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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 mik0303
Before I answer your questions, now that I see what you are trying to understand, I realise that there are actually a couple of pages on our site that could be helpful for you. One is Determiners and quantifiers (https://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/english-grammar/determiners-and-...) and the other is quantifiers (https://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/english-grammar/quantifiers).
As for the example sentences you asked about, 'Some of the houses are burned down' is correct, though really we'd just say 'some of the houses burned down', but in any case, the verb is plural because 'some of the houses' is considered plural. 'some' means 'more than one' here.
You can also say, 'Some of the house burned down', but the meaning is different. In this case, 'some' effectively means 'a part of'. So, for example, perhaps the garage burned down, but not the kitchen.
The same is true with the sentences about the cakes or cake. The first one could mean, for example, that of the six cakes, four were eaten but two are left. The second one means that part of the cake was eaten, but there is still some left.
All the best
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello mik0303
I'll start with your questions in the order they come after the examples about the cake.
1) Yes, that's correct: 'cakes' is a plural count noun, hence the plural verb 'were'.
2) Yes, in this case, 'cake' is used as a non-count noun and this is why the verb is singular.
3) Analyses 1 and 2 are correct -- your example sentences with cake exemplify them both very well. The structure in Analysis 3 is not grammatical in English: 'some' is used to speak about an indefinite quantity (with non-count nouns) or an indefinite number greater than one (with plural count nouns); it is not used with singular count nouns.
All the best
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello mik0303
It looks as if you have a good understanding of this now, but just to confirm, yes, 'One-fourth of the house burned down' is correct.
All the best
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello,
I would like to ask if the following is correct
If there is a problem/difficult situation that we have to get over can we also say that we can pass a difficult time?
Thank you in advance

Hello agie,

You could talk about getting past this difficult time or getting through this difficult time but it would depend on the context, I think.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello,
I would like to ask which of the following is correct.
If this specific moment I am reading something and I don't understand its meaning, can we say
1. I am trying to understand it? or
2. I try to understand it?
Thank you in advance

Hello agie,

The first is correct. We rarely use the verb understand in a progressive form but we do use try, so I'm trying... is correct.

 

If you say I try... then you are talking about a general state, not your current activity.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello,
I would like to ask if the following verb is correct
When someone faces a problem and we want to show that we are sorry about it and we understand how he/she feels, can we say
I feel for you ? or what is the appropriate verb in this case?
Thank you in advance

Hello agie,

Yes, that's right. I feel for you is another way to say I feel sorry for you.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Sir,
There are many people who I dont want to see my photos.
Or should I write like this; There are many people and I want them to see my photos or There are many people who I don't want my photos to be seen by ?

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