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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

Thank you. Actually, I got that example in a grammar book, which also confused me. They mentioned this "quasi-passive voice" term in that book, and I searched to find some authentic information about it but I couldn't, which brought me to ask you about it. Actually, my question was: Is there any "quasi-passive voice or quasi-passive verb" term in English grammar?

Hello hasibrj,

I'm not familiar with the term 'quasi-passive'. Nor did I find it in the Wikipedia or any of my reference books, though there is some mention of it on the internet. I have no idea, but I wonder if it could refer to ergative verbs, which are verbs that can be used both transitively and intransitively.

Sorry!

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Peter M,
Hope you are doing well. Actually, I'm really confused about "Quasi-passive". For example; "The house is building", the meaning will be different if reads don't aware about it. So, When should I use this quasi-passive? Are there any specific rules to use it. If any, would you please suggest me about it. Thank you!

Hello hasibrj,

I'm afraid I don't quite understand your question. I can't think of a context in which we would say 'The house is building'. We might say 'The house is being built', which would be a normal passive form, or 'They are building the house', which is a normal active form.

There is no grammatical form termed the 'quasi-passive'. Passive voice is formed with transitive verbs by making the recipient of the action the subject of the verb. Passive voice cannot be formed from intransitive verbs.

You can read more about passive voice here.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

I read news in the newspaper this morning and then I've confusion about its grammatical.
"Photos show four police officers armed with handguns, batons, and paper spray standing around the woman, who wearing a blue headscarf and matching top while lying on the beach".
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Why does Verb-ing (standing) in the sentence not use auxiliary 'are' and Verb-ing (wearing) not use auxiliary 'is'?
Would you like to explain, please?
Thanks.

Hello Nizam Balinese,

The verb 'standing' here is not a present continuous form (which would have the auxiliary) but rather a present participle. It forms a participle phrase (also called a participle clause). You can read more about this form on this page.

The verb 'wearing', on the other hand, is a present continuous form here and it should have 'was' before it. This is simply an error in the sentence.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Sorry, highlighted not highlated.
thanks.

Ok thanks Peter.
ones again just to make sure.
"Many have highlated the hypocrisy of the ban on social media by comparing photos of woman being ordered to undress by armed police to image of a police officer measuring the length of a woman's swimsuit 1925".
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"A woman being ordered" and "Police officer measuring"
They should have the auxiliary 'was', shouldn't they?

Hello Nizam Balinese,

These are the same as the earlier example and are participles not present continuous forms. There is no need for the auxiliary.

The participles act as adjectives. They follow the noun and describe the current activity of the noun.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Yes Peter.
I'd certainly say "I understand now".
Thank you very much. :)

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