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Ory's writing notes: The Verb Part 4, Idiomatic, Active, Moods, and Agreements.

Published by OJB in the blog OJB's blog. Views: 180

Idiomatic verbs (Phrasal verbs) are made up of a verb and a preposition (I'll get into heavy preposition use later.)

I use Idiomatic verbs a lot. Why? Becuase a preposition can add motion to a verb. From my opening paragraph, 'Cockroaches crawled up and down the walls, and in and out of the air vents.' You can see the motion I've put into the opening by doing that.

There are three important notes on Idiomatic verbs.

  1. Some Idiomatic verbs are transitive and can have a noun or pronoun placed into between the verb and the preposition. ( I pushed up Tom/ I pushed Tom up.)
  2. Some Idiomatic verbs cannot have a noun or pronoun placed into between the verb and preposition. (The cockroaches crawled up the walls. /The cockroaches crawled the walls up.)
  3. Some Idiomatic verbs are intransitive; they don't need a direct object. (We will get to direct objects later)

Active vs Passive voice.

This is really easy. If the subject of the sentence is doing the action, it is active voice. If the subject of the sentence is being acted upon, it is passive voice.

I beat up the bully. (Active. I did the action)
I was beaten up by the bully. (Passive. I received the action.)

want to create a fast action scene? Use active voice.

You want to slow down the action (seduction scenes) or describe a scene? Use passive voice.

I am sure there are other uses, but that is all I got for passive vs active voice at the moment.


Moods, now this be some in-depth shit right here, are how the writer feels about the subject that is being written. Here are the six most common.

Indicative mood states, or indicates, a fact, asks a fact, or denies a fact.

Interrogate mood ask questions.

Imperative mood gives a command, begs, or advises. The subject of imperative mood is always the unstated 'you.' Also, Imperative mood uses the word 'Do'. Example: (You) do your job.

Subjunctive mood shows something hypothetical or contrary to the fact. It could be a wish, a desire, a doubt, or an imaginary situation. 'If' or 'I wish' usually start the clause (I'll get to clause later) for subjunctive mood. (For me this mood is super important. I am writing a Fantastical horror, which means a lot of it will be written in the subjunctive mood.)

Conditional mood
shows under want condition something might happen. It uses the helping verbs would, could, and might. It is often connected to a clause written in the subjunctive mood.

Infinitive mood expresses action but does not have a subject. (We will get to this in more detail when we get to the verbals.)


Verb agreements were, for the longest time, the thing that got me. The rule is really simple; In 3rd person present tense, you add an 'S' to the verb when it is singular (opposite of the noun).


The man dances. (Singular)
The couple dance. (Plural)

Notes and tricks on verb agreements.

  • If you have two subjects joined by an 'and' the verb is plural.
  • Be careful of prepositions. The verb must agree with the subject of the sentence, not the object.
  • Be careful with indefinite pronouns. (We'll get to that later in the pronoun section.)
  • Collective nouns can be tricky. Is the action being done by the group as a whole? (Singular) or a group of individuals (Plural)? Measurements and amounts work the same way.
  • Titles of works and names that end with S can be tricky as they sound plural, but really they are singular.

In conclusion, this ends my notes on the Verb. I will have one more post after this about verbs and imagery before moving onto pronouns.
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