If verbs are words that "express a state of being, or is an action", then why aren't emotions like "sad" a verb as it expresses a state of being?

Do you know that 'sadden' is a verb? Learner's definition of SADDENhttp://www.learnersdictionary.com/definition/sadden1 [+ object] : to cause (someone) to be sad
  • It saddens me that we could not agree.
  • We were saddened to see how ill she looks.
  • She was saddened over/by the death of her friend.
2 [no object] : to become sad : to show sadness
  • Her face/eyes saddened when she heard the news.

Because "sad" is an adjective. It describes a noun (a person or animal).

The verbs that can be used to attribute "sad" to the subject are classified as "state-of-being" verbs. They do not express an action. For example:

Julian feels sad.
Julian becomes sad when his mother leaves him to go to work and he remains sad until she comes home.
Julian appears sad sometimes when he's not.
Julian looks sad today.

"Sad" is not a verb. We do not say

X Julian sads.

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Julian Ng-Thow-HingIf verbs are words that "express a state of being, or is an action"

These are only approximate descriptions of what verbs are, to give beginners a very general idea about them. They should not be taken as strict definitions of verbs.

There are many other characteristics of verbs and of other lexical categories which are presented later in the study of language, and these are much more important in identifying what lexical category a word belongs to.

Julian Ng-Thow-Hingwhy aren't emotions like "sad" a verb as it expresses a state of being?

"sad" can't be a verb because it doesn't change its form the way verbs do. If "sad" were a verb, we would see forms like "to sad", " is sadding", "sads", and "has sadded". These forms do not exist in the English language, so it doesn't make sense to call "sad" a verb.

However, "sad", "sadder", and "saddest" do exist in the English language, and those are known as the forms of an adjective. So it makes much more sense to say that "sad" is an adjective.

In brief, the changes of form (inflections) which exist for a given word are far more important for determining what kind of word it is (verb, adjective, noun, etc.) than any vague description that might be used in a general introductory overview.


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