VERB CLASSIFICATION AND FORMS

This is the explanation that accopanies Unit 1 about Simple Present and Present Progressive.

English verbs can be classified as follows.

TO BE (as
main verb)
am, is, are, was, were.
MODALS can, could, may, might, would, should, must, had
better, ought to,
AUXILIARIES – do, does, did- TO BE (am, is, are, was, were) + gerund/past
participle- have, has, had + past participle- will + base form
COMMON VERBS have (own), live, like, work, speak…

EXAMPLES:

TO BE

a. Karen is happy in Colombia.

b. Her brothers are very jealous.

c. She was my boss.

AUXILIARIES

a. Do you know Martin?

b. My parents don’t speak English.

c. They didn’t see the sign.

d. We are listening.

e. Is Carlos waiting?

f. She was sleeping.

g. My cousins were staying in my house last
week.

h. They have eaten sushi many times.

i. Lucia has lived here since last year.

j. Juan had finished before ten o’clock.

k. We will talk about this later. / She
won’t come tomorrow.

l. English is spoken around the world.

m. My book was
stolen.

MODAL VERBS

a. My sister can dance zamba.

b. The quiz would be next week.

c. You had better not cry.

d. Jim and Lou have to go home.

e. The girl has to
study.

COMMON VERBS

a. We have class twice a week.

b. She has a dog and a cat.

c. Catherine speaks three languages.

d. She worked in Portales.

e. She didn’t know
the answer.

In English, common verbs (that is the majority of verbs which are not
the verb TO BE or MODALS) have forms. There are five of them.

BASE

BASE + S

GERUND

PAST

PAST PARTICIPLE

LIVE

LIVES

LIVING

LIVED

LIVED1

TAKE

TAKES

TAKING

TOOK

TAKEN3

FIGHT

FIGHTS

FIGHTING

FOUGHT

FOUGHT2

HAVE

HAS

HAVING

HAD

HAD2

GO

GOES

GOING

WENT

GONE3

1.
Regular verbs have the same spelling in both the past and the past participle.

2.
Many irregular verbs also have the same spelling in both the past and the past
participle.

3.
Some irregular verbs are spelled differently in past or past participle.

The verb TO BE, doesn’t have a base + s form. Instead, it has a special spelling which is called inflection, and that is in present.

BASE

PRESENT

GERUND

PAST

PAST PARTICIPLE

BE

AM

IS

ARE

BEING

WAS

WERE

BEEN

The base form of common verbs is NOT in present. It can be
used in SIMPLE PRESENT, but also in SIMPLE PAST and after modal verbs.

Examples:

My friend

didn’t

live

in USA.

auxiliary verb

main verb (base form)

(in this example, “live” is in the base form, but the sentence is in SIMPLE PAST!)

Juan

can

speak

English and French.

modal verb

main verb (base form)

(in this example, the sentence is in simple present because “can” is
in present.)

My father

could

swim

1 kilometer at the age
of 20.

modal verb

main verb (base form)

(in this example, the sentence is in simple past because “could” is
in past.)

  • The Simple Present uses the base  and the base + s forms of common verbs.

Examples:

Josh and Mike

work

in a very important company.

Base form

.

Lucia

speaks

five languages.

Base + s form

  • It also uses two auxiliaries do
    and does whose negative forms are don’t and doesn’t.
Robert doesn’t speak French.
auxiliary main verb (base)

.

The neighbors don’t like my dog.
auxiliary main verb (base)

.

Where

do

I

get

my visa?

auxiliary

main verb (base)

.

Does

she

like

your dress?

auxiliary

main verb (base)

You know that all of the sentences
above are in Simple Present because of the AUXILIARIES (do, does, don’t,
doesn’t), not because of the main
verbs
.

  • Simple Present also uses the
    verb TO BE, only if the verb TO BE is
    the main verb
    .

Examples:

The owners

are

very happy with their house.

main verb

.

I

am

one of the teachers.

main verb

.

Carlos

is

the captain of the ship.

main verb

 

Leave a comment

2 Comments

  1. agostina

     /  August 26, 2015

    What about the semantic roles of the verb phrase, aspect, mood?

    Reply

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