Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Verb tense

The Four Principal Parts of a Verb 

SimplePastPast ParticiplePresent Participle (-ing form)

Past Participle

The past participle form of a verb also expresses action that occurred in the past. However, unlike the past tense, the past participle indicates that the action is complete.

You can easily identify the past participle by putting the helping verb had before the verb and then choosing the correct form.

Regular verbs form the past partciple by adding -ed to the simple form, so the past tense and the past participle of a regular verb are the same.

Irregular verbs may form the past participle form by changing the spelling completely—or not at all!

Regular Verbs
SimplePastPast Participle
slipslipped(had) slipped
openopened(had) opened
typetyped(had) typed
Irregular Verbs
SimplePastPast Participle
drinkdrank(had) drunk
eatate(had) eaten
drivedrove(had) driven

Present Participle (-ing form)
The present participle describes action that is ongoing or continuing. The present participle is formed by adding -ing to the simple form. The present participle does not change regardless of whether the verb is regular or irregular.

 SimplePastPast ParticiplePresent Participle (-ing)
Regular Verbsopenopened(had) openedopening
typetyped(had) typedtyping
Irregular Verbseatate(had) eateneating
drivedrove(had) drivendriving

Here's a simple formula to help you identify the principal parts of any verb:

  • The simple form of the verb is the infinitive. Identify the simple form by placing the word to in front of the verb and choosing the correct form.
    • to skate
    • to bring
  • The past tense of the verb is easily discovered by contextualizing the verb in this sentence:
    Yesterday, I _________________.
    • Yesterday, I skated.
    • Yesterday, I brought cookies to class.
  • The past participle can be discovered by putting the helping verb had in front of the verb and choosing the correct form.
    • had skated
    • had brought
  • The present participle is formed by adding -ing to the simple form of the verb.
    • skating
    • bringing

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