Friday, February 1, 2019





The English verb has three principal parts: Present Tense (Present infinitive), Past Tense and Past Participle. e.g., eat, ate, eaten. Almost a principal past and a necessary verb form is the Present Participle, formed by adding ing to the present infinitive form. Examples are eating, walking, working.

The past and the past participle of many English verbs are formed by adding d, ed, or t  to the present. These are called regular verbs.

For example :

save        saved          saved

talk         talked         talked

mean       meant         meant

There are, however, other verbs called irregular verbs which do not follow a pattern. One group has a vowel change in the past tense and, in some cases, in the participle as well.

For example :

sing          sang           sung

fight         fought        fought

sit             sat              sat

Some verbs, in addition to vowel change, add n to form the past participle :

grow         grew          grown

fall            fell             fallen

fly             flew           flown

Another group changes its form completely in the past tense and past participle :

buy        bought       bought

stand      stood         stood

lie            lay            laid

A few verbs change the last consonant, but not the vowel:

make       made       made

build        built         built

A few others have the same form for all three principal parts :

cut          cut          cut

burst       burst       burst

cast         cast         cast

It is almost impossible to establish a rule for these changes. If you are uncertain about the correct verb form, consult your dictionary.



Most verbs assert action, but a few express a static condition or state of being (no action). Most of these inactive verbs are called Linking Verbs. The most common linking verb is to be in its various forms of number, person, tense and mood. Other common linking verbs appear, become, feel, grow, look, prove, remain, seem, smell, sound, stand, taste, turn. When these verbs are followed by nouns or pronouns as direct objects, they are not linking verbs, but imply or express action. They are linking verbs if you can substitute some form of to be for them.

The sky looks cloudy this morning. (Linking verb)

Ram looks at Mohan as if he hates him. (Action verb)

The tea tasted too sweet. (Linking verb)

The girl cautiously tasted the drink. (Action verb,)


An auxiliary verb helps out the main verb. An auxiliary verb has little meaning of its own; rather it changes the meaning of the main verb.

Ganesh has left the city.

The machine will be sent this afternoon.

As we were leaving, we were stopped by a policeman.

Among all the auxiliary verbs, particular care should be taken to use the following correctly :

Shall and will, Should and would

(a) Shall and  Will :

Many writers still have strong convictions that the only correct way to express the simple future in formal writing is :

I shall do it.        

We shall do it.       

You will do it.                            

He will do it               

They will do it.

Though this distinction is not strictly observed, it is better to follow it.

(b)  Should and Would :

Should chiefly implies obligation in the sense of ought to; and would express a customary action with all three persons :

I should urge you to take action fast. (ought to)

You should do everything to protect your reputation.  (ought to)

Every day he would answer his letters as soon as he finished reading the mail. (habitual action)

I would always advise a careful revision before singing. (habitual action)


Tense shows the time of the action or state of being expressed by a verb. The three divisions of time – past, present, future are shown in English by six tenses. The three primary or simple tenses are the present tense, the past tense, and the future tense. The three perfect (or secondary) tenses are the present perfect the past perfect and the future perfect.

The following brief table and comments on each tense should help you use the precise tenses needed to convey your ideas :


Present:   I hear (I am hearing)

Past:   I heard (was hearing)

Future:   I shall hear (shall be hearing)

Present Perfect:   I have heard (have been hearing)

Past Perfect:    I had heard (had been hearing)

Future:    I shall have heard (shall have been hearing)

(a) Present Tense :

It indicates that the action or condition is going on or  exists now :
  • He exercises every morning.
  • The letters are posted

(b) Past Tense :

It indicates that an action or condition took place or existed at some definite time in the past.
  • Yesterday he gave an impressive speech. 
  • They were married on a Saturday.

(c) Future Tense :

It indicates that the action will take place or that a condition will exist in the future.
  • We shall move to Delhi next week.
  • The train will leave at midnight.
The future may be stated by present tense accompanied by an adverb (or adverbial phrase) Indicating the time
  • I am going to stop the letter today.
  • This Friday the plane takes off for Kenya.

(d) Present Perfect Tense :

It indicates that an action or condition was begun in the past and has just been completed or it’s still going on.     

The time is past but it is connected with the present. The present perfect tense presupposes some relationship with the present :
  • We have lived in Bombay for fifteen years.
  • The water has been too cold for swimming 
  • I have long been a friend of Patels

(e) Past Perfect Tense :

It indicates that an action or a condition was completed at a time now past. It indicates action “two steps back”.    

That is, the past perfect tense presuppose some relationship with an action or a condition expressed in  the past tense :

The market place was crowded because new supplies had arrived.
  • She was employed by ITC Company. 
  • She has worked there for two months.

(f) Future Perfect Tense :

 It indicates that an action or a condition will be completed at a future time :
  • By the time you arrive, I shall have finished my work.
  • The prices will have risen by the time the new supplies arrive.

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