Verb Forms

The verb is considered to be the action words in a sentence. It describes the action of the subject. It constitutes the main part of the sentence, along with nouns. It describes the situation which is taking place. Without a verb, it is not possible to express a person’s action.

Let it be like Raja sings, here sings is the verb which describes the action done by Raja. There are three tenses –Present, Past, and Future, which describes any action appropriately in a sentence. These tenses are formed from verb formsVerb forms help to determine the tenses. 

What are Verb forms?

Verb forms are generally used to form the tenses. English may have complicated a bit in the form of tenses, but it’s just the opposite in the case of verb forms. There are five types of verb forms in the English language. It is quite less in comparison to French, which has more than 30 types of verb forms. In the case of helping verbs in English, it’s even lesser as most of them never change. Though, the word “be” is an exception which has eight forms of verb – be, was, were, been, being, am, is, are. 

Types of Verb forms – 

There are mainly five types of verb forms in English. The types of verb forms are- 

1. Base form – The base form of the verb is also known as root form. It does not include any prefixes or suffixes. It is not conjugated. The base form is the same as infinitive form with just “to” removed from it. It is without endings such as –s, -ing and -ed. The base form is important because it forms the various components of tenses. There may be few instances too where the base form is the same as the other forms such as “let,” its past form or past participle form is also “let,” which is the same as the base form. This acts as a starting point to learn complex rules and exceptions of different verb forms. The base form applies to all versions of the present tense except the third person singular form. 

Some of the examples of the base form are (underlined words are the base forms) – 

  • I play 
  • They concur
  • It is easier to fight for one’s principles rather than live up to them. – (Alfred Adler)
  • She demands that you be silent. 

2. Infinitive form – This is a form of the verb in the basic form. This form is usually preceded by “to” though, it is not always compulsory. This can be used as an adjective, adverb, or noun, depending on the sentence. Infinite form means non-finite verbs. The infinitives are not preceded by “to” when there is – “can, could, may, might, must, shall, should, will or would” before the verb. If the infinitives follow any other verb, then also “to” is not added.

Some examples of the Infinitive forms of the verb are (Underlined words are the Infinitive forms of the verb) – 

  • Friends give you total freedom to be yourself. (Jim Morrison)
  • Sins, like chickens, come home to roost. (Charles W. Chesnut)
  • To sing was her passion.

3. Present Participle Form – This form of verb uses “-ing” with the base of the word. Mostly, it performs as an adjective. Though, it performs as a subject in construction or verb. It uses the auxiliary form “be” to express a continuous aspect. 

Some examples of Present Participle are (Underlined words are Present Participle Form) – 

  • He is working.
  • Watching TV, she forgot everything else. 
  • The crying girl laid down on the couch. 

4. Past Form – This form is used to express simple past tense. This form is dependent on whether the verb is regular or irregular. Regular verbs coverts into past form by simply adding “-ed” or “-d.” Though, there is no prescribed way of conversion for irregular verbs. 

Some of the examples of Past form (Underlined words are the Past form) –

  • I caught a fish.
  • I looked at the sea.
  • I saw a beautiful bird.

5. Past Participle Form – This can be used as adjectives or even used to form verb tenses. The past participle form is the same as of simple past tense in case of a regular verb. Though, in the case of irregular verbs, it is formed in different ways. 

Some examples of Past Participle form (Underlined words are the Past Participle Form) –

  • I had broken the chair.
  • Scandal is made tedious by morality. (Oscar Wilde)
  • The boy taken to hospital has recovered.
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