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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

hi kirk

The windows have been cleaned. (this active voice & passive voice lesson)

my question is "been" always with come present perfect continuous why did not use verb+ing form for verb. can i use verb+ing form here. i am little get confuse. kindly clarify me. lots of thanks

Hi taj25,

'Been' is the third form (the past participle) of 'be' and is used in a number of forms, not only in the present perfect continuous. The form in your example is present perfect passive.

You can read more about passive voice here.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello,
Thanks a lot for all the lessons provided here on this website.It is very informative.I am learning English again!(after what I learnt in school,which I hardly remember!) Please help me to understand auxiliary verbs and modal verbs. What I have understood from the lesson is that auxiliary verbs are (is,was,were,has,have,had) and modal verbs are(can,could,may,might,must,shall,should,will,would). Are there any more auxiliary and modal verbs which I have not included in the list? If not then I will memorize these words, however,if there are more then please suggest how do we define and identify auxiliary and modal verbs.
Also,I did not understand what is ("be").
And what is a present participle?

Thanks and regards,
Mahua

Hello mahua_chakravarty,

There are three main auxiliary verbs in English ('be', 'do' and 'have'), though modal verbs are also a kind of auxiliary verb. This Cambridge Dictionary page has a detailed explanation of auxiliary verbs - be sure to scroll down to the Auxiliary verbs section - and Modal verbs are explained further down that same page.

'be' is the infinitive form of verb forms such as 'is', 'are', 'am', 'was' and 'were'. A present participle is the -ing form of a verb (e.g. 'going', 'doing', etc.) and can be used in many different ways (e.g. to form the present continuous).

I think that should answer your questions, but if not, please feel free to ask us any other short, specific questions you may have.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you Kirk.

Hi there,
What are the aspects of the 'a modal verb and a main verb' and ' a modal verb with "be", "have" and verb (-ing form of the verb)?
I mean the number 5 and 6.
Thank you

Hi Fatemeh,

I'm afraid I don't understand your question here. What do you mean by 'the aspects of'?

If you can quote the particular sentences you mean it would help. There are several tasks on the page and I don't know which numbers 5 and 6 you mean.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi Peter
I mean "modal+verb" and "modal+auxiliary+verb", do these structure make any verb phrase? If yes, explain it, please.

Hi Fatemeh Roostaei,

In point 6 of the explanation above you can see examples of modal + auxiliary + verb. Is this what you mean? If so, then you have some examples there. If not, then please provide an example sentence and we'll be happy to comment.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello,
Dear Learn English Team,
I have studied English for 5 years, but my Eng not too good.
I've just known Learn English about 2 months, but the program is really helpful to me.
Please tell me, where I can improve my vocab and my writting skill.
It's my pleasure if support team will reply my
p.s: if you reply my comment, i'll receive an email? or how could i know my comment was replied?

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