Normal verbs are verbs in English that are not auxiliary verbs such as: to be, to have, to do or modal auxiliary verbs: can, could, may, might, will, shall, must, would, should, ought to, need to, and dare to.
Some auxiliary verbs such as to do, need (without ‘to’), dare (without ‘to’), to have, and to be can also function as normal or ordinary verbs, but for the most part, function as auxiliary verbs.
Ordinary verbs or normal verbs are verbs that do not “help” other verbs.
Example of normal verbs in English (verbs that are not auxiliary verbs)
- I need to leave right now.
- Would you want a coffee?
- Have you got a pen?
- Can I borrow your bike?
- We will plug the cable in.
- You mustn’t drive, you’re too young.
- Mary loves to travel.
- He arrived late.
All the verbs in bold are ordinary verbs, and in the first six sentences, the ordinary verbs are being “helped” by the auxiliary or helping verbs (need to, would, have, can, will, and mustn’t).
In the last two sentences, the ordinary verbs (loves, travel, arrived) are not using any auxiliary verb to “help” them.
More on normal verbs vs. auxiliary verbs
Contrary to auxiliary verbs, normal verbs or ordinary verbs do not have a specific grammatical function. I.e., to be is used to form the passive voice, to have for forming perfect tenses, to do for negation, making question tags, forming ellipsis etc.
Normal verbs such as teach, explain, sing, walk, annoy, for example, have their own meanings and have no other purpose other than to express their intended meanings.
As soon as you want to negate, talk about the future, talk about a continuous action, use the passive voice, and much more than you will need to become acquainted with auxiliary verbs. These include both the main auxiliaries and modal auxiliaries.
More about verbs in English
Modal auxiliary verbs:
- Articles in English
- Pronouns: subject, object and possessive
- Question tags
- English conditionals
- Interrogatives in English
- Phrasal verbs
- Prefixes and suffixes
- Reported and direct speech
- Punctuation: apostrophes, colons, semi-colons, commas, dashes, full stops, question marks, exclamation marks, and quotation marks
- Numbers: cardinal, ordinal, and Roman numbers
- The verb: “get”
- ‘Get’ vs. ‘go’ and ‘got’ vs. ‘gotten’
- Copular verbs
- Cleft sentences
- Subjunctive in English
- Vulgar and taboo in English
- Split infinitive
- Emphasis with inversion
- Gerunds in English
- To + infinitive
- Bare infinitive
- British and American spelling