English has only two kinds of verbs, each with the same three main parts. (1) REGULAR (2) IRREGULARInfinitive: to WALK Infinitive: to FLYPast tense: WALKED Past tense: FLEW (no helping verb used) (no helping verb used)Past participle: Past participle: WALKED FLOWN (always with helping verb) (always with helping verb)
Every verb tense in English is formed from these three principal parts.I love you.I will love you always.I loved you in the past, but at the time you didn’t love me.I had loved you long before you spoke to me in our writing class.I wanted you to love me for myself, not for my ability to correct comma splices.
What’s the difference between a regular and an irregular verb?A regular verb never changes the main verb itself; it just adds a d or an ed when describing past actions: dance—danced talk—talkedIrregular verbs are unpredictable. When describing past actions, they might (1) stay the same, (2) change just a part of the word, or (3) change the whole word: cut— cut grow—grew think— thought
Regular past tense verbs: Tip #1Remember to add the d or ed endings to mark the past, especially those endings that we don’t hear clearly! Every day, I walk to work. Yesterday, I walked to work. For weeks now, I have walked to work. Every night, we dance till dawn. Last night, we danced till dawn. On many nights, we have danced till dawn.
REGULAR past tense verbs: Tip #2Be extra careful when the word “to” follows a past tense verb; it’s easy to forget the verb ending because we don’t hear it. Grammar use to be easy. This is suppose to be fun. d d
Regular past tense verbs:Tip #3Remember to use the “change y to i when you add – ed ” rule! Present Past We testify. We testified. They apply. They have applied.
Irregular past tense verbs:Tip #1Some verbs stay the same in the present and the past. Don’t be tempted to add an ending. Present Past I quit! Yesterday I quit! They cost a lot Earlier, they had nowadays. cost a lot.
Irregular past tense verbs: Tip #2The past tense of “TO BE” has both a singular and a plural form. Watch the subject/verb agreement. Present Past Singular Today she is Yesterday she happy. was happy. Plural Today they are Yesterday they happy. were happy
What About Other Tenses?All other past-tense verbs are formed from the past participle and some kind of a helping verb like has/ have/ had/ is/ was/ were: He has asked the $64,000 question. The case was decided in their favor. She had written a prize-winning essay. You have been selected to enter the Publishers Clearinghouse sweepstakes!
Past participles of regular verbs end in d or ed, just as the past tense verb does.Present Past Past Participletalk talked (has) talkeddepend depended (has) dependedtestify testified (has) testifiedscare scared (has) scared
Unfortunately, the past participles of irregular verbs are as unpredictable as the past tense is.Present Past Past Present Past Past participle participlebegin began begun go went gonebecome became become see saw seenchoose chose chosen forget forgot forgottencut cut cut give gave givenlead led led do did done
And just to make things really confusing, there’s always…Present Past Past Participlelie (=recline) lay has lainlay (=put) laid has laidsit sat has satset (=place) set has set
Warning: Potential Trouble Spot!Past participles are often used as adjectives, to describe other words. Remember the –ed ending! What is the prescribe solution? ( = the solution which someone has prescribed) You seem shock . d ( = something has shocked you) ed
Try some out! Are there any missing endings below?She appears to be a very prejudice person. dMy critical thinking teacher was astonish that I finished the quiz so early. edI think everything is finally settle to everyone’s satisfaction. d
Warning: Potential Trouble Spot #2!Don’t confuse the past tense of the irregular verbs (no helping verb) with the past participle (with helping verb). I begun my homework early this week. X began: past tense He had gave me his address. begun: past participle X gave: past tense given: past participle
Warning: Potential Trouble Spot #3!Watch the passive verbs (= a combination of is, are, was, were, be, been, or being plus the past participle). Be sure to use the participle form. My heart is broken. (not is broke) The course was well designed. (not was well design) The report will soon be written. (not will soon be wrote).
And that’s all there is to it!Verbs are easy, when youunderstand the system!