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The word Abound means to be present in large numbers or in great quantity. I was checking its usage and found it somewhat odd. Why don't they use 'be'(is, am, are, was, were) with abound. Like in these examples

  1. They live in a region where oil abounds.
  2. a city that abounds with art museums and private galleries.

What I think the sentences should be like :

  1. They live in a region where oil is abound.
  2. a city that is abound with art museums and private galleries.

These examples are from this link. Examples

Isn't the word abound similar to excessive and abundant?

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    Abound is a verb, and the definition which you quote includes the word be. Excessive and abundant are adjectives. Apr 25 '20 at 8:07
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Unlike excessive and abundant, which are adjectives, abound is an intransitive verb:

[Merriam-Webster]
intransitive verb
1 : to be present in large numbers or in great quantity : to be prevalent
// a business in which opportunities abound
// errors and inconsistencies abound
2 : to be copiously supplied —used with in or with
// life abounded in mysteries
— Norman Mailer
// institutions abound with evidence of his success
— Johns Hopkins Magazine

It is an action, not a description.


Compare it to some other intransitive verbs as a cue for the grammar:

✔ They coughed loudly.
✘ They are coughed loudly.

✔ She falls down and dies.
✘ She is falls down and dies.

✔ They live in a region where oil abounds.
✘ They live in a region where oil is abounds.

✔ [It is] a city that abounds with art museums and private galleries.
✘ [It is] a city that is abounds with art galleries and private galleries.


Having said that, even intransitive verbs can take auxiliary verbs when other tenses and verb forms are used:

✔ They are coughing loudly.
✔ She is falling down and dying.

And so:

✔ They live in a region where oil is abounding.
✔ [It is] a city that is abounding with art museums and private galleries.


Although abound might sound similar to excessive and abundant, it is not actually an adjective like them. Therefore, different rules apply.

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  • @JasonBassford..its pretty unique word. Seems like an adjective. What is the need of a verb in such a situation when we can easily use words like abundant and excessive?What is the importance of this word and in which context it is more useful? Apr 25 '20 at 8:13
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    I think the verb came first (Oxford Dictionaries says "Middle English (in the sense ‘overflow, be abundant’): from Old French abunder, from Latin abundare ‘overflow’, from ab- ‘from’ + undare ‘surge’ (from unda ‘a wave’)." Abundant comes from the verb to abound. But the verb is now rather formal and would not be much used in everyday speech. Apr 25 '20 at 8:32

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