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Grammar Lesson: Action Verbs and Verbs of Being

written by: Kellie Hayden • edited by: Laurie Patsalides • updated: 1/17/2012

This lesson will show students why they need to learn to identify verbs. To write effectively, students need to learn to identify both types of verbs: action verbs and verbs of being. A sorting game will help students to learn how to identify them.

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    Teaching Students Why They Need to Know Their Verbs

    Teaching students the eight parts of speech in middle school should be a review, however, many students learn the material in earlier grades and then quickly forget it.

    Pull examples of run-ons and comma splices from the students' latest papers and write the sentences on the overhead. First, ask students to tell if each sentence is a complete sentence, a run-on or a comma splice. A sentence must have a subject, a verb and a complete thought.

    Many or some students will not be able to identify the verb in the sentences on the overhead, especially if a verb of being was used in the sentence. Show the students that they need to be able to identify verbs to write effective sentences.

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    Use Resource Book

    Use a grammar resource book to show students lists of action verbs and verbs of being. Most students understand that action verbs involve an "act", such as jumping, walking and skipping. However, some students do not understand what a verbs of being is.

    First, let them know that verbs of being can be called helping verbs and linking verbs too. This may help some students to remember them. Remind them that these verbs have no action and just "are."

    A list of verbs of being is as follows: am, is, was, were, are, been, be, being, and been. Check out a nice PowerPoint on verbs of being.

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    Action Verbs and Verbs of Being Activity

    To check for understanding of identification of verbs of being and action verbs, try the following activity.

    Step 1 -- Make 40 Post-its with a mix of action verbs and verbs of being on each Post-it.

    Step 2 -- On the black board, make two sets of two columns and label the columns: action verbs and verbs of being.

    Step 3 -- Select two volunteers to sort the verbs as quickly as they can. Offer a small prize for the first one to sort them correctly in the shortest amount of time. Give each student 20 Post-its.

    Step 4 -- When the students are done, give candy to the one who has them all correct. If both students have mistakes, then they can get help from one other person in the class.

    Step 5 - After the students are done, go through each Post-it and talk about why the Post-it was an action verb or a verb of being.

Parts of Speech Lessons

This series of lessons will offer tips and ideas on how to teach and how to review the eight parts of speech.
  1. Lesson Plan for the Eight Parts of Speech Game
  2. Eight Parts of Speech Sentence Sort
  3. Identifying Parts of Speech Review Game
  4. Identify Noun Case Activity
  5. Grammar Lesson: Action Verbs and Verbs of Being