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Part 2 Grammar Skills Review

More About Verbs

As stated before, a verb is the action in the sentence. However, some verbs do not show action. Read this section to understand more about action and non-action verbs.

General Guidelines in Using Verbs

  • Every sentence must have at least one verb, and all verbs connect to subjects in sentences.
  • Verbs express time in what is called “tense.” This is shown by the form a verb takes to show the reader something about when things take place.
  • Moving the verb from one tense to another is called “conjugation.”
  • Every tense has a specific meaning, so the writer communicates something to his or her reader by using various tenses.
  • Within each paragraph, writers must be consistent in using the same tense. For example, if a student writes about a past event, all the verbs within that paragraph must be expressed in the past – not necessarily simple past tense but in those tenses that communicate past action. The meaning of the tense must be taken into account when using various tenses.

Regular Verbs in Tense

Most verbs show action and follow a pattern when moving from one tense to another. That action can be already finished, happening right now, or not yet happened. Following this pattern shows us that the verb is Regular.

Present Tense — action that is done on a regular basis, as a habit or routine. It could also mean action that is happening right at this moment.

walk in the park.

You walk in the park.

He walks in the park.

We walk in the park.

They walk in the park.

Be careful that you don’t confuse Present Tense with Present Progressive Tense, which truly is continual action that is happening right at the moment.

Ex. She is walking right now. (“Is walking” is Present Progressive.)

Please note that for Regular Verbs, the Present Tense form is the same for all subjects except for those that are singular which can be substituted with “he, she,” and “it.” In those cases, an “–s” should be on the end.

Ex. Mary (she) walks in the park.

 

Past Tense – action that is completed in the past and is finished

Mary walked in the park.

**For Regular verbs, the Past Tense is formed by adding “–ed” to the end of the Present Tense form used with “I.”

For words already ending in “–e,” just add “–d.”

Ex. dance = danced

Future Tense — action that hasn’t happened yet and will happen in the future.

Mary will walk in the park.

For Regular Verbs, Future Tense begins with the helping verb “will” and uses the form of the Present Tense form that goes with “I.”

Using the Past Participle

For the last two tenses, we use helping verbs and the Past Participle.

  • For Regular Verbs, the Past Participle is the Past Tense form of that verb.
  • For Irregular Verbs, the Past Participle is often an entirely different word.

For the Regular Verb “walk,” the Past Participle is “walked.” For the Irregular Verb “be,” the Past Participle is “been.”

NOTE: Consult the dictionary or the table on page 65 for more information about irregular verb forms.

Past Perfect Tense — action that began in the past but ended when a second past action happened

Mary had walked in the park until she broke her leg.

“Had walked” is Past Perfect Tense. Both actions are over, but one ended before the other. In the example, when she broke her leg, she stopped walking in the park.

Note that Past Perfect begins with the helping verb in the Past Tense (in this example, “had”) and uses the Past Participle (for Regular Verbs, the Past Tense form; for irregular verbs, it is usually a different word than Past Tense).

To form the Past Perfect Tense, use this formula:

Helping Verb in Past Tense form + Past Participle

Ex. Had walked

 

Present Perfect Tense:

Action that began in the past and may still be going on, or it was done at an undetermined time in the past

have walked in the park every day.

You have walked in the park every day.

He has walked in the park every day.

We have walked in the park every day.

They have walked in the park every day.

“Have” or “Has walked” is Present Perfect Tense. It’s important that you don’t use limiting words or phrases when using this tense.

It begins with the helping verb in the Present Tense (in this example, “has” or “have”) and uses the Past Participle (for Regular Verbs, the Past Tense form; for irregular verbs, usually a different word from Past Tense). Note that subjects which may be substituted with “he, she” or “it” must agree with the helping verb. For example, Mary (she) has walked.

To form the Past Perfect Tense, use this formula:

Helping Verb in Past Tense form + Past Participle

Ex. have or has walked

Exercise 2: Write the correct form of the verb “shovel” in the following:

  1. Present Tense expresses action which is happening right now or which happens continually or routinely.

I _________ snow each winter to earn money.

Larry _________ snow each winter to earn money.

b.Past Tense expresses action that has already been completed.

I _______________ snow each winter to earn money.

c.Future Tense expresses action that hasn’t happened yet.

You ________________ snow next winter to earn money.

d.Present Perfect expresses action that began in the past but hasn’t ended yet, or it may have happened at some undisclosed time in the past.

They ________________ snow every winter for five years.

Christopher _________________ snow every winter for five years.

Past Perfect expresses action that began in the past and ended when a second past action happened. Both actions are finished, but one action ended before the other.

Dad __________________ snow in the winter before he injured his back.

Helping Verbs

Helping verbs are verbs that work with main verbs as a team to create different tenses which tell us something about the action and when things take place. Helping verbs come before main verbs in sentences. In questions, they are often separated from the main verbs.

Ex. We are working on our papers. (Are is the helping verb teaming up with working to show action that is continually happening right now.)

Ex. Did you do all your homework last night? (Did is the helping verb teaming up with do. Notice they are separated from one another by you, the subject in the sentence.)

Common helping verbs are:

Has, Can, Might, Have, May, Must, Had, Should, Do, Will, Could, Does, Shall,

Would, Did

 

In addition, any form of the verb “to be” can be used as helping.

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To the extent possible under law, Cheryl McCormick, Sue Hank, and Ninna Roth have waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights to More About Verbs, except where otherwise noted.

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