verb patterns


The structure of the clause depends on the verb. For example:

  • An intransitive verb has the structure: N(=noun) + V(=verb): (John) + (smiled).
  • A transitive verb has the structure: N + V + N: (We) + (had been playing) + (football)
  • A link verb has the structure: N + V + Adj : (She) + (looked) + (happy)
  • A phrasal verb has the structure: N + V + p + N (She) + (gave) +(back) + (the money)
    N + V + N + p (She) + (gave) + (the money) + (back)



Dear sirs.
I ask your help to clarify several expressions.
Is this sentence correct?
John was capable of raising this question at the meeting.
John was able to raise this question at the meeting.
Thank you beforehand.
Best wishes.

Hello sir,

This soup's cold. I checked the intransitive verb option, but the correct answer is link verb. Can you please clarify me where I went wrong?

saipathudu. T

Hello saipathudut,

This sentence about soup follows the structure indicated above for link verbs: 'A link verb has the structure: N + V + Adj : (She) + (looked) + (happy).'

In this case, it's also N + V + Adj: (This soup) + (is) + (cold).

Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

Generally a subject will come before a phrase beginning with of like in the following example: "A bouquet of yellow roses lends color and fragrance to the room." The subject of the previous sentence is " a bouquet". So, what about the following sentence: " A number/ a group of students are going to the cinema today." why cannot we say " is going"?

Thanks in advance

Hi zagrus,

Quantifiers such as 'a number of' and 'a group of' take a plural verb as they describe many individuals.  Interestingly, when we change the article to a definite article ('the number of' and 'the group of') we use a singular verb.  This is generally explained in terms of how we see the group: as a collection of individuals (indefinite article and plural verb) or as an already-defined unit (definite artlcle and singular verb). Therefore we say:

A number of students are going to the cinema today. The number of students is quite small, however.

I hope that clarifies it for you.

Best wishes,



The LearnEnglish Team

Hi, Teachers

I'd like to know if it is possible to change this advertisement on new york times' site: "Global coverage that goes everywhere you do" to "Global coverage wich goes everywhere you do

Thanks a lot

Hello Glauci,

Yes, that is fine, though please note that "wich" should be spelled "which".

Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

Oh, it's true, I didn't realise that I left out h in which. Thank you very much, Teacher!