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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

Hi perfect team,
I want to clear 2 confusions in my mind.

I saw that sentence, but I don't understand the part
'big ships stuck in the Red sea'
Big ships stuck in the Red Sea could be targets after a series of attacks

-Is it a reduced relative passive clause? Like
'Big ship which was stuck in the Red sea'
If it is passive, who/what can stuck the big ship? I am also confused about that thing.

I would be grateful if you could explain me.
Best wishes!

Hello Nevi,

I'd say it's a reduced relative clause -- a reduction of 'that are stuck'.

All the best,

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Nevi,

Sentences like this are often ambiguous. You could read it as an adjective or as a verb form which is part of a passive construction. It's really only a question of terminology; in terms of meaning it does not change the sentence at all.

If you see it as a passive, then many things could be the cause: the tide, the current, the captain's mistakes, misfortune etc. The context may make this clear or may leave it unsaid.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi team,
I am confused about one thing.

Can I use the verb 'be' after a verb
whose a pattern is like 'a verb+to do something'.

For example,
'be expected to do something'
Can I say
'The weather is expected to be cold'?
Does - to do something- include the verb -to be-?

Thanks.Best wishes

Hi Nevı,

Yes! You can use be in these patterns.

Jonathan

The LearnEnglish Team

Hm, OK teacher.
I understand

-to do something=to +any verb??

Best wishes

Hi Nevı,

Yes. When showing verb patterns, to do represents a generic verb and it can be replaced by any verb, as long as the sentence as a whole makes sense. Similarly, doing represents a generic verb in the -ing form.

I hope that helps :)

Jonathan

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi there!
I have some questions about the verb phrase.
1.In this example: 'Christina and I aren't doing our activities as we should' the verb phrase is 'are doing', isn't it?
2. Look at the following examples:
-This flat hasn't been properly cleaned for months.
- Honey has been used as a medicine for thousands of years.
I Identified the verb phrases in both examples (has been cleaned; has been used)
- Why are "cleaned" and "used" the main verbs?, how do you call them because I thought they were adjectives as "broken glass"? I don't know if I'm mistaken. Please correct me!

3. When can we find a single verb functioning as a verb phrase?

Her dogs barks.
Like this?

Thank you in advance. :-)

Hello isaipacas,

1. Yes, it's 'aren't doing'.

2. Yes, those are the verb phrases. In this case, the last word of each is the past participle in a passive verb form.

3. Yes, that is correct.

All the best,

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

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