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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,
I would like to ask the following :
1.Is it correct to say:Now, I am enjoying the snow or I enjoy the snow?
2. Do you like watching movies?
3.Will she go to the supermarket?
Thank you in advance

Hello Nagie123,

Which form is best depends on what the purpose and context of a sentence or question is. For example, in 1, the second form is best in most situations, but there are some where 'am enjoying' could be correct.

In many situations, 2 would be fine, and 3 could also be correct in some contexts.

All the best,

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi team,
I want to ask question about using dictionary, which is more general.When I search a word(especially adj or noun) to understand their patterns, I am sometimes confused.
1)Do this patterns,which are adj.and noun, show me the only way or the most commons? Can you say how should I use the patterns?

Hi Aysn,

It's great that you're using dictionaries for learning :)

There are various dictionaries and they have differences in, for example, how they select words and patterns to include, which order they list them in, and what information about the word they include. 

Dictionaries for learners usually present only the main meanings and uses of words. If you want to see fuller information, try an 'English only' dictionary that is not specifically for learners. For example, compare the word work in the Cambridge Learners' Dictionary and the full Cambridge Dictionary. The information is quite different!

About how to use the various word patterns, I definitely recommend using a dictionary that shows multiple examples of how the word is used. The examples will show you the contexts and structures that you can use this word in. But, it's impossible to give a complete list (and people use words in new ways all the time, which dictionaries cannot catch up with), so also try to notice the word when you're reading or listening in English, and pay attention to the patterns you see/hear. Over time, you will build up this knowledge.

Does that make sense?

Jonathan

The LearnEnglish Team

Teacher, One more thing.
For instance the word 'damage'.
While I was reading, I saw the word and looked the dictionary to learn it's pattern.
I found "damage to" pattern, but I couldn't find the 'damage from' pattern which I saw while reading.
Why the dictionary doesn't show me this pattern? or A dictionary should show me all patterns? I am so confused about that.Could you explain teacher, please?

Hello Aysn,

I'm not sure any dictionary will show all possible uses of a word. Instead, they focus on the most common ones.

I checked one other dictionary, the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, which I find particularly useful for collocations; in the numerous examples on the page, there is one instance of 'damage from'.

It might be a good idea to check one or two dictionaries. I know that's a lot of work, but every time you learn something new, make a note of it somewhere so that you can revise what you've learned later on. Slowly but surely, you will really improve!

Hope this helps.

All the best,

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Sir,

If I ask someone to keep sitting or standing, do I mean for them to sit or stand again and again or do I mean for them to stay seated or standing ?

Good wishes and Happy New Year!

Hello SonuKumar,

Happy New Year to you too!

That means to stay seated or standing.

Best wishes,

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi
I would like to ask you if the following sentence is correct
I teach math. All lessons are designed to help you progress quickly.
In this case progress is a noun?
Is the sentence correct?
Thank you in advance

Hello Nagie23,

In this case, 'progress' is a bare infinitive and yes, it is grammatically correct. 'help' can be followed by an object (in this case, 'you') and then an infinitive ('progress' -- 'to progress' is also correct).

All the best,

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

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