Answers: writing about verbs (Text 1)

Verbs in Text 1

The verbs are printed in red, and then listed according to their type.

he stands and delivers (3) and hes played it with class (8) here is Johnson again (1) coming in fast (2) bowls again (2) Drake on the back foot looking for a break but they won’t get it (2) Johnson follows through well (6) the only way the local team could get back in with a chance is to get something like three wickets and an over or something like that (4) but looks like they‘re gonna go down (2) with dignity but they‘re gonna go down (3) comes in again (2) and bowls and Drake whips him away through the leg-side field for an easy single (3) such a measured performance he‘ll know he‘s taken five off the over that‘s more than enough (4) pitch really flattened out now (3) the visitors are not counting their chickens just yet (7) but they‘ve been on top for most of this match (6) in comes Johnson with a ball there aah and it‘s still Drake out there steering them towards what seemed an unlikely victory earlier (5) Drake has been the man thwarting the homeside  (3)he‘s completely and utterly dominated this game

Cricket commentary

Dynamic verbs

stands, delivers, played, coming in, bowls, looking for, follows through, get back in, to get, go down, comes in, whips, taken … off, flattened, counting, steering, thwarting, dominated 

Stative verbs

is, get (it), looks, know, been, seemed

Lexical verbs

stands, delivers, played, is, coming in, bowls, looking for, get (it), follows through, get back in, to get, looks, go downcomes in, whips, know, taken … off , (i)s, flattened, counting, been, steering, seemed, thwarting, dominated

Primary auxiliary verbs

(ha)s, (a)re, gonna (= going to), are, (ha)ve, has

Modal auxiliary verbs

 won’t, (will not = prediction), could (= possibility), ‘ll (will = present prediction, an observation about something happening now)

Finite verbs

Present tense: stands, delivers, (ha)s, is, bowls,  follows through, is, looks, (a)re, comes in, whips, are, (ha)ve, has 

Past tense: seemed

Finite, but not usually tensed:  won’t, could, ‘ll (modal auxiliaries)

Non-finite verbs

-ed participles: played, measured (verb modifier), taken … off, flattened, been,  dominated 

-ing participles: coming in, looking for, gonna (=going), counting, steering, thwarting 

Base form verbs: get (it), get back in, know 

Infinitives:  to get, (gon)na go down (= to go down)

Multi-word verbs

coming in, looking for, follows through, get back in, go down, taken … off

Note 1

Present tense verbs followed by an -ed participle describe an action in the past with present relevance: (ha)s played, (ha)s taken … off, (ha)ve been, has been, (ha)s … dominated

Verbs and text type

This text is an example of a spontaneous commentary broadcast live on a sports channel. The audience is therefore quite specific – viewers will have tuned in because they want to hear a ball-by-ball account of the match. The purpose is to describe and interpret action on the ground as it happens. The context is  specific since the commentator is located in direct sight of the match on which he is reporting. The measured delivery, and the number and length of pauses in the commentary are typical of the pace and style of cricket –  a commentary for a faster-paced sport like football would look very different.

Five key points about the verbs:

  1. the majority of the verbs are dynamic finite present tense third person singular verbs (stands, bowls, follows through, comes in) because the commentary is describing a sequence of actions as they happen 
  2. there is only one finite past tense verb (seemed): it emphasises the unexpected dominance of the visiting team by contrasting their present position with earlier expectations – the stative verb flags up a difference between’ appearance’ and ‘reality’
  3. there are many multi-word verbs: some are subject specific (coming in, follows through, taken … off) and others reflect the conversational nature of the tone (looking for, get back in, go down)
  4. the non-finite -ing participles focus on describing on-going action (coming in, looking for, steering, thwarting)
  5. there are a number of distinctive verbs: the semantically dramatic whips; the verb-modifier measured; the modal auxiliaries indicating prediction (won’t get, he’ll know); future time using be + going + to, here elided to gonna (colloquial pronunciation); the figurative use of counting in the proverbial not counting their chickens

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