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Verbs KS2

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What are verbs?

Verbs are action words in a sentence and describe what the subject of the sentence is doing. Along with nouns, they are the main part of a sentence or phrase. In fact, even the most simple sentences require a verb.

For example -

Mary sings.

Robbie eats.

Birds fly.


Verbs can also be sentences in their own right, with the subject, in most cases 'you', implied.

For example -





Sometimes children are taught in KS1 that verbs are 'doing words' and in a lot of cases this is a really good description.

For example -

She walked away.

He eats rice pudding.

His tyres screeched on the race track.


However, this can confuse children as not all verbs can be easily identifiable as an action.

For example -

I know the right answer.

James thought about it.


Verbs can describe a state of being, emotion, possession, sense or opinion. Other examples of these 'non-action' verbs include love, have, am, feel and agree.

verbs ks2 - circle the verb

How can verbs be identified?

There are some clever ways to help children identify whether words are verbs.


1. Location of the verb -

Verbs almost always come after a noun or pronoun (the subject) and so can be easily spotted.

Molly eats her dinner slowly.

We went to the shopping centre.

You draw nicely in your sketchbook.


2. "Can I do it__________?"

Another way to decide if a word is a verb or not is to ask, "Can I do it?"

Can I walk? (yes - it is a verb)

Can I have? (yes - it is a verb)

Can I draw? (yes - it is a verb)


2. "What is happening?"

To identify which verb in a sentence is a verb, you can ask "What is happening?"

Molly eats her dinner slowly.

(Eating is what is happening so the verb is eats).

Verbs KS1

Here is what the National Curriculum says about verbs in KS1:

Year 2: Use of the progressive form of verbs in the present and past tense to mark actions in progress [for example, she is drumming, he was shouting]

Verbs KS2

Here is what the National Curriculum says about verbs in KS2:

Year 3: Use of the present perfect form of verbs instead of the simple past [for example, He has gone out to play contrasted with He went out to play]

Year 4: Standard English forms for verb inflections instead of local spoken forms [for example, we were instead of we was, or I did instead of I done]

Year 5: Verb prefixes [for example, dis–, de–, mis–, over– and re–], Indicating degrees of possibility using adverbs [for example, perhaps, surely] or modal verbs [for example, might, should, will, must]

Modal Verbs KS2

To understand what modal verbs are, firstly we need to understand the term 'auxillary verbs'. Auxillary verbs are also known as helping verbs as they are used together with a main verb to show the verbs tense, or to form a question or negative. For example, have, might, will, would, should, do, can, did and may are all examples of auxillary verbs.

Modal verbs are auxillary verbs which are used to express abilities, possibilities, permissions or obligations. For example: can, must, may, should and would are all examples of modal verbs.

He can shoot a three-pointer. (expressing ability)

I should go home. (expressing obligation)

Tasha would not recommend the lasagna. (expressing possibility)

Imperative Verbs KS2

Imperative verbs are sometimes called 'bossy verbs'. They are used in instruction texts as they tell you what to do. When they are used in this way, the sentence becomes a command.

For example -

Fold your clothes up.

Stir in the sugar.

Screw the two sides together.

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