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Verbs and Tenses

In: IELTS By: Pradipto Chatterjee

Verbs are words that are used to describe an action, state, or occurrence, and forms the main part of the predicate of a sentence; e.g. hear, run, walk etc.. A verb used in forming the tenses and voices of other verbs is called an auxiliary verb or helping verb. The primary auxiliary verbs in English are be, have and do. Tenseis a form of a verb used to indicate the time, and sometimes the completeness, of an action in relation to the time of speaking. Students, especially those who have done their education from vernacular medium, find verbs and tenses unwieldy.

 

Forms of verbs
Since verbs indicate time, we have a present form and past form of verbs. But we don’t have a future form. To express something in future we use ‘will’ or ‘going to’ or ‘about to’. There is a past participle form of verb which indicates a completed action, but do not tell us when the action has been completed. Past participles are used for all perfect tense forms of a verb and in the passive voice in English. For regular verbs, we normally add ED to form its past participle. Unfortunately for irregular verbs there are no rules.

 

1. Present Tense

They haven't finished her work yet.

I still haven't found my books.

 

2. Past perfect

Ram was ill because he had eaten too much chocolate.

She missed the bus because she hadn't left her house on time.

 

3. Future perfect

Harish will have been in USA for one year in December.

He will have gone by the time you arrive.

 

4. Passive Voice

The east coast of India was struck by torrential rain last night.

The car was stolen in the middle of the night.

 

The present Participle of most verbs has the form infinitive + ing. Some of its uses are :

(a) As the continuous form of the verb
·         I am reading a k
·         He was eating an apple

(b) As an adjective
·         It was an amazing book.
·         Some cars can go as fast as 500kmph

 

Some Verbs

Infinitive

 

Simple Present

Simple Past

Past Participle

Present Participle

To BE

Singular

1st person

Am

Was

Been

Being

3rd person

Is

Plural

Are

Were

To Have

 

Has

Had

Had

Having

Have

To Do

 

Do, Does

Did

Done

Doing

To Walk

 

Walk (s)

Walked

Walked

Walking

To Swim

 

Swim (s)

Swam

Swum

Swimming

To Sing

 

Sing (s)

Sang

Sung

Singing

To Cut

 

Cut (s)

Cut

Cut

Cutting

To Come

 

Come (s)

Came

Come

Coming

To Eat

 

Eat (s)

Ate

Eaten

Eating

To Drink

 

Drink (s)

Drank

Drunk

Drinking

To Sleep

 

Sleep 9s)

Slept

Slept

Sleeping


Confusions in tenses
It is important not to confuse the name of a verb tense with the way we use it to talk about time.
For example, a present tense does not always refer to present time:

  • I hope it snows tomorrow. "snows" is present simple, but it refers here to future time (tomorrow)

Or a past tense does not always refer to past time: If I had some money now, I could buy a mobile.

  • "had" is past simple but it refers here to present time (now)

Difference between Simple Past & Past Perfect
The 'simple past' relates to a finished task  in the past.

 

e.g.  
Yesterday I ate three mangoes.
The 'past perfect' form (had + past participle) is used when there are two events in the past, one of which occurred before the other.

 

e.g.  
1. The train had already left when I reached the station
2. I had just put the washing out when it started to rain

Difference between Simple Past and Present Perfect
1.   Simple Past is used for past events or actions which has no connection to the present.
2.   Present Perfect Tense is used for actions which started in the past and are still happening now or for finished actions which have a connection to the present.

3.    

 Present Perfect

 Simple Past

 I have seen three movies this week

 I saw three movies last week

 I have known Mahesh for five years. (and I still know  him)

 I knew Mahesh for five years. (but then he moved away  and we lost touch)

 Ram crashed his car again

 Ram crashed his car last year.

4.   We cannot use the present perfect with a word indicating finished time. e.g. I have been to the mall yesterday (wrong). “Have indicates present, whereas “yesterday” indicates the past.


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PRADIPTO CHATTERJEE

A wide range of cross functional industry experience, including, Education, Banking, insurance, automobiles etc. Handled team across geographies and across functions. Marketing and Market Research, Operations.


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