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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 andrew international,

Yes, that is correct. Unfortunately I am a poor typist!

 


Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you for your prompt reply, sir

hello sir,
why activities appear in short box. and i face difficulty in find English grammar part. when i click at English grammar then there is no link for grammar exercise.

thank.

Hello yogesh,

We're sorry about the problems with the exercises here. We just changed to a new format earlier this week and this is one problem that we're working on. Hopefully in the next week it will be solved.

The Grammar Exercises section no longer exists, but you can find the exercises that were in it in the Quick Grammar now.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi, I'm trying to label the following sentence:
The Dutch and the Portuguese had long competed for gaining control of the Oceanic trade network of the Indian merchants.
Am I correct in saying, "had [long] compete for gaining control" is my verb phrase?

Hello ZBint,

Depending on how much detail you want to go into, you could break this down in different ways. There's a really handy sentence parser that will show you a detailed analysis.

Hope this helps!

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello,
please can you tell me how to use present perfect continuous or past perfect continuous is passive?

Hello Muaz Hanafi,

You can find information on the present perfect simple and continuous on several pages on the site, including here, here and here - and you can find others on the site by searching for 'present perfect'.

For information on passive voice look here and here.

We're happy to answer specific questions, of course, but for longer explanations you need to look a little for yourself, as it's not possible for us to write long and detailed explanations of broad grammar areas in these comments.

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Peter: Thank you very much for your answer. You explain me very clearly. Best regards.

Hello, May you explain to me, why had been proceeding is active? I think is passive because is verb to be + participle.

thank you

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