Learning Verbs

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Verbs

Errors in the use of verb can be studied under the following headings:

i) Errors in the use of tense

ii) Errors in the use of voice

iii)Errors committed in the spitting form

iv) Errors in the use of moods

v) Errors due to the disagreement between the subject and the verb

vi) Other miscellaneous errors

A. Errors in the use of tense:

The Verb Tenses may be categorised according to the time frame.

  • Present Tense
  • Past Tense
  • Future Tense

The Verb Tenses may also be categorised according to aspect.

Aspect refers to the nature of the action described by the verb. There are four aspects

  • Indefinite or simple
  • continuous or progressive
  • perfect
  • perfect continuous
  • Basic rules for tenses

Basic Rules

Abbreviation used:

S = Subject;           O = object;             V1 = First form of the verb;

V2 = Second form of the verb;             V3 = Third form of the verb

Simple Present:

  • If subject is singular S + V1 + s/es + O

Alec sells cakes

  • If subject is plural S + V1 + O

Children perform on the stage.

Present Continuous :

  • If subject is singular S + is/am + V1 + ing + O

He is drinking milk.

  • If subject is plural S + are  + V1 + ing + O

They are drinking milk.

(‘am’ is used with ‘I’ ;  ‘ is’ is used with ‘ he/ she’ ; ‘are’ is used with  ‘ we/ they/ you’)

Present Perfect :

  • If the subject is singular S + has + V3 + O

He has finished his work.

  • If the subject is plural S + have + V3 + O

They have finished their work.

Present Perfect Continuous :

  • If subject is singular S + has + been + V1 + ing + since/ for +O

She has been teaching for four hours.

  • If subject is plural S + have + been + V1 + ing + since/ for +O

Simple Past :

Whether the subject is singular or plural, rule remains the same.                 S + V2+ O

John bought two chairs.

Past Continuous :

  • If subject is singular S + was + V1 + ing + O

He was eating fruits.

  • If subject is plural S + were + V1 + ing +  O

They were flying kites.

Past Perfect :

Whether the subject is singular or plural, rule remains the same.   S + had +V3 + O

He had killed the snake.

Past Perfect Continuous

Whether the subject is singular or plural, rule remains the same.

S + had + been V1 + ing + since / for +O

They had been talking for over an hour.

Simple Future

Whether the subject is singular or plural, rule remains the same.

S + will / shall + V1 + O

She will go there in the evening.

Future Continuous

Whether the subject is singular or plural, rule remains the same.

S + will / shall + be + V1 + ing + O

The will be running tomorrow.

Future Perfect

Whether the subject is singular or plural, rule remains the same.

S + will/ shall + have + V3 + O

Tom will have finished the work.

Future Perfect Continuous

Whether the subject is singular or plural, rule remains the same.

S  + will / shall + have + been + V1 + ing + O

Jane will have been dancing on the stage tomorrow.

Common errors

Some speakers think that if they change the intonation on the last word in statements, they may sound like questions.

They are leaving for the UK?    Incorrect

          Jovitha is from Delhi.                Incorrect

[ Note that, This is not the righty way of asking questions.]

Simple present used in questions:

When the subject is he/she/it ; then use this structure:

He/She/It eats meat Does he/she it feel hot?  why does he/she/it  not feel cold?

When the subject is I/you/we/they; then use this structure:

 I/ you we they like Delhi       Do I/ you/we/they like Kolkata?

Why do I/ you/we they  like Delhi?

You live in this city?                                 Incorrect

Do you live in this city?                           correct

Which college you study in?                    Incorrect

Which college do you study in?               Correct

When she leave for work?                        Incorrect

When does she leave for work?               Correct

‘has’ or ‘have’ cannot be used in their continuous form to indicate possession.

I am having a car.                                     Incorrect

I have a car.                                     `         Correct

They are having two houses.                   Incorrect

They have two houses                               Correct

Use the simple past instead of the verb without to in negative sentences.

They did not liked the drama.                 Incorrect

They did not like the drama.                    Correct

She didn’t stayed in a hotel.                     Incorrect

She didn’t  stay in  a hotel.                        Correct

Do not use adverbials like yesterday, this afternoon, on Monday, in June, 2011, etc. with the present perfect tense. They are usually used with the simple past not with the present perfect.

I have seen him yesterday.               Incorrect

I saw him yesterday.                          Correct

She has joined the school in 2011    Incorrect

She  joined the school in  2011.         Correct

Practice Exercise

 Directions : (Q. Nos. 1 – 25 )  In this section a number of sentences are given. The sentences are divided into four  separate parts and each one is labelled  (a), (b) ,(c).and (d).  Read each sentences to find out whether there is an error in any one of the parts. No sentence has more than one error. When you find an error in any one of the parts (a),(b) and (c), indicate your response on the separate Answer Sheet. You may  sometimes feel that there is no error in a sentence. In that case option (e) will signify the response.

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