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Grammar Guide 6 - Verb Tenses


Myr

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Welcome to the next topic in our fun Grammar Guide series.

This week are are hopping into the fun world of English Verb Tenses.  English has three basic verb tenses:

  • Past - actions that occurred in the past
  • Present - actions that are occurring at the moment
  • Future - actions that will occur in the future.

In English, these 3 basic verb tenses each have 4 aspects and this means, (if you're keeping up with the math), 12 verb tenses.

  • Simple - actions that are usual or repeated
  • Progressive - actions that are ongoing
  • Perfect - actions that are completed
  • Perfect Progressive - actions that will be completed at a definitive time

Study Library GIF by Webster University

Examples:

  • Past
    • Simple - I walked to the library
    • Progressive - I was walking to the library
    • Perfect - I had walked to the library
    • Perfect Progressive - I had been walking to the library.
  • Present
    • Simple - I walk to the library.
    • Progressive - I am walking to the library.
    • Perfect - I have walked to the library.
    • Prefect Progressive - I have been walking to the library.
  • Future
    • Simple - I will walk to the library.
    • Progressive - I will be walking to the library.
    • Perfect - I will have walked to the library.
    • Perfect Progressive - I will have been walking to the library.

Walking Silly Walks GIF by Monty Python

Important Take Away

In English, only two verb tenses can be formed from the verb by itself: past and present.  All other tenses require a form of have, will, or be as a helping or auxiliary verb.

Cool Tip from the Infographic Guide to Grammar -

Test your verb tenses by starting your intended sentence with Yesterday, Today, or Tomorrow, to check your past, present, and future tenses respectively.

"Today, I walk to the library." "Yesterday, I walked to the library." "Tomorrow, I will walk to the library"

  • References:
    • Kern, Jara. (2020). The Infographic Guide to Grammar. Adams Media
    • Venolia, Jan. (2001). Write Right! (4th ed.). Ten Speed Press
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3 hours ago, Carlos Hazday said:

I tend to change those while editing.

You're not the only one, right @Valkyrie? She has been doing that for years. Um...

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7 minutes ago, Aditus said:

You're not the only one, right @Valkyrie? She has been doing that for years. Um...

great minds...

I blame @Mann Ramblings because he did it to me all the time when I started writing. (Sorry, couldn't resist.) :)

 

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4 hours ago, Mrsgnomie said:

I can’t even.

How about, by the time I enter the library you will have been walking to it for at least two hours? *confused*

Anyway, as far as I know we don't have a proper progressive anything only in dialects. Where I live we actually have one  and if I tried I could form a future perfect progressive  er.. thing but my former teacher would

oh no facepalm GIF by Bundesliga

 

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7 hours ago, Aditus said:

You're not the only one, right @Valkyrie? She has been doing that for years. Um...

:yes: :yes:  :yes:  And it's not just you :gikkle:  :hug:  

10 hours ago, Carlos Hazday said:

I do have a phobia about using forms of start in conjunction with verbs. I tend to change those while editing. My comment is always let the character do something instead of always saying they started walking, started talking, started thinking.....

A thousand times this!  I always say the character is doing the action, not starting it.  IMO the only acceptable use of 'starting' an action is if it's interrupted or stopped.  Then the word "start" actually serves a purpose vs being a filler word.  

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8 hours ago, Mann Ramblings said:

That's because it bugged me so much... 😂

I learned my lesson. It now bugs me too. :P

 

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