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 Ilham,
Yes, that is correct for most affirmative (i.e., not negative) declarative (i.e., not questions) sentences . When a question is asked, or the verb is negative, however, the order can change.
I would encourage you to refer to the patterns that are in the charts above. They are not as comprehensive as the patterns you have read about, but I think they may represent the variety of English verb forms a bit better.
Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi Editor,
At third exercise for auxiliary verb, the correct answer of sixth question is "has", shouldn't "has"and "been" are all auxiliary verbs.
Thank you and thanks for your very good English learning site.

Hi mahaorui,

You are right: in that sentence, has been is the auxiliary verb. I have changed the answer in the exercises so that it is correct now.

Thanks very much for pointing out this mistake to us. Your and other users' collaboration really help us make LearnEnglish a better site!

Best wishes,

Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

 

Hi Editor.
Can i say that the passive voice is more like a reported speech?

please kindly explain it once more...
Thanks

Hi Ogewrites,

The passive voice and reported speech are two different features of language. Please take a look at the explanation of the passive voice on our active and passive voice page. If it's still unclear after that, please ask your question again on that page and we'll explain the difference a bit more. If you do that, please explain how you see the two as being the same - that will help us better answer your question.

Best wishes,

Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello and Happy New Year dear Team,
My question is about the third line of the last paragraph it says "was open" in that case,  is it right to write "was opened" ? I thought that  it was the correct verbal form.
Best regards, Olena
 

Hello ONavas,

Both of these forms are correct, but the meaning is different.  If we say 'was opened' then we mean 'someone opened it'; if we say 'was open' then we mean 'not closed' (i.e. perhaps someone opened it, perhaps it opened itself, perhaps it was never closed...).  In grammatical terms, the first version is a passive form, with the past participle 'opened', while the second form is with the adjective 'open'.

I hope that clarifies it for you.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

hi there thanx very very much about this site for learning English ?

thank you a lot of.

In the exercise for Active Passive section, "had been proceeding" is mentioned as "Active", shouldnt it be passive? Again "had been smashed", "had been broken" are mentioned as "Passive." I am unable to understand the difference. Can you please clarify my doubts?

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