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Verb phrases

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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

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.

Marvinner the used tense for the TV ad is correct. the differnce between the present continuous and the present simple is that the present simple is used to give pure information valid at the time of speaking. it is an objective information. For example. when someone is alive. we say " HE LIVES IN LONDON" but once he is dead, we no longer say HE LIVES IN LONDON but HE LIVED IN LONDON because the relation between HE and LIVE IN LONDON is no longer valid. whereas the present continuous is used to explicit to justify, to comment on a fact. it is a sujective information located with respect to the speaker. he is is the only one who can guarrantee the truth of his utterance. the present continuous is always used to make clear a hidden reason. For example: "I am dying" only the speaker can tell you the reason why he says it. so when I say " this program is brought to you by...........", here I am just giving pure information. what I am saying is true at the very moment I say it, for without that sponsor you wouldn't be watching that TV program at that time and that the name of the sponsor is written on the TV screen. The ad uses the same message at the end because the information it states is still valid at that time. using the present continuous would mean explaining or justifying something that is not clear in the mind of your audience.

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

Thank you Kirk, your explanation is very good.

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