in English, which have different meanings and are emphasized differently in sentences.


The different types of verbals are:


Gerund is a verbal that functions as a noun form, and the word always ends with ‘ing’. 


A participle is a verbal adjective of the sentence and ends with ‘ing’ for the present tense and ‘ed or ‘en’ for the past tense. 


Infinitives are a type of verbal where you see a verb proceeding by the word ‘to’.


Various characteristics of a verbal differentiate it from the other parts of speech in English. These are:

  • One of the primary characteristics of a verbal is you can communicate the message by directly or indirectly relating with the object.
  • You don’t have to add any noun, adverb, or adjective in your sentence, and it will play the role of all these. No other parts of speech can do this.

What is a Gerund?

Gerund is a type of verbal that functions as a noun in any sentence and always ends with ‘ing’. It can be as a subject, a compliment of the subject, or a direct or indirect object of the sentence. The examples of gerunds in sentences are:

  • Running is an excellent exercise for anyone.
  • We were dancing at the ceremony. 

The usage of it is to blend between a verb and a noun and make the verb act as the noun of the sentence. 

What are Participles?

The participles are a form of a verbal that acts as an adjective of the sentence, and all these words end with ‘ed or ‘en’ when in the past tense or ‘ing’ when in the present tense. They play the role of the adjective of the sentence and are specially used for continuous verb tenses. Examples are:

  • Rose has broken the glass.
  • Brett has written the poem.

A participle is based on a word that has more expression of the action and modifies the noun of the sentence in the form of a participial phrase. It is a phrase used as an adjective to effectively describe the noun or pronoun of the sentence. 

Understanding Infinitives

Infinitives are verbals that can function as an adverb, a noun, or an adjective in the sentence. It is when you write ‘to’ just before the verb of your sentence and make it an infinitive to describe the sentence effectively. Examples of infinitives are:

  • The food is very hot for me to eat. 
  • You arrived late to meet the guests. 

The Role of Verbals in Sentence Structure

A verbal has a very effective role in the structure of the sentence as it adds more functions to the sentence. These are:

  • They act as a type of phrase and function as an adjective, noun, or adverb of the sentence.

  • They have a role in making the sentence complex and defining the action happening very effectively.
  • If you want to avoid writing a simple sentence, use the verbal in your sentence to make it more compelling. 
  • You can use it to make your writing more concise and clear, which will be more efficient. 

A verbal effectively interacts with the other elements of the sentence and conveys the exact meaning of the sentence effectively. These elements of the sentence might be the articles or the main adverb.

Identifying Verbals in Sentences

Some tips will help you to recognize verbals in the sentence while you are reading or writing the sentence. Identification of the verbal is different for all the other types of it. You can identify the verbal as:


You can identify a gerund when you see the verb performing as a noun of the sentence and has ‘ing’ at its end. Example:

  • I am playing in the field. (‘Play’ is the verb, ‘ing’ makes it a verbal, and it’s functioning as a noun)


You can identify the participle verbal when you see the verb functioning as an adjective. The past participle will have ‘en or ‘ed’ while the present participle will have ‘ing’. Example:

  • She has written the exam with a blue pen. (‘Write’ is the verb, adding ‘en’ makes it verbal, and it functions as an adjective)


Infinitives will function as a noun, adjectives, or adverbs. You can identify it when you see a ‘to’ before the sentence’s verb, making it an infinitive. Example:

  • I want to visit London one day. (Adding ‘to’ with ‘visit’ makes it a verbal)

There is a worksheet below the article where you can test your skills to identify a verbal in sentences. 

Common Mistakes with Verbals

There are certain mistakes with verbal, which is crucial for you to know. These are:

  • People always use the inconsistent form of the word when using verbals.
  • It is a great problem when you mess up with the tense form of the sentence while adding a verbal to it. You need to stick to the exact tense in which you want to convey the action.
  • Messing the subject-verb agreement is also a big mistake. Some people mix the singular and plural antecedence while using the verbal.
  • Switching tenses among their dialogue tags is also a mistake that is possible.

The tips to avoid these mistakes are:

  • Frame the sentence properly in your mind before writing or telling it.
  • Repeat the sentence in your mind and see whether it is making proper meaning or is awkward.
  • Understand all the types of verbal and use the effective one for your sentence.
  • Know your subject-verb agreement properly.
list of adverbs for kids

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Key Takeaways

  1. You need to keep the subject-verb agreement in mind.

  2. Understanding the different types of verbals is essential, 

  3. You have to know their use appropriately.

  4. The verbals act as noun adjectives or adverbs in the sentence.

  5. Avoid messing the tense of the sentence while using a verbal in it.


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Frequently Asked Questions

How are infinitives used in sentences?

Infinitives are verbal that can be used as an adverb, a noun, or an adjective in a sentence. Using the word ‘to’ before the primary verb of the sentence will transform it into a verbal one and will enhance a lot on the action of the sentence.

Can you provide examples of gerund, participle, and infinitives?

Examples of all the types of verbal are:

  • Gerund: I am taking a short nap.
  • Participle: I have given him the DVD. 
  • Infinitives: I am here to see the sunrise.
What are the different types of verbals?

The different types of verbals in the English language include:

  • Gerund
  • Participle
  • Infinitive

All these will act as an adjective, an adverb, or a noun in the sentence and help you make the sentence more effective. 

How Do I Identify gerunds, participles, and infinitives in a sentence?

To identify these, you need to follow these tips.

  • Gerund: Will have ‘ing’ with the verb, and it will act as a noun of the sentence.
  • Participle: Will have ‘ing’ for the present participle and ‘ed or ‘en’ for the past participle. It will act as an adjective for the sentence.
  • Infinitives: This verbal will act as an adjective, adverb, or noun and will have ‘to’ before the sentence’s main verb. 
What are some common mistakes to avoid when using verbals?

The basic mistakes that you need to avoid while using a verbal are:

  • Messing up with the subject-verb agreement of the sentence.

  • Using different tenses for the sentence and mixing up all of them.

  • Using the wrong type of verbal required for the sentence.

How do verbals add versatility to language and communication?

Verbal makes it very easy to communicate with each other and makes the English language more versatile. Conversation becomes very easy, and it makes you frame concise, effective, and efficient statements.

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