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Characterisation and classification

Afrikaans verbs have to be divided into main and non-main verbs. Barring a few exceptions, every clause has to have a main verb, which encodes the event or relationship represented in the clause. The main verbs are divided into lexical main verbs and copular verbs.

Non-main verbs add additional information about the main event, which may pertain to temporal grounding, and/or aspectual and modal modification of the representation encoded by the main verb. The non-main verbs are divided in auxiliary verbs of tense and passive voice, modal auxiliaries, and a group conventionally called linking verbs (from the Afrikaans term "skakelwerkwoord").

The basic semantic, morphological and syntactic characteristics of Afrikaans main verbs are presented in broad strokes in the separate subsections, followed by a section presenting a more detailed overview of the syntactic complementation patterns in the verb phrase. This is followed by a more detailed morphological description of the inflection and derivation of verbs, followed by an overview of grammatical constructions encoding mood, tense, modality and aspect. These grammatical constructions combine morphological and syntactic means to encode different meanings that are specific to verb usage.


The overview description of Afrikaans verbs and verb phrases is presented in the following subsections:

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