Identifying Verb Forms
Beginner writer? Understanding verb forms is highly necessary for any essay writer. With the help of a college paper help, it is not as tricky as you think. Here are some hints for identifying infinitive, imperative, past, and present participle verbs.
When a writer finds a sentence that is not behaving quite as it should, it helps to determine which word forms the sentence contains. Isolating individual verbs, pronouns or adjectives will not only make a writer stop and consider the sentence, its structure, and its intended meaning, but it can also help address the problem. Because the rules of grammar dictate how certain types of words should behave about others, identifying a verb type may give a writer a clue as to how to address a problem.
Verbs are a writer’s most powerful tool. They are the action drivers of any sentence because they are “doing” words that can refer to past, present, or future events. There are four kinds of “regular verb” as well as “irregular verb” forms (which take irregular past tenses, such as teach to taught) and “auxiliary verbs” (known as helping verbs, because they help the main verb express person, number or tense and include the verbs be, have, do, may, will and might).
Present Tense Verbs or Infinitive Verbs
These are “base form” of verbs and have a short, simple form, e.g. skip, hop, shop, nap, run, eat, write, hope. These are usually preceded by “to” — e.g, skip, hop, shop, nap, and hope — in a sentence context. The infinitive form of a verb is usually the one given in the dictionary. Splitting an infinitive is placing an adverb between a verb and its “to”, e.g. “to boldly go”. However, split infinitives can be used (sparingly) and are common in dialogue, e.g. “You ought to jolly well make yourself heard,” said Polly. In some cases, split infinitives just sound better, take “He was the first person to successfully breed the platypus in captivity” with “He was the first person to breed successfully the platypus in captivity”. The first splits the infinitive but sounds more natural.
The “S” Verb
This is made by adding the letter “s” to the base verb, e.g. looks, stops, runs, goes and eats and is usually preceded by a noun or a pronoun. For example: He looks. She stops. Bill eats.
Present Participle Verbs
These are verb forms that end in –ing, e.g. skipping, hopping, shopping, napping, eating, writing, running, hoping. They can be past tense if preceded by “was” or an adverb, e.g. Yesterday they were shopping. Or future tense in sentence construction (also using an adverb), e.g. Tomorrow they are going shopping.
Past Participle Verbs
Past tense verbs are usually distinguishable by an -ed ending, e.g. skipped, hopped, shopped, napped, hoped, but there are exceptions for some irregular verbs, e.g. ran, ate, wrote, slept, am (to be). The past participle verb form can be a bit tricky in that it is not always used only for past events. Consider “He ran up to her” — this could be past or present.
Verbs can also be used in the imperative, which is in the command form. E.g. Run! Eat! Write!
Many novice writers make the simple mistake of thinking that using lots of descriptive adjectives will give their writing panache. In fact, the most powerful words in a writer’s manuscript will always be verbs, so be sure to use the strongest verb possible.