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)



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!

Hello Mohammad Asem,

We are often asked this question, but it's hard to give specific advice without knowing how you speak at the moment.  However, there are some general suggestions that I can make which will help you to improve over time.  The most important thing you can do is to speak English as often as possible.  To do this a partner is very helpful, so think about the people you know and consider if any of them could be a practice partner for you.  It may be that you know someone else who is also learning English and who would like to practise with you, or perhaps you know some people who do not speak your language but do speak English.  However, if you do not have a practice partner it does not mean that you cannot practise because tt is possible to practise alone.  Just speaking English to yourself while you are at home, going about your normal daily activities, can help a great deal with your fluency and can help you to feel more confident, which will help you to cut down your hesitating.

You can also use the audio and video materials here on LearnEnglish to improve your fluency. After doing the exercises, try listening with the transcript (listening and reading). Then try saying the text yourself, and finally try saying it with (and at the same speed as) the recording. This will help you to develop speed in your speech, which is a key component of fluency.  You'll also pick up a lot of language as chunks - words which are often used together in set phrases - which you can use to communicate with less hesitation.

Remember, finally, that developing speaking is a process which takes time.  As with any incremental process, it can often be hard to see progress but it is important to keep going and not give up, even if you find it hard to see progress.

Good luck and best wishes,



The LearnEnglish Team