Verbs and related categories

List of tags

BAG BE, present participle
BE BE, infinitive
BED BE, past (including past subjunctive)
BEI BE, imperative
BEN BE, perfect participle
BEP BE, present (including present subjunctive)
DAG DO, present participle
DAN DO, passive participle (verbal or adjectival)
DO DO, infinitive
DOD DO, past (including past subjunctive)
DOI DO, imperative
DON DO, perfect participle
DOP DO, present (including present subjunctive)
FOR infinitival FOR
HAG HAVE, present participle
HAN HAVE, passive participle (verbal or adjectival)
HV HAVE, infinitive
HVD HAVE, past (including past subjunctive)
HVI HAVE, imperative
HVN HAVE, perfect participle
HVP HAVE, present (including present subjunctive)
MD modal verb
MD0 modal verb, untensed
TO infinitival TO, AT, and TIL
VAG present participle
VAN passive participle (verbal or adjectival)
VB infinitive, verbs other than BE, DO, HV
VBD past (including past subjunctive)
VBI imperative
VBN perfect participle
VBP present (including present subjunctive)

Auxiliary and main verb use of BE, DO, and HAVE

The forms of the verbs BE, DO, and HAVE are distinguished from all other verbs, but no distinction is made in the tag between auxiliary and main verb uses. In the syntactically annotated (parsed) files, auxiliary forms of BE and HAVE can be distinguished from main verb forms by the presence of a participle in the clause (a perfect or passive/adjectival participle for BE, and a perfect participle for HAVE). Periphrastic DO is always accompanied by a (possibly silent) infinitive. In the POS files, however, empty categories are not added, and it is therefore important to take care to distinguish main verb use of BE, DO, and HAVE from cases of auxiliary use in which the untensed verb has been elided.

Infinitive markers (FOR, TO)

Where ambiguous in infinitival contexts between FOR and P, FOR is tagged FOR.

it_PRO is_BEP difficult_ADJ for_FOR me_PRO to_TO complete_VB the_D assignment_N

it_PRO is_BEP more_QR convenient_ADJ for_P me_PRO for_FOR you_PRO to_TO
do_DO the_D work_N

for_P me_PRO it_PRO is_BEP difficult_ADJ to_TO complete_VB the_D assignment_N

TO is used to tag any form of the infinitive marker (TO as well as the northern forms AT, TIL).

and_CONJ desyred_VBD to_TO have_HV lyen_VBN by_P her_PRO

+te_D riht_ADJ +tidir_ADV at_TO cume_VB +tai_PRO sal_MD haue_HV ,_.

Gyf_VBI +tien_PRO$ entent_N til_TO understand_VB +tis_D wrytyng_N

When TO cliticizes to FOR or to a verb, the combination receives a complex POS tag (FOR+TO, TO+HV, TO+VB).

and_CONJ fondede_VBD forto_FOR+TO slee_VB Iustinianus_NPR ._.

&_CONJ +te_D eadie_ADJ katerine_NPR bigon_VBD forte_FOR+TO seggen_VB ._.

taue_TO+HV bounde_VBN them_PRO up_RP in_P barrelles_NS

taccept_TO+VB it_PRO as_P his_PRO$ due_N


The following items can count as modals:

Modals are tagged MD when there is a reading available in which a main verb is elided. If such a reading is unavailable, then the modal is tagged as a form of VB.

therefore_ADV+P ye_PRO may_MD sey_VB what_WPRO ye_PRO woll_MD ,_.

therefore_ADV+P aske_VBI what_WPRO ye_PRO woll_VBP els_ADV ,_,

'_' I_PRO woll_VBP well_ADV ,_, '_' seyde_VBD Balan_NPR ,_, '_' that_C
ye_PRO so_ADV do_DOP ;_;
Modal or verb? DARE and NEED are tagged as modals or verbs depending on their syntactic context. When they take infinitival TO complements or occur with DO support, they are tagged as verbs. Otherwise, they are tagged as modals.
I dared/VBD to say it .			I dared/MD not say it .
I do not dare/VB (to) say it .		I dare/MD not say it .

They need/VBP to eat now .		They needed/MD not come .
They do not need/VB to come .		They need/MD not come .

Modals as main verbs. Untensed modal verbs, which are attested into Modern English (generally CAN, MOWE), are tagged MD0.

supposyng_VAG +tat_C he_PRO schuld_MD cun_MD0 best_ADVS rede_VB +te_D
booke_N ,_.

Dowtyr_N ,_, whan_P +tu_PRO art_BEP in_P Heuyn_NPR ,_, +tu_PRO xalt_MD
mown_MD0 askyn_VB what_WPRO +tu_PRO wylt_MD ,_.

They_PRO might_MD could_MD0 do_DO that_PRO ._.


Adjectival vs. verbal participles. We do not distinguish between verbal and adjectival uses of present and past participles, tagging both uses as VAG and VAN, respectively.

Some adjectival uses of participles, notably passive participles, are likely to be mistagged as ADJ.

for_CONJ he_PRO ys_BEP the_D mervaylyste_ADJS knyght_N that_C ys_BEP
now_ADV lyvynge_VAG ._.

but_CONJ traveillynge_VAG men_NS are_BEP ofte_ADV wery_ADJ

the_D blessid_VAN body_N of_P oure_PRO$ Lord_NPR Jesu_NPR Cryst_NPR

Nero_NPR and_CONJ his_PRO$ peple_NS were_BED destroyed_VAN

However, nominal uses of the present participle are tagged as N.

I_PRO was_BED but_FP late_ADJ at_P a_D justynge_N

and_CONJ she_PRO graunted_VBD hem_PRO with_P wepynge_N it_PRO shold_MD
be_BE done_DAN rychely_ADV
Present participle for infinitive. In some early texts (notably the Trinity Homilies), a present participle form is commonly used for the infinitive. In such cases the word is tagged by function (VB) rather than by form.
Alse_P ge_PRO hauen_HVP giwer_PRO$ lichame_N don_DON to_TO
hersumiende_VB fule_ADJ lustes_NS ;_, and_CONJ unriht_ADJ ,_, alse_ALSO
do+d_DOI giwer_PRO$ lichame_N he+denfor+d_ADV to_TO hersumiende_VB
clennesse_N ._, and_CONJ rihtwisnesse_N ._, and_CONJ holinesse_N ._,


Subjunctive forms are not distinguished from indicative forms in any tense.
if_P you_PRO be_BEP there_ADV

if_P you_PRO were_BED there_ADV
were_BED you_PRO to_TO come_VB
if_P they_PRO played_VBD with_P you_PRO