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*Verb notes



*Verb Tenses




o   Present Tense:  Places action in the present.  Indicates something that is taking place at the time of speaking/writing or an action that occurs regularly.

§  Use the simple present form of the verb.

§  Examples:

·      I take notes.   (She takes notes regularly).

·      I understand your problem.  (Right now, I understand it).

o   Present Progressive: Shows actions are in progress now. Indicates continuing action that is taking place at the time of the speaking or writing. The main difference between simple present and present progressive is that the present progressive action is continuous.

§  Uses “are/am/is”, main verb will end in “ing”

§  Examples:

·      I am taking notes.

·      She is walking the dog.  

o   Past Tense:  Indicates an action that began and was completed in the past.

§  Examples:

·      I took notes last week. 

·      I walked the dog yesterday.

o   Past Progressive:  Indicates an action that began and was completed in the past. Shows that actions in the past were in progress. Indicates a continuing action occurring in the past or action occurring at the same time in the past as another action.

§  Use “were/was” & “ing” at the end of the main verb. 

§  Examples:

·      I was taking notes.  (Continuous action)

·      Bob was talking on his cell phone when he ran into a parked car.  ("Was talking" is the continuous action that was occurring when he ran [simple past tense] into a parked car.)

o   Future Tense:  Indicates actions that haven’t yet occurred.  

§  Uses “will”

§  Examples:

·      I will take notes in math class.

·      She will walk the dog.

o   Future Progressive: Shows that actions in the future will be continuing.   Indicates a continuing action in the future – either generally or at a specific time.

§  Use “will be” and “ing” form of the verb.

§  Examples:

·      I will be taking notes. (General, continuing future action)

·      Next week the company will be conducting orientation sessions for new employees. (Future continuing action in a specific time period. Note that there is little difference between simple future tense [will conduct] and future progressive, except that future progressive stresses the continuing nature of the activity.)



o   Present Perfect: Places action in the period of time leading up to the present. Indicates two types of continuing action – action that began in the past and is now finished or action that began in the past and continues in the present.

o   Use a helping verb (have, has) and the past participle form (-ed for regular verbs) of the verb. Examples:

§  I have taken notes to use for the test.   (The action started in the past and is now concluded.)

§  He has adored her since the day they met.  (The action continues – he adored her in the past and still does.). 

o   Past Perfect : Places the action before other past actions.   Indicates an action that occurred before a certain time in the past or an unfulfilled desire in the past.

o   Use the helping verb “had” and the past participle (-ed for regular verbs) form of the verb.

o   Examples:

§  I had taken notes the before the day of the quiz.  (Action that occurred before a specific time in the past).

§  I had hoped to graduate midyear. (Unfulfilled desire from the past)

o   Future Perfect: Places actions before other future actions. Indicates an action that will be finished at a certain future time or that one action will be finished before another occurs in the future.

o   Use the helping verb “will have” and the past participle (-ed for regular verbs) form of the verb.

o   Examples:

§  By the time I leave class, I will have taken notes.  (Action will be finished at a specific future time.)

§  By the time you get dinner on the table I will have died of starvation. (One action – dying – will occur before another – getting dinner on table.).


·      Agreement in Number

o   A singular verb takes a singular subject.

§  Example: 

·      The boy follows a trail.

o   A plural subject takes a plural verb.

§  Example: 

·      The boys follow a trail.

o   In a sentence with a verb phrase, the first helping verb must agree with the subject.

§  Examples:

·      The boy has been following the trail.

·      The boys have been following the trail.

o   Most nouns that end is s or es are plural.   However, most verbs that end in s are singular.


·      Indefinite Pronouns as Subjects

o   An indefinite pronouns does not refer to a specific person, place, or thing.   Some are always singular, some are always plural, and others vary depending on how they’re used.

o   Singular indefinite pronouns take singular nouns.

§  Example:

·      Neither of the books I wanted was in the library.

o   Plural indefinite pronouns take plural verbs.

§  Example:

·      Many of the videotapes are new.

o   All, any, most, none, & some can be singular or plural.  

§  If the pronoun refers to a single person or thing, it takes a singular verb.

§  Example:

·        All of the reading list was approved.

§  If it refers to more than one person or thing, it takes a plural verb.

§  Example:

·      All of these books were approved.  

Always singular

another       each            everything         nothing       something

anybody      either           neither             one

anyone        everybody    nobody              somebody

anything      everyone      no one              someone

Always plural

both            few              many                several

Singular or plural

all               any               most                none            some