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Verb phrases

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 are correct
1.Which verb do we use after an online interview?
It was lovely to meeting you or it was lovely talking to you.
2.Is it to.. meeting/talking to you or
Meeting/talking you?
Thank you in advance

Hello,
I would like to ask the following
Future arrangements present simple and present continuous
1.The train leaves at 8 o clock. This is clear, it is present simple but sometimes to me is not clear for example
I am meeting Paul at eight
But what about future arrangements? What is the difference between the two tenses?
Thank you in advance

Hello,
I would like to ask which of the following is correct
1.Thank you for letting me know or
2. Thank you for letting me to know?
Thank you in advance

Hello agie

You can find the answer to this in the 'make' and 'let' section of this Verbs page.

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you for your reply. I suppose thank you for letting me know.
However letting is ok?
Thank you in advance

Hello agie

Yes, 'thank you for letting me know' is the correct form. There's no way of making the phrase shorter other than 'thank you', i.e. 'thank you for letting' is not used. It's either 'thank you' or 'thank you (or 'thanks') for letting me know'.

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

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

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