Grammar Lesson: The Verb Phrase

By — John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Updated on May 29, 2014

A verb phrase is the main verb and one or more helping verbs.

Common helping verbs include these words in the box.

The verb phrases are underlined in these sentences.

  • Many doctors have been concerned about the new flu.
  • Some of the new stamps were purchased by the collector.
  • The collector had purchased the new stamps.
  • We had never witnessed such a hysterical scene. (Never is an adverb modifying the main verb, witnessed, and is not part of the verb phrase.)
  • Will you remember my address and phone number? (You is the pronoun subject of the sentence and is not part of the verb phrase.)
  • Is Emma practicing her piano now? (Emma is the sentence's subject and is not part of the verb phrase.)
  • The runner had not been passed by any of the other contestants. (Not is an adverb and is not part of the verb phrase.)


Use each of the verb phrases in a sentence.

  1. had been writing
  2. will go
  3. can be replaced


Answers will vary.

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