Lesson 28: Twi Action Verbs | Twi Grammar

In our last grammar lesson, we were introduced to a very important part of speech: the verb. We got to know what verbs are; touched on action and stative verbs as the two main verb types (acknowledging helping verbs and the other verb sub-types); listed a few examples of each type. If you missed it, please click here to check it out.

Today, we are zoning in on Twi action verbs. We will repeat what action verbs are, but our main focus for this lesson will be to list more examples of Twi action verbs, using them in sentential examples. Let’s get to it.


What are Action Verbs?

To put it simply, action verbs show action. Yes, that’s it! If you need to express an action in a sentence, you need an action verb. Examples include “bisa (ask)”, “bue (open)”, “sere (laugh)”, “popa (clean)”, “soma (send)”, “bu (break)”, etc.

“So… we are done here, right?” you probably may be asking. Yes, we are. Well, almost. Let’s just look at the sub-types of action verbs there are.


Types of Action Verbs

Transitive Verbs

Transitive verbs have direct objects following them. That’s just a fancy way of saying there is always someone or something who/that receives the action of transitive verbs.

In the following set of usage examples, the transitive verbs are italicized and underlined.

1. Kofi soma Ama.

    Kofi sends Ama.

2. Si nnoɔma no.

    Wash the clothes.

3. Yaa frɛɛ Kwasi.

    Yaa called Kwasi.

4. Akumaa twaa dua no.

    Akumaa cut the tree.

5. Kwadwo kan kowaa nkrataa.

    Kwadwo reads newspapers.


Ama, nnoɔma no (the clothes), Kwasi, dua no and kowaa nkrataa are the direct objects of the verbs; they are the direct receivers of the actions of the verbs soma, si,  frɛ, twa and kan respectively.


Intransitive Verbs

In contrast with transitive verbs, intransitive verbs do not need direct objects in order for their meanings to be complete. An intransitive verb can end a sentence, or be followed by an adjective or adverb.

Some examples:

6. Yaw sereeɛ.

    Yaw laughed.

7. Amakye awu.

    Amakye has died.

8. aduru.

     They have arrived.  

9. JM, toa so.

    JM, continue.

10. Ofori suiɛ.

      Ofori cried.


NB: Quite a number of verbs can serve as both transitive and intransitive.


Action Verbs in Twi

Twi English Usage Example

na bra

go and come

bra come

bra bɛfa.

come and take.


na tɔn

buy and sell.

twa cut

twa dua no.

cut the tree.

bue open

bue pono no

open the door

soa carry

soa akonnwa no

carry the chair

ko fight

ko ma me

fight for me

kan read

kan kowaa krataa no

read the newspaper

dua plant

di na dua aba no

eat and plant the seed

su cry

su saa ara, memfii wo

keep on crying (cry on), I won’t mind you

kye fry

kye kosua no

fry the egg

dwene think

dwene wo ho

think about yourself

kyerɛ show



kyerɛ me kwan no

show me the way

kyerɛ me Twi

teach me Twi

foro climb

foro dua pa, na yɛapia wo

climb a good tree, and you’ll be pushed

nante walk

nante yie

walk well

nom drink

nom nsuo no

drink the water

di eat

di aduane no ansa na maba

eat the food before I come

frɛ call

frɛ maame no ma me

call me the woman

sensene peel

sensene ankaa no

peel the orange

da sleep

sɛ w’ani kum a, da

if you feel sleepy, sleep.

dware bath

Kofi, dware na wo ho bɔn

Kofi, bath for our body smells

tafere lick

nkraman tafere wɔn kuro

dogs lick their wound

tɔn sell

tɔn adepa

sell good stuff

gye take

gye safoa yi

take this key

ka bite

ntontom ka nnipa daa

mosquitoes bite people every day


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