When it comes to the parts of speech, nouns and verbs are among the best known and intuitively understood. However, there are complications that are worth discussing, as things aren't always as straightforward as you might expect. Compound verbs are one such example of this.
If a subject of a sentence has a verb that is made up of more than one word, that verb is called a compound verb. There are several forms of compound verbs including:
In all four forms, the commonality is that it takes multiple words to form a single verb. Let's study each of these types in closer detail.
Compound verbs can be formed in several ways. You can add a preposition, make a phrase, add a "helping" verb, or combine two words together. Each of these results in a different form of compound verb.
When a preposition combines with a verb to form a new verb, the result is called a prepositional verb. Some examples include:
When a verb combines with another type of word, such as an adverb, the result is a phrasal verb. Some examples include:
In this form, a verb combines with another verb called a helping verb. The helping verb is typically have, has, had, am, be, been, is, are, was or were. For example, in the following sentences, the first word in bold is the auxiliary verb and the second verb follows. Together they are a compound verb.
Sometimes a single verb is a combination of multiple words. Both words might be verbs or one of the words might be a descriptor word. The words may run together as one word or they may be joined by a hyphen. Regardless of the spelling, when used together, the words function as a single verb.
Compound verbs give the reader a bigger understanding of the action taken by the subject of the sentence. Now that you've familiarized yourself with the different forms of compound verbs, why not explore some other types of compounds in the English language? Learn more about compound subjects and compound nouns to elevate your command of the language even further.