You remember that in English there are only four forms of each verb: the present, the present participle, the past, and the past participle. Sometimes when you see these forms in a sentence, they are not actually being used as verbs.
A verbal (or non-finite verb) is a verb form that is not being used as a verb. Verbals can act as nouns, adjectives, or adverbs. There are three types of verbals: the present participle, the past participle, and the infinitive, which is formed by putting to in front of the present tense form. (A verb being a verb is called a finite verb.)
Verb: We were walking along the midway at the carnival. Verbal:Walking along the midway at the carnival, we ate our funnel cakes. (present participle)
Verb: All that dancing tired me out. Verbal:Tired out by all that dancing, I went home and collapsed. (past participle)
Verb: We always sing the National Anthem at the ball game. Verbal: I really like to sing. (to + present = infinitive)
Practice What You've Learned
Identify the bold-faced word as verb or verbal.
Running down the roof, the water dripped onto the leaves. verb/verbal
Squawking loudly, the mockingbird chased the crow away from its nest. verb/verbal
Learning to tie your shoes is something you work on in kindergarten. verb/verbal
Please turn off the running water in the sink. verb/verbal
The woman waving the pink umbrella is our tour guide. verb/verbal
I am falling asleep. verb/verbal
The boy crying in pain has been stung by a bee. verb/verbal
Going for a walk with your dog is good exercise. verb/verbal
We are going to go skating this afternoon. verb/verbal
I forgot to do my homework last night. verb/verbal
Click on the verbal in each sentence. You may need to click on two words if the verbal is an infinitive.