Level: beginner

Verbs in English have four basic parts:

 Base form   -ing form    Past tense   Past participle 
work working worked worked
play playing played played
listen listening listened listened

Most verbs are regular: they have a past tense and past participle with –ed (worked, played, listened). But many of the most frequent verbs are irregular.

Level: beginner

Basic parts

Verbs in English have four basic parts:

 Base form   -ing form    Past tense   Past participle 
work working worked worked
play playing played played
listen listening listened listened

Most verbs are regular: they have a past tense and past participle with –ed (worked, played, listened). But many of the most frequent verbs are irregular.

Verb phrases

Verb phrases in English have the following forms:

  1. main verb:
  main verb  
We are here.
I like it.
Everybody saw the accident.
We laughed.  

The verb can be in the present tense (are, like) or the past tense (saw, laughed).

  1. the auxiliary verb be and a main verb in the –ing form:
  auxiliary be -ing form
Everybody is watching.
We were laughing.

A verb phrase with be and –ing expresses continuous aspect. A verb with am/is/are expresses present continuous and a verb with was/were expresses past continuous.

  1. the auxiliary verb have and a main verb in the past participle form:
  auxiliary have past participle  
They have enjoyed themselves.
Everybody has worked hard.
He had finished work.

A verb phrase 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.

  1. modal verb (can, could, may, might, must, shall, should, will, would) and a main verb:
  modal verb main verb
They will come.
He might come.
The verb phrase 1

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The verb phrase 2

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Level: intermediate

  1. the auxiliary verbs have and been and a main verb in the –ing form:
  auxiliary have been -ing form  
Everybody has been working hard.
He had been singing.  

A verb phrase with have been and the -ing form expresses both perfect aspect and continuous aspect. A verb with have/has expresses present perfect continuous and a verb with had expresses past perfect continuous.

  1. a modal verb and the auxiliaries be, have and have been:
  modal auxiliary verb
They will be listening.
He might have arrived.
She must have been listening.
  1. the auxiliary verb be and a main verb in the past participle form:
  auxiliary be past participle  
English is spoken all over the world.
The windows have been cleaned.  
Lunch was being served.  
The work will be finished soon.
They might have been invited to the party.

A verb phrase with be and the past participle expresses passive voice.

The verb phrase 3

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The verb phrase 4

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Level: advanced

We can use the auxiliaries do and did with the infinitive for emphasis:

It was a wonderful party. I did enjoy it.
I do agree with you. I think you are absolutely right.

We can also use do for polite invitations:

Do come and see us some time.
There will be lots of people there. Do bring your friends.

Comments

Hello,
I would like to ask which of the following is correct.
1.I met him/her 2 years ago. We have become best friends since then OR
2. We became friends two years ago
Thank you in advance

Hello agie,

Both are possible. If you use became then you are telling us about an event which happened two years in the past.

If you use have become then you are telling us about a process which developed from a point in the past up to the present, resulting in a present situation.

The choice really depends on what the speaker chooses to emphasise.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello,
I would like to ask which of the following is correct
When someone is a student at a university, in the first or second year(4 year duration) then we say
1.He studies at the university Or
2.He is studying at the university?
Thank you in advance

Hello agie

The second one is correct.

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello,

I have a doubt about how to work with:
"use to" or use for" referring to what an object usage or utility.

Is it right to say:
What is this used for?
It is used to power cellphones.

Thanks in advance.

Hello ngrl

Both of your sentences are correct and natural. You could say 'used to power' or 'used for powering' and they have the same meaning.

In questions where we don't know what something is used for, i.e. when there is no object after 'used to' or 'used for', however, we normally only say 'used for' -- I think is because saying 'used to' without an object after it can be confusing, since it also has other meanings.

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Dear sir,
I had a test at school yesterday and It had one question like this:
"Receiving the federal grant money last month……..…….us to invest in upgrading a few areas of our building.
A.did allow
B.has allowed
C.allows
D.are allowing
And I chose A because of the word "last month" and I learned from you guys that auxiliari verb can use to emphasis. But the teacher said that I was wrong T.T because "auxiliari verb+Vbare" just used in spoken English, not in writing. And C must be the correct answer.
So my question is: Can "auxiliari verb+Vbare" be used in writing too?
Thankyou so much.
I'm looking forward to hearing from you.

Hello Quynh Nhu

It's true that the verb form in A is more common in speaking than writing, but both A and B are grammatically correct -- which one is better depends on a context which we don't really know if this is an isolated statement.

A could be used to contradict what another person just said, for example, and B could correct if you're speaking about something you perceive as being connected with the moment of speaking, for example something that happened just this week.

C would be pretty unusual, as the present simple doesn't work in any context I can think of, though perhaps I'm just not thinking of one. D is definitely wrong because 'are' is plural and the subject is singular.

Hope this helps.

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Thankyou so much Mr Kirk,
Now I understand. This sentence is actually from an email informing about a renovation in a company. The renovation will start next week so I think B is more suitable because it refers to the upcomming event. Can you tell me whether I am right or not?
Best regard.

Hello Quynh Nhu

Yes, that makes sense. Good work!

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

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