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  1. 1. Verbs 1: How to detect them/forms of verbs Materials by Liz Siler
  2. 2. Definitions of Verbs • There are many unsatisfactory definitions of verbs. • Many of these are focused around meaning. • The least useful definition is the old saying that a verb is an “action” word --a word that shows the action in a sentence.
  3. 3. Action Words • Here is a sentence with many action words, none of which are actually verbs: – His reaction is a rejection of her inspiration. • Here is a sentence with a verb that shows no action: – She is very nice.
  4. 4. Better definitions • Better definitions of verbs focus on the form and behavior of the word in the sentence. • We will focus on these forms and behaviors in this class
  5. 5. Some Characteristics of Verbs Verbs are the words in clauses that can do these things: • Show marked tense; • Show marked aspect; • Show agreement with the subject in person and number in the present tense; • Can be used to form English verb phrases; • Can be operators.
  6. 6. Inflection of Verbs • Inflection: a property (characteristic) of verbs. • The Longman Dictionary of Contemporary En defines “inflect” as: if a word inflects, it changes form according to its meaning or use.
  7. 7. Forms of Verbs • All English verbs are shapeshifters. • They have five characteristic forms: – base form; – -s form; – progressive participle form (also called -ing participle form); – past tense form; – past participle form. • The verb “to be” is somewhat irregular within this paradigm of forms.
  8. 8. The Base Form • All English verbs start with a “base” form. • This is the form you look up to learn about the verb in the dictionary. Sometimes teachers call it the “dictionary form.” • If you look up one of the other forms of the verb, you will be referred back to the base form. • The base form is always uninflected, because it hasn’t been changed.
  9. 9. Test #1 for the Base Form Fill in the blank: I really like to ______ (other words). I really like to swim. I really like to be silly. I really like to politicize problems. I really like to prepare vegan food. I really like to drink Sake on Friday nights. I really like to complain about the government.
  10. 10. Test #2 for the Base Form Fill in the blank: That will _____ That will happen That will do That will be That will mind
  11. 11. The Base Form and the Infinitive • The base form is used in the creation of the English infinitive. • The infinitive form of the verb is formed is formed by adding “to” in front of the base form.
  12. 12. Examples of Infinitives • • • • • • • • • To swim To be To politicize To prepare To drink To complain To happen To occur To stop
  13. 13. Editing Note #1 • English infinitives are formed by two separable parts: to + base form. EX: to read • French and Spanish infinitives are formed by single words, which are obviously not separable. EX: leer (Sp); lire (Fr). • Yet there are grammar fools who believe that you should never “split” (separate the two parts with another word) an English infinitive because you can’t do that with the single word infinitives of Latin-based languages! • Thus, they complain that you must never say “to slowly read” because in Latin-based languages such as French and Spanish you can’t do that!
  14. 14. Editing Note #1b • When we talk about a verb as a verb, we generally use the infinitive form. • Example: The verb to be is wildly irregular in English.
  15. 15. The - S Form • This is the form of the verb used to form the third person singular in the present tense. • This is most commonly formed by simply adding “s” or “es” to the base form, but there are spelling exceptions.
  16. 16. Test #1 for the -S form Fill in the blank: He ________ every day. He swims every day. He runs every day. He does his job every day. He is pleasant every day.
  17. 17. Editing Note #2 • Most dictionaries, including online ones, will mark exceptions to form rules. • Whenever a verb form is slightly different than the general pattern (in other words there is an exception to the form rule), the verb or the form is called irregular. • Example: to do/ to be
  18. 18. The Verb TO BE • Note that the -s form of the verb “to be” is very irregular. • You would expect it to be “bes” --- but it is “is.”
  19. 19. The Progressive (ing) Participle Form • This form is produced by adding -ing to the base. • Again, there are sometimes spelling changes in the base (usually dropped final “e” or doubling of the final consonant).
  20. 20. Examples of -ing Participles • • • • • • • • • Swimming (note double consonant) Being Politicizing (note dropped “e”) Preparing (note dropped “e”) Drinking Complaining Happening Occurring (note double consonant) Stopping (note double consonant)
  21. 21. Editing Note #3 • Except in the case of the final consonants w, x and y, when a one-syllable verb ends in a single consonant preceded by a single vowel, the final consonant must be doubled before the ending ing is added. • How do you spell the -ing participle of the verb “to write”? • For a fast refresher course on spelling rules with -ing participles, click here: Spelling Rules
  22. 22. The Past Tense Form • This is the form used to create the past tense of the verb. • In English many, but not all, verbs are formed by adding “d” or “ed” to the base form. • There are numerous exceptions. These are called irregular forms. And some verbs, including the verb to be, have two past tense forms!
  23. 23. Examples: Past Tense Forms • • • • • • • • • • Swam Was/Were Politicized Prepared Drank Complained Happened Occurred Stopped Dove/dived
  24. 24. Test #1 for Past Tense Form Use the verb in a sentence with an adverb such as “yesterday.” Yesterday, the man swam two miles. Yesterday, they were in Houston. Yesterday, you politicized that idea in an argument with the teacher. Yesterday, you drank too much Sake. Yesterday, you complained about Harry Reid. Yesterday, the accident happened. Yesterday, a stupid idea occurred to me. Yesterday, I stopped at Safeway. Yesterday, she dove into the pool.
  25. 25. The Past Participle Form • For many, (but sadly not all), verbs the past tense form and the past participle form are identical. • For some verbs the past participle form is different and involves a word that ends in -t or a vowel change.
  26. 26. Examples of Past Participle Forms • • • • • • • • Swum Been Politicized Drunk Complained Happened Occurred Stopped
  27. 27. Test #1 for the Past Participle • You can always figure out the past participle of the verb by moving the base form through a sentence with a verb phrase with a form of the auxiliary verb “have.” • I have______ (swum, driven, cooked . . .)
  28. 28. Examples of Past Participles • • • • • • • • I have swum for ten years. Obama has been President for 5 years. The media has politicized this problem. I have drunk two bottles of Sake. She had complained about a hangover. It will have happened by then. It has occurred to me. The hangover had stopped by noon.
  29. 29. Form Differences • There are important differences between the use of the past tense form and the past participle form. • The past tense form can be used by itself to express the past tense. – I swam a mile yesterday. • The past participle form can only be used with other verbs (called auxiliaries) to form perfect aspect or passive. – I have swum ten miles. The race was swum in ten minutes flat.
  30. 30. A Regular Example • Cook – Base: cook - Infinitive: to cook – -s form: cooks – Past tense form: cooked – -ing participle form: cooking – Past participle form: cooked
  31. 31. An Irregular Example • Sleep – Base: sleep -- Infinitive: to sleep – -S form: sleeps – Past tense form: slept – -ing participle form: sleeping – Past participle form: slept
  32. 32. The Verb “to be” • You are going to hear a lot about the verb “be” (base form), which is sometimes called the verb “to be” (infinitive form). • This verb is wildly irregular in English, and before we go on, it’s worth looking at it carefully. • It’s worth noting it’s also irregular in all Latinbased languages (etre -- FR)/ (ser/estar -Spanish). Learn it now!
  33. 33. The Forms of “to be” • • • • Base form: be -- Infinitive form: to be “s” form: is -Ing participle form: being Past tense form: was/were (depending on subject) • Past participle form: been (pronounced as “bin”) • Note this verb also has three present tense forms: am, is, are
  34. 34. Editing for Verbs • People everywhere have trouble with verb forms, in part because English has so many irregular verb forms. • Common editing symbols for verb form problems are: V, vb, vb form, and v/sp (verb spelling). V/sp is used only when the form is right, but the spelling is not!