All about Grammar-Part 3 (Verb tenses)

VERBS

Verb is an essential component of a sentence. A sentence is not complete without a verb and its subject. Typically, verbs denote the action performed by the subject.

For example:
The clock ticks all day long.
“ticks” is an action verb here as the clock is the doer of the action. The clock does the action of ticking.
The beggar sat down by the side of the road.
“sat down” is the action verb here and doer of this action is the subject of the sentence – “the beggar”.
On several occasions, verbs instead of presenting action of the subject, simply connect the subject to some other additional information about the subject. In such cases they are called linking verbs.

LINKING VERBS

Verbs can also connect or link the subject to additional information about this subject. Such verbs are called linking verbs. For example:
My mother is a great cook.
The verb “is” does not denote an action. But it connects the subject of the sentence – “My mother” – to some additional information about her – a great cook. After getting the news that she had made it to her dream college, Rachael became very happy.
The verb “become” again does not denote any action, but it connects “Rachael”, the subject of the sentence, with the remaining information about her.

HOW TO RECOGNIZE LINKING VERB?

IF YOU CAN REPLACE A VERB IN THE SENTENCE WITH IS, AM, OR ARE AND THE SENTENCE STILL MAKES SENSE, THEN THOSE VERBS ARE LINKING VERBS.

For example:
The question looked difficult to everybody in the class.
Let’s replace “looked” with “is” – The question is difficult. This makes all sense. Hence “looked” is a linking verb in this sentence. Furthermore, it will not make sense to consider the question actually performing the action of “looking”. The sense of the sentence here is that the question actually appeared difficult to everyone in the class.
Josh looked at the question until he solved it in his brain.
So can we say, Josh is the question? Not at all. Hence, “looked” in this sentence is an action verb. In fact in this sentence it will make complete sense to say that Josh is actually performing the action of “looking”.

VERB TENSES Next we will see how different verb forms are created from the base form of the verb.

The tense of the verb denotes the time of the action. The tense can be divided into three categories – Present Tense, Past Tense, and Future Tense.

PRESENT TENSE

The verb that refers to present time is called the verb in Present Tense. For example:
Harry goes to a wizard school.
Ria is working hard on her project.
Present Tense can be further divided into four main sub-categories:

SIMPLE PRESENT TENSE

This tense is used to present general information or universal truths that hold true for all times. It is also used to express habitual actions. For example:
The sun rises in the east. (Universal Truth)
My mother always prepares breakfast for me. (Habitual Action)
The company gives handsome perks to diligent employees. (General Information)

PRESENT PROGRESSIVE/CONTINUOUS TENSE

This tense is used to show an action that has begun, is still happening, and is not finished yet. Since the action is still continuing and not over, it is called the continuous tense. Generally, the present continuous tense is derived by adding “ing” to the base verb. A point to remember here is that only the verb-ing word does not make the continuous tense. The verb-ing word must be preceded by a present tense helping verb to make the verb in present continuous. Let’s take examples here:
Stella is explaining her project to the investors.
The managers are looking for people for a number of vacant posts in the company.
I am cooking dinner early so that I can watch my favorite show.
The verbs in all the above three sentences are “is explaining”, “are looking”, and “am cooking”. Notice that if we used only “explaining”, “looking”, or “cooking” in these sentences, they would not qualify as verbs in the absence of the helping verbs “is”, “are”, and “am” respectively. These helping verbs actually show the tense of the action.

HENCE, IN PRESENT CONTINUOUS TENSE, THE VERB-ING WORD MUST BE PRECEDED BY IS/ARE/AM.

PRESENT PERFECT TENSE

This tense is used to denote two kinds of action, action
that has finished in the immediate past.

For example:
She has just finished her breakfast.
They have just gone out.
that has finished in the past but the effect of which continues in the present.

The present perfect tense verbs are written with “has” or “have”. However, these words in themselves are not present perfect verbs. To be so, they must be followed by the verb in its participle form. The verbs in all the above mentioned examples follow this structure.
SO “HAS” OR “HAVE” TOGETHER WITH THE PARTICIPLE FORM OF VERB MAKES THE PRESENT PERFECT TENSE.
If “has” or “have” is used just by itself and is not followed by a verb in its participle form, then it works as simple present tense verb.
I have lots of chores to finish. (Simple Present Tense)
He has your book. (Simple Present Tense)
PRESENT PERFECT CONTINUOUS TENSE

This tense is used to present an action that started sometime in the past and is still continuing in the present. This tense is a mix of present continuous and present perfect tense and hence uses the following structure:
Joe has been sleeping since morning.
They have been playing all afternoon.

PAST TENSE

The verbs that denote that the actions took place in the past are said to be the verbs written in past tense. For example:
John went to school yesterday.
Gina prayed before she slept.
Past Tense can be further divided into four main sub-categories:
SIMPLE PAST TENSE

This tense is used to present general information about the actions that started in the past and finished in the past as well. We also use this tense to talk about past habits. For example:
Many freedom fighters gave their lives, fighting for the independence of their country.
Mary practiced for 12 hours every day before her first performance.
PAST PROGRESSIVE/CONTINUOUS TENSE

This tense is used to show an action that was happening in the past. The time of the action may be or may not be indicated.
Like the present continuous tense, the past tense is also derived by adding “ing” to the base verb. A point to remember here is that only the verb-ing word does not make the continuous tense. The verb-ing word must be preceded by a past tense helping verb to create the verb in past continuous.

Let’s take examples here:
Roy was playing football with his younger brother.
The managers were looking for people for a number of vacant posts in the company.
The verbs in all the above three sentences are “was playing”, “were looking”, and “was reading”.
Notice that if we used only “playing”, “looking”, or “reading” in these sentences, they would not qualify as verbs in the absence of the helping verbs “was”, “were”, and “was” respectively. These helping verbs actually show the tense of the action.

HENCE, IN PAST CONTINUOUS TENSE, THE VERB-ING WORD MUST BE PRECEDED BY WAS/WERE.

PAST PERFECT TENSE

This tense describes action that was completed before a certain moment in the past:
I had met Julia before she moved to England.
My great grandfather had given this watch to my grandfather before he died.
The past perfect tense verbs are always written with “had”. However, this word in itself is not a past perfect verb. To be so, “had” must be followed by the verb in its participle form. The verbs in the above mentioned examples follow this structure. So “had” together with the participle form of verb makes the past perfect tense.
If “had” is used just by itself and is not followed by a verb in its participle form, then it works as simple past tense verb.
I had your book last week but not anymore. (Simple Past Tense)
The team had great respect for its former coach. (Simple Past Tense)
PAST PERFECT CONTINUOUS TENSE

This tense is used to present an action that started sometime before a certain point the past and continued up to that time. This tense is a mix of past continuous and past perfect tense and hence uses the following structure:
When Prof Roy joined the institute, Prof Sen had already been teaching there for six years.
At that time, he had already been working on his fifth book for three months.

FUTURE TENSE

In order to talk about the events that are to place sometime in the future, we use Future Tense. We used “will” or “shall” to indicate the future tense.
Ria’s performance will take place sometime next month.
Tomorrow, you will get your flu shot.
Like Present and Past Tenses, Future Tense can also be divided into four sub-categories.
SIMPLE FUTURE TENSE

This tense is used talk about the general events that will take place in the future. We also use future tense for events that we think or believe will take place in the future.
I think John will also participate in the annual marathon this time.
Mary will be excellent in her singing recital.
FUTURE PROGRESSIVE/CONTINUOUS TENSE

This tense is used to show an action that will begin in sometime in the future and will continue in the future as well.
Like the present and past continuous tenses, the future continuous tense is also derived by adding “ing” to the base verb. The verb-ing word must be preceded by a future tense helping verb to create the verb in future continuous tense. Let’s take examples here:
Roy will be playing football with his younger brother.
The managers will be looking for people for a numbers of vacant posts in the company.
The verbs in the above sentences are “will be playing” and “will be looking”. Notice that if we used only “playing” or “looking” in these sentences, they would not qualify as verbs in the absence of the helping verbs “will be” or “shall be”. These helping verbs actually show the tense of the action. Hence, in present continuous tense, the verb-ing word MUST BE PRECEDED by will/shall be.
FUTURE PERFECT TENSE

This tense is used to talk about an action that will be completed by a certain future time. For example:
I will have finished my breakfast when he comes to pick me 8 am tomorrow.
The authorities will have released the results by tomorrow evening.
FUTURE PERFECT CONTINUOUS TENSE

This tense is used to present an action that will be in progress over a period of time that will end in the future. For example:
When Prof Roy arrives at the meeting, Prof Sen will have already been finishing his speech.
By the winters this year, he will have been working on his fifth novel.

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