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Lesson 6: Verb Tense

Verbs tell us the time that an action in a sentence happened. The time that a verb shows is called tense. The most common tenses in the English Language are past tense, present tense and future tense.

Examples of Verb Tenses
Past Tense - it already happened Yesterday, I played outside.
Present Tense - it is happening right now I am playing outside.
Future Tense - it has yet to happen Tomorrow I will play outside.
  • We usually make the past tense by adding "d" or "ed" to the verb root word.
    Example; Hannah talked to her friend.

  • Some verbs have irregular past tenses.
    Example; Hannah told him about her holiday. We do not add "d" or "ed" to the irregular past tense verb, but change the spelling. Tell becomes told not telled.

  • We also make the past tense by using the verb "to be" and add "ing" word.
Examples of Verb Tense To Be
Root word Present tense Past tense Future tense
To be is/ am/ are was/ were will/shall
More Verb Tense Examples
Past Tense; She was talking to her friends. Was is the verb "to be". Talking is the verb root word.
Present Tense; I walk to school. We make the present tense by using the verb root word or the verb "to be", am and an "ing" word, walking.
Present Tense; I am walking to school.
Future Tense; I will go tomorrow.

We make the future tense by using the verb "to be" and the verb root word.

Will is the verb "to be". Go is the verb root word.

Verb Tense - Regular Verbs

Examples of Regular Verb Tenses
Root word Past tense Present tense Future tense
Walk I walked. I walk. I will walk.
Walk plus to be I was walking. I am walking. I will walk.
Help I helped. I help. I will help.
Learn I learned. I learn. I will learn.
Learn plus to be I was learning. I am learning I will learn.

Verb Tense - Irregular Verbs

Irregular verbs do not follow the spelling pattern of regular Verbs and some irregular verbs do not change their spelling at all.
Examples of Irregular Verbs Not Following the Spelling Pattern
Root word Past tense Present tense Future tense
Write I wrote. I write. I shall write.
Write plus to be They were writing. They are writing. They will write.
Grow It grew. It grows . It will grow.
Teach She taught. She teaches . She will teach.
Teach plus to be We were teaching. We are teaching. We shall teach.
Think He thought. He thinks. He will think.
Examples of Irregular Verbs That Do Not Change their Spelling
Root word Past tense Present tense Future tense
cost It cost It cost. It will cost
hit They were hitting. They are hitting. They will hit.
read It read. It reads . It will read.
let She let. She lets . She will let.
put We were putting. We are putting. We shall put.
shut He shut. He shuts. He will shut.

Click here for next lesson (Past Tense Verbs) Next lesson on linking verbs

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Writing Tip

The verb is the word that indicates the time that the event is occurring. It may be happening in the present tense, past tense or future tense.