Verb phrases in English have the following forms:

Level: beginner

  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


The verb phrase 2


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


The verb phrase 4


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.


Hello Lenka,
Ah, I see what you mean! I've fixed it. Thanks for telling us about this problem.
Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team


I have participate this program. It's great learning time!

I am phuong anh. i hope that I can improve english. I am 17 years old.

i am using all i find here in my English classes. they really work.

Why we said

(The windows have been cleaned.)

and didn't say

(The windows has been cleaned.)  ????

Hello Hany,

We say 'the windows have' because the subject ('windows') is plural and the third person plural form of 'to have' is 'they have', not 'they has'.

Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

It is great shame !!!

The verb phrase is the main verb plus the complement, object, and/or adverbial.

Does anybody from the "The LearnEnglish Team" has a proper English grammar university education?

Every section of grammar is full of misleading terms and mistakes.

Shame and if you are native English speakers.

You are wasting the UK taxpayers money.


First I would like to thank all the team for these useful courses.
I have a small question:) the adverbial 'lately' in the question number 6, is it among the adverbials of frequency?
Thanks in advance.

Dear sir,
I would ask you to help me to find the correct answer for the above exercise because the check answer button doesn't active,
Thank you in advance,