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21.3: Simple Verb Tenses

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    What is tense? There are three standard tenses in English: past, present and future. All three of these tenses have simple and more complex forms. For now we’ll just focus on the simple present (things happening now), the simple past (things that happened before), and the simple future (things that will happen later).

    • Simple Present: works
    • Simple Past: worked
    • Simple Future: will work

    Tenses

    Present Tense

    Watch this quick introduction to the present tense:

    Past Tense

    Watch this quick introduction to the past tense:

    Future Tense

    Watch this quick introduction to the future tense:

    Note

    You may have noticed that in the present tense video David talked about “things that are happening right now” and that he mentioned there were other ways to create the past and future tense. We’ll discuss these in further depth in Text: Advanced Verb Tenses.

    Exercise \(\PageIndex{1}\)

    Identify the tense of the following sentences. You can type your answers in the text field below:

    1. Alejandra directed a play.
    2. Lena will show me how to use a microscope.
    3. Isaac eats a lot of steaks.
    Answer
    1. Directed is in the past tense; the word ends with an –ed.
    2. Will show is in the present tense; the first part of the two-word verb is will.
    3. Eats is in the present tense; the only ending it has is indicating that Isaac is a third-person subject of the sentence.

    Conjugation

    Most verbs will follow the pattern that we just learned in the previous videos:

    Person Past Present Future
    I verb + ed verb will verb
    We verb + ed verb will verb
    You verb + ed verb will verb
    He, She, It verb + ed verb + (or es) will verb
    They verb + ed verb will verb

    To Walk

    Let’s look at the verb to walk for an example:

    Person Past Present Future
    I walked walk will walk
    We walked walk will walk
    You walked walk will walk
    He, She, It walked walks will walk
    They walked walk will walk

    Irregular Verbs

    There are a lot of irregular verbs. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of memorization involved in keeping them straight. This video shows a few of the irregular verbs you’ll have to use the most often (to beto haveto do, and to say):

    Here’s a list of several irregular past tense verbs.

    Exercise \(\PageIndex{2}\)

    Change the tense of each sentence as directed below. You can type your answers in the text field below:

    1. Make this sentence present tense: Ysabella was really good at getting others to open up.
    2. Make this sentence past tense: Rodrigo will have a B+ in his math class.
    3. Make this sentence future tense: Amanda said she didn’t want to go to the party.
    4. Make this sentence past tense: Jordan does five hundred sit-ups.
    5. Make this sentence present tense: Marcela ran a car wash down the street from my house.
    Answer
    1. Ysabella is really good at getting others to open up.
    2. Rodrigo had a B+ in his math class.
    3. Amanda will say she doesn’t want to go to the party.
    • Notice that when the tense of the first verb changed, the tense of the second verb did as well.
    1. Jordan did five hundred sit-ups.
    2. Marcela runs a car wash down the street from my house. 
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