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A verb is a word that asserts or expresses action or state of being.

There are three classes of verbs: 1. Transitive requires object. I smell perfume. (object) 2. Intransitive does not require an object. He speaks politely. (no object)

3. Copulative expresses a state of being. It serves to link a subject with a predicate noun, a predicate pronoun or a predicate adjective. Carlos is a captain. (predicate noun) The criminal was he. (predicate pronoun) Pedro looks tired. (predicate adjective)


1. Person denotes the identity of the subject. 2. Number denotes whether one or more persons or things are meant. 3. Voice denoted the performing or the receiving of an action.
The voice is active if the subject performs the action. The voice is passive if the subject receives the action

4. Mood denotes attitude toward or state expressed. The mood is indicative when a statement is presented as a fact. The mood is imperative when a statement is presented as a command. The mood is subjunctive when a statement is one of doubt or condition.

Laura speaks. (indicative) Speak, Laura. (imperative) If I were Laura (subjunctive)

5. Tense denotes time of action, telling whether action has taken place, is taking place or will take place.

There are six principal tenses: Present: I call, I am calling Past: I called, I was called Future: I shall call Present Perfect: I have called Past Perfect: I had called Future Perfect: I shall have called.

The present perfect is for actions completed in the present: I have answered this question. The past perfect, or pluperfect is for actions completed in the past. I had answered this question by the time you arrived. The future perfect is for action completed in the future: I will have answered this question by the time you arrive.

All tenses are formed from the principal parts of the verb, which are present, past, present participle, and past participle. The present principal part (call) is used for the present and future tenses: I call; I shall call. The past principal part (called) is used for the past tense: I called

The present participle (calling ) is used for the compound present, the compound past and the compound future; I am calling; I was calling; I shall be calling. The past participle (called) is used for the compound tenses; I have called; I shall have called.

(Weak verbs) form their past principal parts by adding ed or t; their participle by adding ing; and their perfect participle by adding ed or t.


Present Participle Past Participle

calling called


dreamed dreamt
dressed drest


dreamed dreamt
dressed drest

(Strong verbs) form their past tense and past participle by an internal vowel change; the present participle by adding ing.
eat sing

ate sang

Present Participle
eating singing

Past Participle
eaten sung





Auxiliary Verbs
Assist in forming the voices, moods and tenses of other verbs. They are nine in number: be, have, do, shall, will, may can, must, ought.

1. A verb agrees with its subject in number. 2. A compound subject that designates only one person or thing takes singular verb. 3. Compound subjects joined by, or, either or, neither nor, take verbs agreeing in number with the subject nearer the verb. 4. Compound subjects modified by each or every are regarded as singular and take a singular verb.

5. The number of a noun (singular or plural) in a phrase does not affect the number of the verb. The verb still agrees with the subject and not the phrase. 6. A singular subject followed by as well as, with, including, along with and together with still takes a singular verb. 7. When the impersonal pronoun it begins a sentence it is always followed by a singular verb.

8. The indefinite pronouns both, many, several and few take a plural verb. 9. The indefinite pronouns each, either, neither, someone, anyone, everyone and anybody take singular verbs. 10. The indefinite pronoun none ( a contraction of no one) is singular and takes a singular verb; context meaning, however, may occasionally require a plural verb.

11. Nouns plural in form but singular in use, such as billiards, civics, measles, molasses, mumps, mathematics, physics and politics, take a singular verb. 12. Singular nouns that denote pairs and have no singular form, such as pliers, scissors spectacles, tongs, trousers and tweezers take plural verbs.

13. Nouns that refer to a group or collection, such as class, dollars, years, miles, faculty, team committee and board of trustees, take a singular verb when the group is considered a unit; plural verb when the members are thought of individually. 14. When the subject and predicate nominative differ in number, the verb agrees with the subject, not the predicate nominative.

15. Singular verbs are used with mathematic obstructions. 16. To express the simple future, shall is used in the first person singular and plural will in the second and third person singular and plural. 17. To express determination will is used in the first person singular and plural; shall in the second and third person singular and plural.

18. A relative pronoun assumes the person of its antecedent and the verb agrees with it accordingly. 19. The present tense is used for statements of permanents truth. 20. In dependent clauses introduced by if, or, as though, the verb were (subjunctive of the verb to be) is used with all the persons to express a condition contrary to fact.

21. When narration in the past tense is interrupted for reference to a preceding event, use the past perfect tense. 22. The past tense and the past participle of irregular verbs should not be confused. The perfect tenses always have some form of the verb to have before the past participle.