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What are “verb tenses”
“Verb Tense” is a combination of “time” and
“aspect” of an action.
● “time” refers to past and present--some
would include future
● “aspect” refers to simple, progressive, and
Time in Verb Tense
The time in verb tense is mainly present and past.
Future time is shown by using will (a modal) or be
going to/be V+ing (progressive forms)
NOTE: The first word in the verb phrase will show
Most present time verbs use the base form.
● walk→ I walk everyday.
● have→ We have seen it
He, she, and it subjects add an -s/-es to the verb.
● walk→ She walks everyday.
● be→ He is working right now.
Past time phrases are noted by adding -ed (or
using an irregular form)
Future is usually noted by using the modal will
or the progressive be going to
walk→ will walk
[be] going to walk
Future Time pt 2
However, it is important to understand that future can be
implied in a number of ways.
We can go there tomorrow.
They are meeting next Wednesday.
Aspects of Verbs
The three aspects of verbs include:
NOTE: Perfect and Progressive may be used
together (i.e., “perfect progressive”).
Simple aspect will not modify the main verb.
Only the rules of time will apply.
This is used to state basic information such as
facts, beliefs, knowledge, opinions, etc.
Present is used to talk about:
o She studies two hours a day.
o They will meet on weekends.
● statements of fact/opinion
o We lived in Hawaii.
o The sun is a star.
o I like pizza.
Progressive aspect focus on the action in the
verb. It refers to a state-of-being at the time of
Form: [be] + main verb (present participle)
walk→ am walking, is walking, are walking,
were walking, was walking
Progressive is used to talk about:
● at the time:
o We are working on a project right now.
o Last night, they were dancing at the party.
● state of being:
o He is being so annoying!
o I was feeling kind of tired.
Perfect forms focus on possible completion of
an action. Perfect verbs will have a start and
Form: [have] + main verb (past participle)
walk→ have walked, has walked, had walked
Perfect aspect is used to talk about:
o We have won!
o They have built a new headquarters downtown.
● events in the past
o After I had eaten lunch, my friends invited me to join
Perfect Progressive combines focus on action
with a sense of possible completion.
Form: [have] + been + main verb (present
walk→ have been walking, has been walking,
had been walking
Perfect Progressive Usage
Perfect Progressive is used to talk about:
● recently completed
o I have been looking for you.
o She has been preparing for her driving test.
● new habits
o He has been running every morning.
Verbs will always follow the same pattern.
Any verbs that are used will have a specific effect on the
verb that follows.
All variants are optional, except the main verb.
The first word will indicate the time frame.
Modal (followed by the base form)
Perfect (followed by the past participle)
Progressive (followed by the present
Passive* (followed by the past
*Passive is not discussed in this presentation.
Examples of Verb Order
I am walking.
I have been walking.
I could have been
She can jog.
She might be jogging.
She would have
She may have been
Key Points to Remember
● Tense = Time Frame + Aspect
● Verbs must be applied in a specific order.
● The first word in the Verb Phrase will
indicate the Time Frame.