Diagramming Verbs

Here is everything you need to know about diagramming verbs. If you'd like a refresher on what verbs are, click here. Have fun!

Be sure to check out the Sentence Diagramming Reference Manual which includes even more awesome information than you'll find on this page.

Helping Verbs

These verbs help the main verb of a sentence. If there is a helping verb, there must be a main verb. You can read more about helping verbs here.

sentence diagram helping verbs


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Transitive Verbs

TRANSitive verbs are action verbs, and they TRANSfer their action to a receiver.

There are two types of transitive verbs: transitive active and transitive passive.

Transitive Active Verbs

These transfer their action to the direct object. That means that the direct object is the receiver of the action.

James kicked the ball. The dog scratched its back.

sentence diagram transitive verbs

Learn more about diagramming transitive active verbs.


Transitive Passive Verbs

These transfer their action to the subject. That means that the subject is the receiver of the action. We also say that these kinds of sentences are written in the passive voice.

These sentences always have a helping verb, and they never have direct objects.

The ball was kicked. The dog's back was scratched.

sentence diagram intransitive complete verbs
Learn more about diagramming transitive passive verbs.


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Intransitive Verbs

INtransitive verbs are verbs that DO NOT transfer action to anyone or anything. IN- is a Latin prefix meaning not.

There are two types of intransitive verbs: linking verbs, and intransitive complete verbs.

Intransitive Linking Verbs

These kinds of verbs don't show any action. They simply link the subject with a noun or adjective that either renames the subject or describes the subject.

I am a teacher. He is the president of the Spanish club.

sentence diagram linking verbs

Learn more about diagramming intransitive linking verbs.


Intransitive Complete Verbs

These kinds of verbs DO show action, but no one receives the action of these verbs. They are complete without transferring their action to anyone or anything.

Dogs bark. The boy laughed.

sentence diagram intransitive complete verbs


Practice diagramming intransitive complete verbs here.

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Isn't diagramming verbs fun? I hope these diagrams helped you understand verbs a little better!


Elizabeth O'Brien is the creator of the Grammar Revolution step-by-step grammar and sentence diagramming programs. Her programs are guaranteed not only to teach you grammar, but also to give you more confidence in your communication skills.

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