• Verbs

    Main & Helping Verbs

    • Main Verbs- Express action or being in a sentence.

    • Helping Verbs- Work with the main verb but do not show action.

    • Verb Phrase- A verb that is made up of more than one word.

       Example: The large door has been locked for several days.


    Common Helping Verbs

























    Note: Sometimes the helping verb in on sentence is the main verb in another.



    Main Verb

    Helping Verb


    I did my school work.

    I did wait for you today.


    Bob has it.

    Bob has taken that class before.

    Direct Objects

    • Direct Objects are words that tell who or what receives the action.

          - found after the main action verb.

              Ex: The museum guide described the pyramids.

            - In some sentences the direct object is compound.

              Ex: Jason enjoyed the soup and bread at dinner.

    Note: To find the direct object, find the main verb and ask who or what receives the action.  The direct object will be directly after the verb - either it's a noun/pronoun or an article (the, a, an).  Prepositional phrases are NOT direct objects.  They usually answer the question where.

    • Preposition - the word that shows the relationship between a noun and a pronoun and some other words in a sentence.  

    Common Prepositions
    above as beyond into
    about at by near
    across before down of
    after behind during over
    against beneath for past
    along besides from through
    around between in  
    to under up below
    toward until with on

    Transitive & Intransitive Verbs

    • Transitive verb - has a direct object, or a receiver of the action.

            Ex: Carter opened the coffin.

                The mummy amazed him.

    • Intransitive verb - has no direct object.

            Ex: The other men watched silently.

                   The coffin sparkled in the light.

           Being Verbs & Linking Verbs

    • Being Verb - shows a state of being / does not show action, instead it shows what the subject is about or is like.

    • Linking Verb - a word that links the subject to the predicate to tell more about it.

           Ex:  Mr. Waters feels happy. (The word feels is the being verb.  It does not show action, but explains how Mr. Waters is at the time.)

          Ex:  He had been a teacher for over twenty years.  (The verb phrase is had been.  It does not show action, but links the subject, 'He',  to the predicate, 'teacher'.)

    • Predicate Noun - renames or identifies the subject

          Ex:  Mrs. Horvath is our teacher. (Mrs. Horvath = teacher)

                                                                    subject            noun

    • Predicate Adjective - describes the subject.

           Ex:  Mrs. Horvath was happy today. (Mrs. Horvath = happy)

                                                                          subject          adjective

    • Linking Verbs can include helping verbs.

           Ex:  will become, has appeared

    • Being Verbs can be used as helping verbs.

           Ex:  was moved, were studying

    • Some verbs can be either linking verbs or action verbs.

           Ex:  Action - Mrs. Horvath looked at the student mural.

                 Linking - The design looked colorful and creative.

    Simple Verb Tenses

    • Tense- tells when the action or the state of being takes place

    • Present Tense- happening now

    • Past Tense- already happened
      - Usually formed by adding -ed

    • Future Tense- going to happen
      -Usually formed with the helping verb will or shall

    Rules for Forming Verb Tenses

    Present Tense

    When the subject is singular

    Add –s to most verbs

    Ex: run – Luis runs

    To make a verb that ends in s, x, z, ch, or sh singular

    Add –es

    Ex: watch – He watches

    To make a verb that ends in a consonant and y singular

    Change the y to an i and add –es

    Ex: cry – Aki cries

    When the subject is plural

    Do not change the form of the verb

    Ex: hurry – They hurry

    Past Tense

    For most verbs

    Add –ed

    Ex: talk -- talked

    When a short verb ends in a consonant

    Double the consonant and add – ed

    Ex: bat -- batted

    When a verb ends in e

    Drop the e and add –ed

    Ex: hope -- hoped

    When a verb ends in a consonant and y

    Change the y to i and add –ed

    Ex: try -- tried

    Future Tense

    Use the basic form of the verb

    Add the helping verb will or shall

    Ex: hop – will hop

    fly – shall fly

    Principal Parts


    • Principal Parts of a verb are not verb tenses themselves, but simply the basic parts that we use to form all different tenses.
    • All the tenses of a verb come from 4 basic forms or principal parts of the verb.
    • Present and past participles are always used with a helping verb.


    Principal Parts of Verbs


    Present Participle


    Past Participle


    (is) working


    (has) worked


    (is) sharing


    (has) shared


    (is) crying


    (has) cried


    (is) hopping


    (has) hopped

    • Present Participle – uses is and –ing
    • Past Participle – uses has and -ed

    Perfect Tenses


    • Perfect Tenses – formed with the helping verb have and a past participle (-ed)
    • Forms of have: has, had, will have
      • Present Perfect Tense – action that took place at an indefinite time in the past, the action may still be going on

    Ex: The band has played two songs.

      • Past Perfect Tense – action in the past that was completed before another action took place

    Ex: The band had played two songs before you arrived.

      • Future Perfect Tense – action that will be completed before another action in the future

                 Ex: The band will have played many more songs before the 

                       concert ends.           

    Subject-Verb Agreement

    A verb and its subject must agree in number.

    The horse eats oats. (Subject? Singular/Plural? Verb?)


    • Singular subject = singular verb

    Ex: The dog plays.

    • Plural subject = plural verb

    Ex: The dogs play.

    • Compound subjects joined by ‘and’ = plural verb

    Ex: The dog and cat play.

    • Singular verbs in present tense = end in –s or –es

    Ex: The girls dance.

    • Unless the singular subject is ‘I’ or ‘you‘ = does not end in –s or –es

    Ex: I dance.

    Agreement with the Verb ‘be’


    Verb – present

    Verb - past



    I am well today.


    I was sick yesterday.

    he, she, it, and all singular nouns


    The cat is playful.


    She was hungry.

    we, you, they, and all plural nouns


    We are cousins.


    They were teammates.

    Neither French fries nor a salad sounds good. (Subject?)

    Either a dollar or quarters work in the pinball machine.

    More RULES

    • If a compound subject is joined by:




      • make the verb agree with the subject that is closer to it.

    Ex: Books or magazines were always on the table.

    • Use a singular verb if both parts of a compound subject are singular. If one part is singular and one part is plural, make the verb agree with the subject that is closer to it.

    Ex: One boy and two girls jump in the pool.

    Neither Angelica nor her friends like swim.

    Either the dogs or the cat belongs to her.

    • Sentences that begin with ‘here’ or ‘there’ = find the subject and make the verb agree with it.

    Ex: Here is the index. (What is here?)

    There are the missing birthday cards. (What is



    • Contraction = formed by combining two words and shortening one of them. An apostrophe (‘) will take the place of the letter or letters left out.
    • An apostrophe and s (‘s) can stand for is or has.
    • Only the part of the contraction that is a verb is part of a verb phrase. The word not and the contracted form n’t are never part of a verb phrase.

    Ex: He’ll mix the soup carefully. (verb phrase = will


    Contractions Formed with not

    Isn’t (is not)

    Can’t (cannot)

    aren’t (are not)

    couldn’t (could not)

    wasn’t (was not)

    shouldn’t (should not)

    weren’t (were not)

    wouldn’t (would not)

    won’t (will not)

    doesn’t (does not)

    don’t (do not)

    hasn’t (has not)

    didn’t (did not)

    haven’t (have not)