The verb phrase in English has the following forms:

1) a main verb:

 

  Verb  
We
I
Everybody
We
are
like
saw.
laughed.

here.
it
the accident
 

 


The verb may be in the present tense (are, like) or the past tense (saw, laughed). A verb phrase with only a main verb expresses simple aspect

2) an auxiliary verb ("be") and a main verb in –ing form:

 

  Auxiliary "be" Verb (-ing)
Everybody
We
is
were
watching
laughing

 

A verb phrase with "be" and –ing expresses continuous aspect.

3) an auxiliary verb ("have") and a main verb with past participle:

 

  Auxiliary "have" Verb (past participle)  
They
Everybody
He
have
has
had
enjoyed
worked
finished
themselves.
hard.
work.

 


A verb 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.

4) an auxiliary verb ("have" + "been") and a main verb in the –ing form:

 

  Auxiliary "have" + "been" Verb (-ing)  
Everybody
He
has been
had been
working
singing
hard
 

 

A verb with "have" and "been" and the present participle expresses perfect continuous aspect. A verb with have/has expresses present perfect continuous, and a verb with had expresses past perfect continuous.

5) a modal verb (can, could, may, might, must, shall, should, will, would) and a main verb:

 

  Modal Verb Main verb
They
He
will
might
come.
come.

 

 

6) We can use modal verbs with the auxiliaries "be", "have", and "have been":

 

  Modal Auxiliary  Verb
They
He
She
will
might
must
be
have
have been
listening
arrived
listening

 

Activities

Identify the verb phrase

Identify the main verb

Identify the auxiliary verb

Identify the modal verb

Active and passive:

Transitive verbs have a passive form as well as an active form:

The hunter killed the lion. (active) <> The lion was killed by the hunter. (passive)

Someone has cleaned the windows <> The windows have been cleaned.

The passive forms are made up of the verb "be" with a past participle:

 

  "be" Past participle  
English
The windows
Lunch
The work
They
is
have been
was being
will be
might have been
spoken
cleaned
served
finished
invited

 all over the world


soon
to the part

Decide if the verbs are active or passive

 

Section: 

Comments

Hi teacher, I do not understand the answer in the last task

- I (had been proceeding) in an easterly direction ...

And the proper answer of "had been proceeding" is active.
Can you explain more for me, please?

Hello Enya,

'had been proceeding' is in the past perfect continuous tense. If it were a passive verb, it would be 'had been proceeded', though actually that doesn't make any sense in this context, because 'proceed' is an intransitive verb. (Intransitive verbs aren't used in the passive.)

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi Team,

from this article:
2) an auxiliary verb ("be") and a main verb in –ing form (...)
4) (...) A verb with "have" and "been" and the present participle expresses (...)

Do a main verb in -ing form and a present participle mean the same, or is there any difference?

Hello Jarek_O,

The '-ing form' of a verb and the present participle of a verb have the same form, i.e. look the same. For example, the -ing form and present participle of the verb 'go' are both 'going'.

The reason there is more than one term is that this form of a verb can be used in different ways. '-ing form' is the most general way to refer to this form. When it is used in adverbially, e.g. in a participle clause (e.g. 'Going home, she relaxed'), we call it a present participle. But when this form is used as the subject of a verb (e.g. 'Going home is not a good idea'), it's called a gerund.

I hope that clarifies it for you, but if not, please let me know.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you Kirk, your explanation is very good.

hi kirk

The windows have been cleaned. (this active voice & passive voice lesson)

my question is "been" always with come present perfect continuous why did not use verb+ing form for verb. can i use verb+ing form here. i am little get confuse. kindly clarify me. lots of thanks

Hi taj25,

'Been' is the third form (the past participle) of 'be' and is used in a number of forms, not only in the present perfect continuous. The form in your example is present perfect passive.

You can read more about passive voice here.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello,
Thanks a lot for all the lessons provided here on this website.It is very informative.I am learning English again!(after what I learnt in school,which I hardly remember!) Please help me to understand auxiliary verbs and modal verbs. What I have understood from the lesson is that auxiliary verbs are (is,was,were,has,have,had) and modal verbs are(can,could,may,might,must,shall,should,will,would). Are there any more auxiliary and modal verbs which I have not included in the list? If not then I will memorize these words, however,if there are more then please suggest how do we define and identify auxiliary and modal verbs.
Also,I did not understand what is ("be").
And what is a present participle?

Thanks and regards,
Mahua

Hello mahua_chakravarty,

There are three main auxiliary verbs in English ('be', 'do' and 'have'), though modal verbs are also a kind of auxiliary verb. This Cambridge Dictionary page has a detailed explanation of auxiliary verbs - be sure to scroll down to the Auxiliary verbs section - and Modal verbs are explained further down that same page.

'be' is the infinitive form of verb forms such as 'is', 'are', 'am', 'was' and 'were'. A present participle is the -ing form of a verb (e.g. 'going', 'doing', etc.) and can be used in many different ways (e.g. to form the present continuous).

I think that should answer your questions, but if not, please feel free to ask us any other short, specific questions you may have.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you Kirk.

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