The verb phrase in English has the following forms:

1) a main verb:

 

  Verb  
We
I
Everybody
We
are
like
saw.
laughed.

here.
it
the accident
 

 


The verb may be in the present tense (are, like) or the past tense (saw, laughed). A verb phrase with only a main verb expresses simple aspect

2) an auxiliary verb ("be") and a main verb in –ing form:

 

  Auxiliary "be" Verb (-ing)
Everybody
We
is
were
watching
laughing

 

A verb phrase with "be" and –ing expresses continuous aspect.

3) an auxiliary verb ("have") and a main verb with past participle:

 

  Auxiliary "have" Verb (past participle)  
They
Everybody
He
have
has
had
enjoyed
worked
finished
themselves.
hard.
work.

 


A verb with "have" and the past participle expresses perfect aspect. A verb with have/has expresses present perfect, and a verb with had expresses past perfect.

4) an auxiliary verb ("have" + "been") and a main verb in the –ing form:

 

  Auxiliary "have" + "been" Verb (-ing)  
Everybody
He
has been
had been
working
singing
hard
 

 

A verb with "have" and "been" and the present participle expresses perfect continuous aspect. A verb with have/has expresses present perfect continuous, and a verb with had expresses past perfect continuous.

5) a modal verb (can, could, may, might, must, shall, should, will, would) and a main verb:

 

  Modal Verb Main verb
They
He
will
might
come.
come.

 

 

6) We can use modal verbs with the auxiliaries "be", "have", and "have been":

 

  Modal Auxiliary  Verb
They
He
She
will
might
must
be
have
have been
listening
arrived
listening

 

Activities

Identify the verb phrase

Identify the main verb

Identify the auxiliary verb

Identify the modal verb

Active and passive:

Transitive verbs have a passive form as well as an active form:

The hunter killed the lion. (active) <> The lion was killed by the hunter. (passive)

Someone has cleaned the windows <> The windows have been cleaned.

The passive forms are made up of the verb "be" with a past participle:

 

  "be" Past participle  
English
The windows
Lunch
The work
They
is
have been
was being
will be
might have been
spoken
cleaned
served
finished
invited

 all over the world


soon
to the part

Decide if the verbs are active or passive

 

Section: 

Comments

Hello Teacher,

In the below sentence, is Let the main verb?

"Let's go to the beach".

Thanks
Harini

Hello harini,

Yes, I would say that 'let' is the main verb here and 'go' is an infinitive form.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

I have a question about the use of was vs is. Before each commercial of a given, a local TV station will state a message that says "This program is brought to you by (name of sponsor)". But, after the program, the same message is still stated. Is that still correct? Shouldn't it be "was brought", instead? And, why do other states "is being brought"? Thanks.

Hello Marvininer,

We don't generally comment on other websites or books, including TV adverts, but here I can say that I agree with you. Really, they should say 'has been brought' or 'was brought' afterward the programme, though I suppose one could argue that since the program is shown at a regular time each week, 'is brought' is also possibly correct. 'is being brought' is a present continuous form in the passive voice.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

By the way Kirk, I meant your analysis not "your answer"

Your answer is correct Kirk. because it's another thing when you do an advert. They are keeping broadcasting for this program weekly, so, it still brought by the advertiser. I hope my reply has no errors in grammar. hhhhh

Hi teacher, I do not understand the answer in the last task

- I (had been proceeding) in an easterly direction ...

And the proper answer of "had been proceeding" is active.
Can you explain more for me, please?

Hello Enya,

'had been proceeding' is in the past perfect continuous tense. If it were a passive verb, it would be 'had been proceeded', though actually that doesn't make any sense in this context, because 'proceed' is an intransitive verb. (Intransitive verbs aren't used in the passive.)

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi Team,

from this article:
2) an auxiliary verb ("be") and a main verb in –ing form (...)
4) (...) A verb with "have" and "been" and the present participle expresses (...)

Do a main verb in -ing form and a present participle mean the same, or is there any difference?

Hello Jarek_O,

The '-ing form' of a verb and the present participle of a verb have the same form, i.e. look the same. For example, the -ing form and present participle of the verb 'go' are both 'going'.

The reason there is more than one term is that this form of a verb can be used in different ways. '-ing form' is the most general way to refer to this form. When it is used in adverbially, e.g. in a participle clause (e.g. 'Going home, she relaxed'), we call it a present participle. But when this form is used as the subject of a verb (e.g. 'Going home is not a good idea'), it's called a gerund.

I hope that clarifies it for you, but if not, please let me know.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

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