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Glossary of English Grammar Terms

Active Voice
In the active voice, the subject of the verb does the action (eg They killed the President).
See also Passive Voice.

Adjective
A word like big, red, easy, French etc. An adjective describes a noun or pronoun.

Adverb
A word like slowly, quietly, well, often etc. An adverb modifies a verb.

Article
The "indefinite" articles are a and an. The "definite article" is the.

Auxiliary Verb
A verb that is used with a main verb. Be, do and have are auxiliary verbs. Can, may, must
etc are modal auxiliary verbs.

Clause
A group of words containing a subject and its verb (for example: It was late when he
arrived).

Conjunction
A word used to connect words, phrases and clauses (for example: and, but, if).

Infinitive
The basic form of a verb as in to work or work.

Interjection
An exclamation inserted into an utterance without grammatical connection (for example:
oh!, ah!, ouch!, well!).

Modal Verb
An auxiliary verb like can, may, must etc that modifies the main verb and expresses
possibility, probability etc. It is also called "modal auxiliary verb".

Noun
A word like table, dog, teacher, America etc. A noun is the name of an object, concept,
person or place. A "concrete noun" is something you can see or touch like a person or
car. An "abstract noun" is something that you cannot see or touch like a decision or
happiness. A "countable noun" is something that you can count (for example: bottle,
song, dollar). An "uncountable noun" is something that you cannot count (for example:
water, music, money).
Object
In the active voice, a noun or its equivalent that receives the action of the verb. In the
passive voice, a noun or its equivalent that does the action of the verb.

Participle
The -ing and -ed forms of verbs. The -ing form is called the "present participle". The -ed
form is called the "past participle" (for irregular verbs, this is column 3).

Part Of Speech
One of the eight classes of word in English - noun, verb, adjective, adverb, pronoun,
preposition, conjunction and interjection.

Passive Voice
In the passive voice, the subject receives the action of the verb (eg The President was
killed). See also Active Voice.

Phrase
A group of words not containing a subject and its verb (eg on the table, the girl in a red
dress).

Predicate
Each sentence contains (or implies) two parts: a subject and a predicate. The predicate is
what is said about the subject.

Preposition
A word like at, to, in, over etc. Prepositions usually come before a noun and give
information about things like time, place and direction.

Pronoun
A word like I, me, you, he, him, it etc. A pronoun replaces a noun.

Sentence
A group of words that express a thought. A sentence conveys a statement, question,
exclamation or command. A sentence contains or implies a subject and a predicate. In
simple terms, a sentence must contain a verb and (usually) a subject. A sentence starts
with a capital letter and ends with a full stop (.), question mark (?) or exclamation mark
(!).

Subject
Every sentence contains (or implies) two parts: a subject and a predicate. The subject is
the main noun (or equivalent) in a sentence about which something is said.

Tense
The form of a verb that shows us when the action or state happens (past, present or
future). Note that the name of a tense is not always a guide to when the action happens.
The "present continuous tense", for example, can be used to talk about the present or the
future.

Verb
A word like (to) work, (to) love, (to) begin. A verb describes an action or state.
English Parts of Speech

There are thousands of words in any language. But not all words have the same job. For
example, some words express "action".
Other words express a "thing". Other
Some grammar books categorize English into
words "join" one word to another word.
9 or 10 parts of speech. At English Club, we
These are the "building blocks" of the
use the traditional categorization of 8 parts of
language. Think of them like the parts of
speech (see Table for more details).
a house. When we want to build a house,
we use concrete to make the foundations or base. We use bricks to make the walls. We
use window frames to make the windows, and door frames to make the doorways. And
we use cement to join them all together. Each part of the house has its own job. And when
we want to build a sentence, we use the different types of word. Each type of word has its
own job.

We can categorize English words into 8 basic types or classes. These classes are called
"parts of speech".

It's quite important to recognize parts of speech. This helps you to analyze sentences and
understand them. It also helps you to construct good sentences.

In this lesson, we have an overview of the eight parts of speech, followed by a quiz to
check your understanding:

• Parts of Speech Table


• Parts of Speech Examples
• Words with More than One Job
Parts of Speech Table

This is a summary of the 8 parts of speech*. You can find more detail if you click on each
part of speech.

part of speech function or "job" example words example sentences

Verb action or state (to) be, have, do, EnglishClub.com is a web


like, work, sing, site. I like
can, must EnglishClub.com.

Noun thing or person pen, dog, work, This is my dog. He lives


music, town, in my house. We live in
London, teacher, London.
John

Adjective describes a noun a/an, the, 69, some, My dog is big. I like big
good, big, red, dogs.
well, interesting

Adverb describes a verb, quickly, silently, My dog eats quickly.


adjective or adverb well, badly, very, When he is very hungry,
really he eats really quickly.

Pronoun replaces a noun I, you, he, she, Tara is Indian. She is


some beautiful.

Preposition links a noun to to, at, after, on, but We went to school on
another word Monday.

Conjunction joins clauses or and, but, when I like dogs and I like cats.
sentences or words I like cats and dogs. I like
dogs but I don't like cats.

Interjection short exclamation, oh!, ouch!, hi!, well Ouch! That hurts! Hi!
sometimes inserted How are you? Well, I
into a sentence don't know.

* Some grammar sources categorize English into 9 or 10 parts of speech. At


EnglishClub.com, we use the traditional categorization of 8 parts of speech. Examples of
other categorizations are:

• Verbs may be treated as two different parts of speech:


o Lexical Verbs (work, like, run)
o Auxiliary Verbs (be, have, must)
• Determiners may be treated as a separate part of speech, instead of being
categorized under Adjectives

Parts of Speech Examples »

Parts of Speech Examples

Here are some sentences made with different English parts of speech:

verb noun verb noun verb verb

Stop! John works. John is working.

pronoun verb noun noun verb adjective noun

She loves animals. Animals like kind people.

noun verb noun adverb noun verb adjective noun

Tara speaks English well. Tara speaks good English.

pronoun verb preposition adjective noun adverb

She ran to the station quickly.

pron. verb adj. noun conjunction pron. verb pron.

She likes big snakes but I hate them.

Here is a sentence that contains every part of speech:

interjection pron. conj. adj. noun verb prep. noun adverb

Well, she and young John walk to school slowly.

Words with More than One Job »


Words with More than One Job

Many words in English can have more than one job, or be more than one part of speech.
For example, "work" can be a verb and a noun; "but" can be a conjunction and a
preposition; "well" can be an adjective, an adverb and an interjection. In addition, many
nouns can act as adjectives.

To analyze the part of speech, ask yourself: "What job is this word doing in this
sentence?"

In the table below you can see a few examples. Of course, there are more, even for some
of the words in the table. In fact, if you look in a good dictionary you will see that the
word but has six jobs to do:

• verb, noun, adverb, pronoun, preposition and conjuction!

word part of speech example


work noun My work is easy.
verb I work in London.
but conjunction John came but Mary didn't come.
preposition Everyone came but Mary.
well adjective Are you well?
adverb She speaks well.
interjection Well! That's expensive!
afternoon noun We ate in the afternoon.
noun acting as adjective We had afternoon tea.
What are Verbs?

The verb is king in English. The shortest sentence contains a verb. You can
make a one-word sentence with a verb, for example: "Stop!" You cannot make a
one-word sentence with any other type of word.

Verbs are sometimes described as "action words". This is partly true. Many verbs give the
idea of action, of "doing" something. For example, words like run, fight, do and work all
convey action.

But some verbs do not give the idea of action; they give the idea of existence, of state, of
"being". For example, verbs like be, exist, seem and belong all convey state.

A verb always has a subject. (In the sentence "John speaks English", John is the subject
and speaks is the verb.) In simple terms, therefore, we can say that verbs are words that
tell us what a subject does or is; they describe:

• action (Ram plays football.)


• state (Anthony seems kind.)

There is something very special about verbs in English. Most other words (adjectives,
adverbs, prepositions etc) do not change in form (although nouns can have singular and
plural forms). But almost all verbs change in form. For example, the verb to work has
five forms:

• to work, work, works, worked, working

Of course, this is still very few forms compared to some languages which may have thirty
or more forms for a single verb.

In this lesson we look at the ways in which we classify verbs, followed by a quiz to test
your understanding:

• Verb Classification
• Helping Verbs
• Main Verbs
Verb Classification

We divide verbs into two broad classifications:

1. Helping Verbs

Imagine that a stranger walks into your room and says:

• I can.
• People must.
• The Earth will.

Do you understand anything? Has this person communicated anything to you? Probably
not! That's because these verbs are helping verbs and have no meaning on their own.
They are necessary for the grammatical structure of the sentence, but they do not tell us
very much alone. We usually use helping verbs with main verbs. They "help" the main
verb. (The sentences in the above examples are therefore incomplete. They need at least a
main verb to complete them.) There are only about 15 helping verbs.

2. Main Verbs

Now imagine that the same stranger walks into your room and says:

• I teach.
• People eat.
• The Earth rotates.

Do you understand something? Has this person communicated something to you?


Probably yes! Not a lot, but something. That's because these verbs are main verbs and
have meaning on their own. They tell us something. Of course, there are thousands of
main verbs.

In the following table we see example sentences with helping verbs and main verbs.
Notice that all of these sentences have a main verb. Only some of them have a helping
verb.

helping verb main verb

John likes coffee.

You lied to me.

They are happy.


The children are playing.

We must go now.

I do not want any.

Helping verbs and main verbs can be further sub-divided, as we shall see on the
following pages.

Helping Verbs »
Helping Verbs

Helping verbs have no meaning on their


own. They are necessary for the
Helping verbs are also called "auxiliary
grammatical structure of a sentence, but
verbs".
they do not tell us very much alone. We
usually use helping verbs with main verbs. They "help" the main verb (which has the real
meaning). There are only about 15 helping verbs in English, and we divide them into two
basic groups:

Primary helping verbs (3 verbs)

These are the verbs be, do, and have. Note that we can use these three verbs as helping
verbs or as main verbs. On this page we talk about them as helping verbs. We use them in
the following cases:

• be
o to make continuous tenses (He is watching TV.)
o to make the passive (Small fish are eaten by big fish.)

• have
o to make perfect tenses (I have finished my homework.)

• do
o to make negatives (I do not like you.)
o to ask questions (Do you want some coffee?)
o to show emphasis (I do want you to pass your exam.)
o to stand for a main verb in some constructions (He speaks faster than she
does.)

Modal helping verbs (10 verbs)

We use modal helping verbs to "modify" the meaning of the main verb in some way. A
modal helping verb expresses necessity or possibility, and changes the main verb in that
sense. These are the modal verbs:

• can, could
• may, might
• will, would,
• shall, should
• must
• ought to

Here are examples using modal verbs:

• I can't speak Chinese.


• John may arrive late.
• Would you like a cup of coffee?
• You should see a doctor.
• I really must go now.

Main Verbs »

Semi-modal verbs (3 verbs)


The following verbs are often called "semi-
modals" because they are partly like modal
helping verbs and partly like main verbs:

• need
• dare

• used to
Main Verbs

Main verbs are also called "lexical verbs".

Main verbs have meaning on their own (unlike helping verbs). There are thousands of
main verbs, and we can classify them in several ways:

Transitive and intransitive verbs

A transitive verb takes a direct object: Somebody killed the President. An intransitive verb
does not have a direct object: He died. Many verbs, like speak, can be transitive or
intransitive. Look at these examples:

transitive:

• I saw an elephant.
• We are watching TV.
• He speaks English.

intransitive:

• He has arrived.
• John goes to school.
• She speaks fast.

Linking verbs

A linking verb does not have much meaning in itself. It "links" the subject to what is said
about the subject. Usually, a linking verb shows equality (=) or a change to a different
state or place (>). Linking verbs are always intransitive (but not all intransitive verbs are
linking verbs).

• Mary is a teacher. (mary = teacher)


• Tara is beautiful. (tara = beautiful)
• That sounds interesting. (that = interesting)
• The sky became dark. (the sky > dark)
• The bread has gone bad. (bread > bad)
Dynamic and stative verbs

Some verbs describe action. They are called "dynamic", and can be used with continuous
tenses. Other verbs describe state (non-action, a situation). They are called "stative", and
cannot normally be used with continuous tenses (though some of them can be used with
continuous tenses with a change in meaning).

dynamic verbs (examples):

• hit, explode, fight, run, go

stative verbs (examples):

• be
• like, love, prefer, wish
• impress, please, surprise
• hear, see, sound
• belong to, consist of, contain, include, need
• appear, resemble, seem

Regular and irregular verbs

This is more a question of vocabulary than of grammar. The only real difference between
regular and irregular verbs is that they have different endings for their past tense and past
participle forms. For regular verbs, the past tense ending and past participle ending is
always the same: -ed. For irregular verbs, the past tense ending and the past participle
ending is variable, so it is necessary to learn them by heart.

regular verbs: base, past tense, past participle

• look, looked, looked


• work, worked, worked

irregular verbs: base, past tense, past participle

• buy, bought, bought


• cut, cut, cut
• do, did, done

Here are lists of regular verbs and irregular verbs.


One way to think of regular and irregular
verbs is like this: all verbs are irregular and
the so-called regular verbs are simply one
very large group of irregular verbs.

Often the above divisions can be mixed. For example, one verb could be irregular,
transitive and dynamic; another verb could be regular, transitive and stative.

Verb Forms

English verbs come in several forms. For example, the verb to sing can be: to sing, sing,
sang, sung, singing or sings. This is a total of 6 forms. Not many, considering that some
languages (French, for example) have more than 30 forms for an individual verb. English
tenses may be quite complicated, but the forms that we use to make the tenses are
actually very simple! With the exception of the verb to be, English main verbs have only
4, 5 or 6 forms. To be has 9 forms. Do not confuse verb forms with tenses. We use the
different verb forms to make the tenses, but they are not the same thing.

In this lesson we look at the forms of main verbs and helping (auxiliary) verbs, followed
by a quiz to check your understanding:

• Forms of Main Verbs


• Forms of Helping Verbs
Forms of Main Verbs

Main verbs (except the verb "be") have


Main verbs are also called "lexical verbs".
only 4, 5 or 6 forms. "Be" has 9 forms.

V1 V2 V3

infinitive base present simple,


past past present
3rd person
simple participle participle
singular

regular (to) work work worked worked working works

(to) sing sing sang sung singing sings


(to) make make made made making makes
(to) cut cut cut cut cutting cuts

(to) do* do did done doing does


(to) have* have had had having has
irregular
past past present
infinitive base present simple
simple participle participle

was,
(to) be* be been being am, are, is
were

In the above examples:

• to cut has 4 forms: to cut, cut, cutting, cuts


• to work has 5 forms: to work, work, worked, working, works
• to sing has 6 forms: to sing, sing, sang, sung, singing, sings
• to be has 9 forms: to be, be, was, were, been, being, am, is, are
The infinitive can be with or without to. For
example, to sing and sing are both
infinitives. We often call the infinitive
without to the "bare infinitive".

At school, students usually learn by heart the base, past simple and past participle
(sometimes called V1, V2, V3, meaning Verb 1, Verb 2, Verb 3) for the irregular verbs.
They may spend many hours chanting: sing, sang, sung; go, went, gone; have, had, had;
etc. They do not learn these for the regular verbs because the past simple and past
participle are always the same: they are formed by adding "-ed" to the base. They do not
learn the present participle and 3rd person singular present simple by heart—for
another very simple reason: they never change. The present participle is always made by
adding "-ing" to the base, and the 3rd person singular present simple is always made by
adding "s" to the base (though there are some variations in spelling).

* Note that "do", "have" and "be" also function as helping or auxiliary verbs, with exactly
the same forms (except that as helping verbs they are never in infinitive form).

Example Sentences

These example sentences use main verbs in different forms.

Infinitive

• I want to work
• He has to sing.
• This exercise is easy to do.
• Let him have one.
• To be, or not to be, that is the question:

Base - Imperative

• Work well!
• Make this.
• Have a nice day.
• Be quiet!

Base - Present simple


(except 3rd person singular)

• I work in London.
• You sing well.
• They have a lot of money.
Base - After modal auxiliary verbs

• I can work tomorrow.


• You must sing louder.
• They might do it.
• You could be right.

Past simple

• I worked yesterday.
• She cut his hair last week.
• They had a good time.
• They were surprised, but I was not.

Past participle

• I have worked here for five years.


• He needs a folder made of plastic.
• It is done like this.
• I have never been so happy.

Present participle

• I am working.
• Singing well is not easy.
• Having finished, he went home.
• You are being silly!

3rd person singular, present simple

• He works in London.
• She sings well.
• She has a lot of money.
• It is Vietnamese.

Forms of Helping Verbs »


Forms of Helping Verbs

All helping verbs are used with a main


Helping verbs are also called "auxiliary
verb (either expressed or understood*).
verbs".
There are 2 groups of helping verbs:

• Primary helping verbs, used mainly to change the tense or voice of the main
verb, and in making questions and negatives.
• Modal helping verbs, used to change the "mood" of the main verb.

Study the table below. It shows the prinicipal forms and uses of helping verbs, and
explains the differences between primary and modal helping verbs.

* Sometimes we make a sentence that has a helping verb and seems to have no main
verb. In fact, the main verb is "understood". Look at the following examples:

• Question: Can you speak English? (The main verb speak is "expressed".)
• Answer: Yes, I can. (The main verb speak is not expressed. It is "understood"
from the context. We understand: Yes, I can speak English.

But if somebody walked into the room and said "Hello. I can", we would understand
nothing!

Helping Verbs

Primary Modal

(to make simple tenses, and questions


do can could
and negatives)
(to make continuous tenses, and the
be may might
passive voice)

have (to make perfect tenses) will would

shall should

must

ought (to)

"Do", "be" and "have" as helping verbs have Modal helping verbs are invariable.
exactly the same forms as when they are main They always have the same form.
verbs (except that as helping verbs they are
never used in infinitive forms).

"Ought" is followed by the main verb in


Primary helping verbs are followed by the main
infinitive form. Other modal helping
verb in a particular form:
verbs are followed by the main verb in
its base form (V1).
• do + V1 (base verb)
• be + -ing (present participle)
• ought + to... (infinitive)
• have + V3 (past participle)
• other modals + V1 (base verb)

"Do", "be" and "have" can also function as main Modal helping verbs cannot function as
verbs. main verbs
What is Tense?

tense (noun): a form of a verb used to indicate the time, and sometimes the continuation or completeness,
of an action in relation to the time of speaking. (From Latin tempus = time).

Tense is a method that we use in English to refer to time—past, present and future. Many
languages use tenses to talk about time. Other languages have no tenses, but of course
they can still talk about time, using different methods.

So, we talk about time in English with tenses. But, and this is a very big but:

• we can also talk about time without using tenses (for example, going to is a
special construction to talk about the future, it is not a tense)
• one tense does not always talk about one time (see Tense & Time for more about
this)

Here are some of the terms used in discussing verbs and tenses.

Mood

indicative mood expresses a simple statement of fact, which can be positive (affirmative)
or negative

• I like coffee.
• I do not like coffee.

interrogative mood expresses a question


• Why do you like coffee?

imperative mood expresses a command

• Sit down!

subjunctive mood expresses what is imagined or wished or possible

• The President ordered that he attend the meeting.

Voice

Voice shows the relationship of the subject to the action. In the active voice, the subject
does the action (cats eat mice). In the passive voice, the subject receives the action (mice
are eaten by cats). Among other things, we can use voice to help us change the focus of
attention.

Aspect

Aspect expresses a feature of the action related to time, such as completion or duration.
Present simple and past simple tenses have no aspect, but if we wish we can stress with
other tenses that:

• the action or state referred to by the verb is completed (and often still relevant),
for example:
I have emailed the report to Jane. (so now she has the report)
(This is called perfective aspect, using perfect tenses.)

• the action or state referred to by the verb is in progress or continuing (that is,
uncompleted), for example:
We are eating.
(This is called progressive aspect, using progressive [continuous] tenses.)

Tense & Time »


Tense & Time

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 rains tomorrow.


"rains" 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 it.


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

The following examples show how different tenses can be used to talk about different
times.

TIME
TENSE
past present future

I want a coffee. I leave tomorrow.


Present Simple
She likes coffee.
I am taking my
I am having dinner.
exam next month.
Present Continuous
They are living in London.

Present Perfect
I have seen ET. I have finished.
Simple

I have been playing


Present Perfect tennis.
Continuous
We have been working for four hours.

If she loved you If you came


I finished one hour
Past Simple now, she would tomorrow, you
ago.
marry you. would see her.

I was working at
Past Continuous
2am this morning.

I had not eaten for


Past Perfect Simple
24 hours.

If I had been If I had been


We had been
Past Perfect working now, I working tomorrow, I
working for 3
Continuous would have missed could not have
hours.
you. agreed.

Hold on. I'll do it I'll see you


Future Simple
now. tomorrow.

I will be working at
Future Continuous
9pm tonight.

I will have finished


Future Perfect by 9pm tonight.
Simple
We will have been married for ten years next month.

They may be tired


when you arrive
Future Perfect because they will
Continuous have been working.

In 30 minutes, we will have been working for four hours.


Basic Tenses »

Basic Tenses

For past and present, there are 2 simple tenses + 6 complex tenses (using auxiliary verbs).
To these, we can add 4 "modal tenses" for the future (using modal auxiliary verbs
will/shall). This makes a total of 12 tenses in the active voice. Another 12 tenses are
available in the passive voice. So now we have 24 tenses.

24 Tenses past present future*

simple tenses past present future

complex tenses
formed with past perfect present perfect future perfect
auxiliary verbs
ACTIVE
present
past continuous future continuous
continuous

past perfect present perfect future perfect


continuous continuous continuous
past present future

past perfect present perfect future perfect

PASSIVE present
past continuous future continuous
continuous

past perfect present perfect future perfect


continuous continuous continuous

Some grammar books use the word


progressive instead of continuous. They are
exactly the same.

The use of tenses in English may be quite complicated, but the structure of English
tenses is actually very simple. The basic structure for a positive sentence is:

subject + auxiliary verb + main verb


An auxiliary verb is used in all tenses. (In the simple present and simple past tenses, the
auxiliary verb is usually suppressed for the affirmative, but it does exist for
intensification.) The following table shows the 12 tenses for the verb to work in the
active voice.

structure
past present future*
auxiliary main verb

normal I worked I work I will work


simple
intensive do base I did work I do work

past I had I have I will have


perfect have
participle worked worked worked

present
I was I am I will be
continuous be participle
working working working
-ing

present
continuous have I had been I have been I will have
participle
perfect been working working been working
-ing
* Technically, there are no future tenses in English. The word will is a modal auxiliary
verb and future tenses are sometimes called "modal tenses". The examples are included
here for convenience and comparison.

Regular Verbs »

Basic Tenses: Regular Verb

Regular verbs list

This page shows the basic tenses with the regular verb work. It includes the affirmative
or positive form (+), the negative form (-) and the interrogative or question form (?).

The basic structure is:

positive: + subject + auxiliary verb + main verb


negative: - subject + auxiliary verb + not + main verb
question: ? auxiliary verb + subject + main verb
These are the forms of the main verb that we use to construct the tenses:
base verb past past participle present participle -ing

work worked worked working

past present future

SIMPLE I did work I do work


do + base verb + I worked I work
I will work
(except future:
will + base verb) - I did not work I do not work I will not work

? Did I work? Do I work? Will I work?

SIMPLE PERFECT + I had worked I have worked I will have worked


have + past participle
I had not I have not I will not have
- worked worked worked

Will I have
? Had I worked? Have I worked?
worked?

CONTINUOUS + I was working I am working I will be working


be + ing
- I was not I am not I will not be
working working working

? Was I working? Am I working? Will I be working?

CONTINUOUS I had been I have been I will have been


PERFECT + working working working
have been + ing
I had not been I have not been I will not have been
- working working working

Had I been Have I been Will I have been


? working? working? working?

Irregular Verbs »
Regular Verbs List

There are thousands of regular verbs in English. This is a list of 600 of the more common
regular verbs. Note that there are some spelling variations in American English (for
example, "practise" becomes "practice" in American English).

• accept • allow • applaud • attach


• add • amuse • appreciate • attack
• admire • analyse • approve • attempt
• admit • announce • argue • attend
• advise • annoy • arrange • attract
• afford • answer • arrest
• agree • apologise • arrive • avoid

• alert • appear • ask


• back • beg • boil • brake
• bake • behave • bolt • branch
• balance • belong • bomb • breathe
• ban • bleach • book • bruise
• bang • bless • bore • brush
• bare • blind • borrow • bubble
• bat • blink • bounce • bump
• bathe • blot • bow • burn
• battle • blush • box • bury

• beam • boast • brake • buzz


• calculate • choke • compare • cough
• call • chop • compete • count
• camp • claim • complain • cover
• care • clap • complete • crack
• carry • clean • concentrate • crash
• carve • clear • concern • crawl
• cause • clip • confess • cross
• challenge • close • confuse • crush
• change • coach • connect • cry
• charge • coil • consider • cure
• chase • collect • consist • curl
• cheat • colour • contain • curve
• check • comb • continue
• cheer • command • copy • cycle

• chew • communicate • correct


• dam • deliver • disapprove • dress
• damage • depend • disarm • drip
• dance • describe • discover • drop
• dare • desert • dislike • drown
• decay • deserve • divide • drum
• deceive • destroy • double • dry
• decide • detect • doubt
• decorate • develop • drag • dust
• delay • disagree • drain

• delight • disappear • dream


• earn • end • excite • explain
• educate • enjoy • excuse • explode
• embarrass • enter • exercise
• employ • entertain • exist • extend
• empty • escape • expand

• encourage • examine • expect


• face • fetch • flash • force
• fade • file • float • form
• fail • fill • flood • found
• fancy • film • flow • frame
• fasten • fire • flower • frighten
• fax • fit • fold
• fear • fix • follow • fry

• fence • flap • fool


• gather • grab • grin • guard
• gaze • grate • grip • guess
• glow • grease • groan
• guide
• glue • greet • guarantee
• hammer • harm • heat • hug
• hand • hate • help • hum
• handle • haunt • hook • hunt
• hang • head • hop
• happen • heal • hope • hurry

• harass • heap • hover


• identify • increase • intend • invite
• ignore • influence • interest • irritate
• imagine • inform • interfere
• impress • inject • interrupt • itch
• improve • injure • introduce

• include • instruct • invent


• jail • jog • joke • juggle

• jam • join • judge • jump


• kick • kiss • knit • knot

• kill • kneel • knock


• label • learn • lighten • load
• land • level • like • lock
• last • license • list • long
• laugh • lick • listen • look

• launch • lie • live • love


• man • matter • milk • move
• manage • measure • mine • muddle
• march • meddle • miss • mug
• mark • melt • mix • multiply
• marry • memorise • moan
• match • mend • moor • murder

• mate • mess up • mourn


• nail • need • nod • notice

• name • nest • note • number


• obey • obtain • offer • overflow
• object • occur • open • owe

• observe • offend • order • own


• pack • permit • pop • prevent
• paddle • phone • possess • prick
• paint • pick • post • print
• park • pinch • pour • produce
• part • pine • practise • program
• pass • place • pray • promise
• paste • plan • preach • protect
• pat • plant • precede • provide
• pause • play • prefer • pull
• peck • please • prepare • pump
• pedal • plug • present • punch
• peel • point • preserve • puncture
• peep • poke • press • punish

• perform • polish • pretend • push


• question • queue
• race • refuse • remove • rhyme
• radiate • regret • repair • rinse
• rain • reign • repeat • risk
• raise • reject • replace • rob
• reach • rejoice • reply • rock
• realise • relax • report • roll
• receive • release • reproduce • rot
• recognise • rely • request • rub
• record • remain • rescue • ruin
• reduce • remember • retire • rule

• reflect • remind • return • rush


• sack • shiver • soothe • stop
• sail • shock • sound • store
• satisfy • shop • spare • strap
• save • shrug • spark • strengthen
• saw • sigh • sparkle • stretch
• scare • sign • spell • strip
• scatter • signal • spill • stroke
• scold • sin • spoil • stuff
• scorch • sip • spot • subtract
• scrape • ski • spray • succeed
• scratch • skip • sprout • suck
• scream • slap • squash • suffer
• screw • slip • squeak • suggest
• scribble • slow • squeal • suit
• scrub • smash • squeeze • supply
• seal • smell • stain • support
• search • smile • stamp • suppose
• separate • smoke • stare • surprise
• serve • snatch • start • surround
• settle • sneeze • stay • suspect
• shade • sniff • steer • suspend
• share • snore • step
• shave • snow • stir • switch

• shelter • soak • stitch


• talk • thaw • trace • trot
• tame • tick • trade • trouble
• tap • tickle • train • trust
• taste • tie • transport • try
• tease • time • trap • tug
• telephone • tip • travel • tumble
• tempt • tire • treat • turn
• terrify • touch • tremble • twist
• test • tour • trick
• type
• thank • tow • trip
• undress • unite • unpack • use

• unfasten • unlock • untidy


• vanish • visit
• wail • waste • whirl • work
• wait • watch • whisper • worry
• walk • water • whistle • wrap
• wander • wave • wink • wreck
• want • weigh • wipe • wrestle
• warm • welcome • wish
• warn • whine • wobble • wriggle

• wash • whip • wonder


• x-ray
• yawn • yell
• zip • zoom
Basic Tenses: Irregular Verb

Irregular verbs list

This page shows the basic tenses with the irregular verb sing. It includes the affirmative
or positive form (+), the negative form (-) and the interrogative or question form (?).

The basic structure is:

positive: + subject + auxiliary verb + main verb


negative: - subject + auxiliary verb + not + main verb
question: ? auxiliary verb + subject + main verb
These are the forms of the main verb that we use to construct the tenses:

base verb past past participle present participle -ing

sing sang sung singing

past present future


SIMPLE + I did sing I do sing I will sing
do + base verb I sang I sing
(except future:
will + base verb) - I did not sing I do not sing I will not sing

? Did I sing? Do I sing? Will I sing?

SIMPLE PERFECT + I had sung I have sung I will have sung


have + past participle
- I had not sung I have not sung I will not have sung

? Had I sung? Have I sung? Will I have sung?

CONTINUOUS + I was singing I am singing I will be singing


be + -ing
I was not I will not be
- singing
I am not singing
singing

? Was I singing? Am I singing? Will I be singing?

CONTINUOUS + I had been I have been I will have been


PERFECT singing singing singing
have been + -ing
I had not been I have not been I will not have been
- singing singing singing

? Had I been Have I been Will I have been


singing? singing? singing?

The basic structure of tenses for regular verbs


and irregular verbs is exactly the same
(except to be). The only difference is that
with regular verbs the past and past participle
are always the same (worked, worked), while
with irregular verbs the past and past
participle are not always the same (sang,
sung). But the structure is the same! It will
help you a great deal to really understand
that.

Be »
Irregular Verbs List

This is a list of some irregular verbs in English. Of course, there are many others, but
these are the more common irregular verbs.

Base Form Past Simple Past Participle

awake awoke awoken

be was, were been

beat beat beaten

become became become

begin began begun

bend bent bent

bet bet bet

bid bid bid

bite bit bitten

blow blew blown


break broke broken

bring brought brought

broadcast broadcast broadcast

build built built

burn burned/burnt burned/burnt

buy bought bought

catch caught caught

choose chose chosen

come came come

cost cost cost

cut cut cut

dig dug dug

do did done

draw drew drawn

dream dreamed/dreamt dreamed/dreamt

drive drove driven

drink drank drunk

eat ate eaten

fall fell fallen

feel felt felt

fight fought fought

find found found

fly flew flown


forget forgot forgotten

forgive forgave forgiven

freeze froze frozen

get got gotten

give gave given

go went gone

grow grew grown

hang hung hung

have had had

hear heard heard

hide hid hidden

hit hit hit

hold held held

hurt hurt hurt

keep kept kept

know knew known

lay laid laid

lead led led

learn learned/learnt learned/learnt

leave left left

lend lent lent

let let let

lie lay lain


lose lost lost

make made made

mean meant meant

meet met met

pay paid paid

put put put

read read read

ride rode ridden

ring rang rung

rise rose risen

run ran run

say said said

see saw seen

sell sold sold

send sent sent

show showed showed/shown

shut shut shut

sing sang sung

sit sat sat

sleep slept slept

speak spoke spoken

spend spent spent

stand stood stood


swim swam swum

take took taken

teach taught taught

tear tore torn

tell told told

think thought thought

throw threw thrown

understand understood understood

wake woke woken

wear wore worn

win won won

write wrote written

Basic Tenses: Be

This page shows the basic tenses with the verb be. It includes the affirmative or positive
form (+), the negative form (-) and the interrogative or question form (?).

The basic structure is:

positive: + subject + auxiliary verb + main verb


negative: - subject + auxiliary verb + not + main verb
question: ? auxiliary verb + subject + main verb
But for simple past and simple present tenses, the structure is not the same. In fact,
it's even easier. There is no auxiliary verb. Here is the structure:
positive: + subject + main verb
negative: - subject + main verb + not
question: ? main verb + subject
These are the forms of the main verb be that we use to construct the tenses:

base past simple past participle present participle present simple

be was, were been being am, are, is

past present future

SIMPLE + I was I am I will be


present simple or
past simple - I was not I am not I will not be
(except future: will + be)
? Was I? Am I? Will I be?

+ I had been I have been I will have been


SIMPLE PERFECT
have + been - I had not been I have not been I will not have been

? Had I been? Have I been? Will I have been?

+ I was being I am being I will be being


CONTINUOUS
be + being - I was not being I am not being I will not be being

? Was I being? Am I being? Will I be being?

CONTINUOUS + I had been I have been I will have been


PERFECT being being being
have been + being
I had not been I have not been I will not have been
- being being being

? Had I been Have I been Will I have been


being? being? being?

In the following table, we see be conjugated for 12 basic tenses.


SIMPLE past present future

I was am will be

singular you were are will be

he/she/it was is will be

we were are will be

plural you were are will be

they were are will be

PERFECT past present future

I had been have been will have been

singular you had been have been will have been

he/she/it had been has been will have been

we had been have been will have been

plural you had been have been will have been

they had been have been will have been

CONTINUOUS past present future

I was being am being will be being

singular you were being are being will be being

he/she/it was being is being will be being

we were being are being will be being

plural you were being are being will be being

they were being are being will be being

CONTINUOUS PERFECT past present future


I had been being have been being will have been being

singular you had been being have been being will have been being

he/she/it had been being has been being will have been being

we had been being have been being will have been being

plural you had been being have been being will have been being

they had been being have been being will have been being