The verb phrase in English has the following forms:

Main verb

A 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).

Be and -ing

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.

Have and past participle

The auxiliary verb have and a main verb in the past participle form:

  Auxiliary "have" Verb (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.

Modal verb

A 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.

See Verb phrases (intermediate).

Basic level

Comments

Hi, Is there any book available which will cover all the topic posted here in this website. Kindly advice.

Hi Tanvir,

There are many good grammar books on the market which cover much the same language areas as our site, or even more. However, the British Council does not recommend particular books or publishers – we need to be neutral in such matters.

My advice would be to look at a range of grammar books, choosing one or two grammar areas  (say, articles and relative clauses) and comparing their entries to see which you prefer. It's often not the case that the information is better or worse in any particular book, but more that the way it is presented is more or less helpful for a particular person, so it's a good idea to compare them in this way. Pay attention too to what other components are included. Many grammar books include CDs or online material, for example.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Sir
Please let me know whether these sentences are correct.
Either your sister or brothers have come.
Either your sister or brothers has come.
Thank you
Regards
Lal

Hello Lal,

The verb should agree with the last noun in the list. The last noun here is 'brothers' so a plural verb ('have') is needed.


Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Sir
Thank you very much for your reply on 3.Augest regarding 'books'
Now I have another question. e.g. I am introducing one of my friends to another
friend of mine. the first one studied with me. So which is correct? He is my classmate or he was my classmate. Are both correct? Or only one then which one.
Please let me know.
Thank you.
Regards
Lal

Hi Lal,

This depends on whether you still go to class together. If you still go to class together, 'is' would be better. If not, 'was'.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Sir
I am sorry I could not ask you clearly the question regarding the 'school library.I am asking the same in a different way. 'The school has a library and it
has many books which have been written by famous authors.' My question is regarding the last sentence enclosed in inverted commas. Some of the authors are dead but not all. I have used the present tense. (present perfect) Is it all right to use the present tense?
Thank you.
Regards
Lal

Hello Lal,

You could use the present perfect (have been written) or the past simple (were written) in that sentence. Both are correct. There is a present result of the writing (the books), but the action (the writing) was performed in a finished time period. It is up to the speaker how they see the action and therefore which form they choose.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Sir
Please help me to clarify this. The school has a library and it has many books written by famous authers. I am using present perfect but some of the authers are no more but not all.
In this situation what is the tense I should use.
Thank you.
Regards
Lal

Hello Lal,

Could you please give us the specific sentence you're asking about? If you mean the sentence that you mention, it doesn't use the present perfect, it has the verb 'have' and the noun phrase 'many books written by famous authors'; this noun phrase is the object of the verb 'have'.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

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