Solved: What is the Main Verb in the Sentence “Good Manners Have Their Origin in Ancient History”?

Question: What is the Main Verb in the Sentence “Good Manners Have Their Origin in Ancient History”?


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The main verb in the sentence “Good manners have their origin in ancient history” is “have.”

In the vast realm of grammar and language, identifying the main verb in a sentence is a fundamental skill. Understanding the main verb allows us to grasp the core action or state being described in a sentence. Today, we will dissect the sentence, “Good manners have their origin in ancient history,” and unveil the main verb that lies within. Join us on this linguistic journey as we explore the intricacies of sentence structure.

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Understanding the Sentence:

Before we dive into identifying the main verb, let’s break down the sentence into its components:

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“Good manners” – Subject “have” – Verb “their” – Possessive pronoun “origin” – Noun “in” – Preposition “ancient history” – Prepositional phrase

The Main Verb Hunt: In our quest to find the main verb, we must remember that the main verb is the word that expresses the action or state of being in the sentence. In this case, we encounter the word “have.” However, identifying the main verb can sometimes be tricky, as certain verbs function differently in different contexts.

Understanding “Have” as the Main Verb:

In the sentence, “Good manners have their origin in ancient history,” the word “have” serves as the main verb. But how does it function in this sentence?

  1. Action of Possession: In this context, “have” is used to indicate possession. It tells us that “good manners” possess or own something, which is their “origin in ancient history.” So, “have” here conveys the idea that good manners possess or are connected to their historical origin.
  2. Auxiliary Verb: In English, “have” can also function as an auxiliary (helping) verb. In this capacity, it is used to form perfect verb tenses. However, in our sentence, it is not functioning as an auxiliary verb but as the primary verb conveying possession.
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Sentence Analysis:

Now that we’ve identified “have” as the main verb, let’s analyse the sentence further:

“Good manners have their origin in ancient history.”

  • Subject (“Good manners”): This is the doer of the action.
  • Main Verb (“have”): This is the action itself, indicating possession.
  • Object (“their origin in ancient history”): This is what is possessed – the origin of good manners.

Implications of the Sentence:

Understanding that “have” is the main verb in this sentence helps us realize that it is conveying the idea that the origin of good manners is rooted in ancient history. This insight enriches our understanding of the sentence and its message.

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Additional Resources for South African Learners

  1. Khan Academy Grammar Courses: Khan Academy offers free grammar courses, including lessons on sentence structure and verb identification.
  2. Grammarly Blog: Grammarly’s blog is a valuable resource for grammar tips and explanations, including in-depth articles on sentence structure.
  3. Purdue OWL – Sentence Structure: The Purdue OWL provides comprehensive guides on various aspects of English grammar, including sentence structure.
  4. Oxford Online English – Verbs: Oxford Online English offers video lessons and tutorials on English verbs, which can be particularly helpful for South African students.

Common Verb Types and Their Importance

Before we conclude, let’s briefly explore some common types of verbs and their significance in constructing meaningful sentences.

  1. Action Verbs: As we saw in the example, “She dances gracefully,” action verbs convey a sense of movement or activity. These verbs drive the action in a sentence, helping to paint a vivid picture. Learning to recognise action verbs can make your writing more dynamic.
  2. Linking Verbs: Linking verbs, such as “is,” “am,” “are,” “was,” “were,” connect the subject to the subject complement, which can be a noun or an adjective. For instance, in the sentence “He is a doctor,” “is” links the subject “He” to the subject complement “a doctor.” Understanding linking verbs is essential for describing states of being and conditions.
  3. Modal Verbs: Modal verbs like “can,” “may,” “must,” “shall,” and “will” express necessity, ability, permission, or likelihood. They add nuances to a sentence, indicating the speaker’s attitude or the likelihood of an action occurring. Modal verbs are crucial for understanding nuances in communication.
  4. Transitive and Intransitive Verbs: Transitive verbs require a direct object to complete their meaning, as in “She ate dinner.” In this case, “ate” is a transitive verb, and “dinner” is the direct object. Intransitive verbs, on the other hand, do not require a direct object, as in “She laughed.” Understanding these distinctions helps you identify what the verb is doing in a sentence.

Practical Exercises

To reinforce your knowledge of verbs and sentence structure, here are a few practical exercises:

Exercise 1: Write three sentences, each containing a different type of verb – action verb, linking verb, and modal verb.

Exercise 2: Take a paragraph from a book or a news article and identify the main verbs in each sentence. Try to determine whether they are action verbs, linking verbs, or modal verbs. This exercise will help you apply your knowledge in real-world contexts.


In conclusion, identifying the main verb in the sentence “Good manners have their origin in ancient history” has led us to explore the significance of good manners in the South African context. Beyond grammar and language, good manners are a powerful tool for fostering respect, understanding, and unity within this diverse and vibrant nation.

As you continue your learning journey, remember that good manners are not only a reflection of your character but also a bridge to connect with people from all walks of life. Embrace the values of courtesy and respect, and you will contribute to creating a more harmonious and inclusive society in South Africa.

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