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A verb, from the Latin verbum meaning word, is a word (part of speech) that in syntax conveys an action (bring, read, walk, run, learn), or a state of being (be, exist, stand). In the usual description of English, the basic form, with or without the particle to, is the infinitive. In most languages, verbs are inflected (modified in form) to encode tense, aspect, mood and voice. A verb may also agree with the person, gender, and/or number of some of its arguments, such as its subject, or object.



In languages where the verb is inflected, it often agrees with its primary argument (what we tend to call the subject) in person, number and/or gender. With the exception of the verb to be, English shows distinctive agreement only in the third person singular, present tense form of verbs, which, in regular verbs, is marked by adding "-s" (I walk, he walks). The rest of the persons are not distinguished in the verb (I walk, you walk, they walk, etc.).

Latin and the Romance languages inflect verbs for tense/mood/aspect and they agree in person and number (but not in gender, as for example in Polish) with the subject. Japanese, like many languages with SOV word order, inflects verbs for tense/mood/aspect as well as other categories such as negation, but shows absolutely no agreement with the subject - it is a strictly dependent-marking language. On the other hand, Basque, Georgian, and some other languages, have polypersonal agreement: the verb agrees with the subject, the direct object and even the secondary object if present, a greater degree of head-marking than is found in most European languages.

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