Verb Tense and Structure

To master spoken and written English, you will have to be able to recognize that the verb is the power behind the sentence, by being able to recognize what the verb is and how it is being used.

Determining whether the verb indicates an action or a state of being is easier with a clear understanding of verb tense and structure.

The below verb forms will help you understand how tenses are formed to indicate the different timing of the action or state of being:-

 

Present Infinitive

Present Tense

Past Tense

Past Participle

Present Participle

(add -ing)

Present Tense (3rd Person – singular)

Regular

to play

to work

to close

to dance

to pluck

play

work

close

dance

pluck

played

worked

closed

danced

plucked

played

worked

closed

danced

plucked

playing

working

closing

dancing

plucking

plays

works

closes

dances

plucks

 

Irregular

(to) be

be

was, were

been

being

am, are, is

(to) do

(to) have

do

have

did

had

done

had

doing

having

does

has

to bite

to choose

to cut

to drink

to eat

to forget

to grow

to ride

to shake

to weave

bite

choose

cut

drink

eat

forget

grow

ride

shake

weave

bit

chose

cut

drank

ate

forgot

grew

rode

shook

wove

bitten

chosen

cut

drunk

eaten

forgotten

grown

ridden

shaken

woven

biting

choosing

cutting

drinking

eating

forgetting

growing

ridding

shaking

weaving

bites

chooses

cuts

drinks

eats

forgets

grows

rides

shakes

weaves

The tense of a verb indicates the relative time of the action or state of being. Even though you may not remember whether a sentence is in what tense but to master good English you will have to ensure your sentences are in the right tense and structure. The verb forms used must always syncronise with the timing and the subject matter. For example:

  • Mary is working hard now
  • Mary & John are working hard now

Note the difference in plural and singular verb form used, “is” and ‘are” syncronise with the subject “Mary” (singular) and “Mary & John” (plural).

  • I love to drink my soup from the bowl
  • She likes to sing while taking a shower.

“love” syncronise with the subject “I” while “likes” syncronise with the subject “she”. If you change the subject of the first sentence from “I” to “he” then you must change the verb “love” to “loves”.