Verbs

 

Irr: irregular verbs. VT: verb tense.
Part: -ed suffix.

1. Sh or VT sh: shifting tenses.

VTR or VI: transitive and intransitive verbs.

2. Past perf: past perfect.

VS: subjunctive mood. PV: passive voice.


Irr: use the correct form of irregular verbs.

WRONG: School begun. He has wrote to me.

RIGHT: School began. He has written to me.

The list below shows the irregular forms that most often cause errors. If a word marked on your paper is not in the list, look it up in the dictionary.

infinitive

past

past participle

infinitive

past

past participle

awaken

awakened

awakened

lead

led

led

bear

bore

borne

lend

lent

lent

beat

beat

beaten

lie

lay

lain

begin

began

begun

pay

paid

paid

blow

blew

blown

prove

proved

proved, proven

break

broke

broken

ride

rode

ridden

build

built

built

rise

rose

risen

burst

burst

burst

run

ran

run

choose

chose

chosen

see

saw

seen

cost

cost

cost

set

set

set

dive

dived, dove

dived

shake

shook

shaken

do

did

done

shine

shined, shone

shined, shone

draw

drew

drawn

sing

sang

sung

drink

drank

drunk

slay

slew

spoken

drive

drove

driven

speak

spoke

stolen

eat

ate

eaten

steal

stole

stolen

forgive

forgave

forgiven

swear

swore

sworn

get

got

gotten

swim

swam

swum

give

gave

given

tear

tore

torn

hang (suspend)

hung

hung

throw

threw

thrown

hang (execute)

hanged

hanged

wake

woke, waked

woken, waked

lay

laid

laid

write

wrote

written

Grammar Tip: All verbs have three principal parts:

infinitive: [to] cook past tense: cooked past participle: [has] cooked

Many verbs are irregular; they do not merely add -ed to form the past tense and past participle:

REGULAR: invite, invited, invited row, rowed, rowed cry, cried, cried
IRREGULAR: write, wrote, written know, knew, known fly, flew, flown

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Part: do not omit the -ed suffix from past participles:

WRONG: a world-renown artist. I use to think so. What am I suppose to do?
RIGHT: a world-renowned artist. I used to think so. What am I supposed to do?

Grammar Tip: Participles are verb forms that act as adjectives.

PAST PARTICIPLES: We had a heated discussion. I prefer my pie heated.

PRESENT PARTICIPLES: Running water sounds soothing. I hear water running.

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VTR or VI: do not confuse transitive and intransitive verbs. Transitive verbs must have direct objects; intransitive verbs must not.

WRONG: to grow the company. RIGHT: to make the company grow.
WRONG: He applied Yale. RIGHT: He applied to Yale.

Dictionaries use the abbreviations vt. and vi., or trans. and intrans. The Keables Guide uses "VTR" to avoid confusion with the code for verb tense.

Grammar Tips: Usually transitive verbs are followed by nouns and intransitive verbs are not. Sometimes, however, the direct object is understood:

VTR: I ate dinner. VI: I slept. VTR (UNDERSTOOD OBJECT): I ate.

Many verbs can be both transitive and intransitive:

VTR: Time heals all wounds. Sun melts ice.
VI: In time, wounds heal. Ice melts.

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VT: use the correct verb tense. Know the tenses:

SIMPLE PERFECT PROGRESSIVE
PRESENT I go. I have gone. I am going.
PAST I went. I had gone. I was going.
FUTURE I will go. I will have gone. I will be going.

Two errors of verb tense are common:

1. Sh or VT sh: do not shift tenses. If you have shifted tense, you must change all the incorrect verbs when you correct your paper. Note the tense shift at discovers:

INCONSISTENT: With wide eyes Kitty watched the unsuspecting duck and crept toward it. Pouncing upon her prey, Kitty discovers that the duck is made of rubber.

2. Past perf: do not use past tense when you need past perfect.

WRONG: Her parents said she left already.

RIGHT: Her parents said she had left already.

Although it may sound redundant, had had is sometimes necessary:

She had had the baby by the time her husband reached the hospital.

Grammar Tip: Unlike the simple past, which indicates action that took place in the past, perfect tenses indicate action that was, is, or will be complete by a specified time.

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PV: change passive voice to active. Many passives are easy to correct; just find the thing that is taking the action and make it the subject of the verb:

PASSIVE VOICE: The food is eaten by me. ACTIVE VOICE: I eat the food.

Often, however, passive voice has no "by" phrase because it is disguising unclear thinking which fails to identify exactly who is doing what to whom:

VAGUE: The ideas are shown using imagery. CLEAR: Frost uses images to show the ideas.
VAGUE: Without care, errors are made. CLEAR: Careless writers make errors.
VAGUE: It is felt you are wrong. CLEAR: I feel you are wrong.

Grammar Tip: The passive voice is useful when you want to emphasize the recipient of the action: "The bridge was constructed quickly." Usually, however, passive voice is less concise, energetic and natural than active voice. Suppose Dr. King had said, "A dream is had by me."

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VS: use the subjunctive mood for wishes and conditions contrary to fact:

WRONG: If I was rich, I wouldn't be here. RIGHT: If I were rich, I wouldn't be here.
WRONG: I wish she was here. RIGHT: I wish she were here.
WRONG: I recommend that he leaves. RIGHT: I recommend that he leave.
WRONG: I move that the meeting is adjourned. RIGHT: I move that the meeting be adjourned.

Grammar Tips: Verbs have three moods:

INDICATIVE (STATEMENTS OF FACT): I shut the door.

IMPERATIVE (COMMANDS): Shut the door.

SUBJUNCTIVE: I wish I had shut the door.

People seldom use the subjunctive mood nowadays except in three situations:

(1) if clauses expressing conditions contrary to fact;

(2) that clauses following verbs like wish, ask, recommend and urge;

(3) a few familiar expressions ("be that as it may"; "to whom it may concern").

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