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Irregular Verbs

A verb is called a regular verb if its past tense and past participle are formed by adding -ed (waited, insisted) or sometimes just -d (breathed, replaced). Verbs in English are irregular if they don’t have a conventional -ed ending in the past tense.

Example: Go (present tense), went (past tense), gone (past participle)

Note: Do not use helping verbs such as has or have with the past tense form of an irregular verb. Use helping verbs only with an irregular verb’s past participle.

Example: I went to the store. I have gone to the store. NOT I have went to the store.

Present tense (used alone or with helping verbs such as will, did, etc.)
go
swim
run

Past tense
went
swam
ran

Past participle (used with helping verbs such as have, has, will have, etc.)
gone
swum
run

Present participle (-ing ending formed with to be verbs such as is, have been, will be, could have been, etc.)
going
swimming
running

Examples with go:

I go to my aunt’s house in the afternoon.
I will go to my aunt’s house.
I went to my aunt’s house yesterday.
I have gone to my aunt’s house every afternoon this week.
I am going to my aunt’s house this afternoon.

Examples with swim:

I swim at my aunt’s house in the afternoon.
I will swim at my aunt’s house.
I swam at my aunt’s house yesterday.
I have swum at my aunt’s house every afternoon this week.
I will be swimming at my aunt’s house this afternoon.

Examples with run:

I run around the track daily.
I will run around the track every day this week.
I ran around the track yesterday.
I have run around the track every day this week.
I am running around the track every day this week.

 

Pop Quiz

1. I will run/ran for office next year.
2. I have run/ran for office twice.
3. I have went/gone to the dentist but my tooth still hurts.
4. I have swam/swum the butterfly stroke in competition.
5. He ringed/rang the bell before entering.
6. He has rang/rung the bell twice but no one has answered.

 

Pop Quiz Answers

1. I will run for office next year.
2. I have run for office twice.
3. I have gone to the dentist but my tooth still hurts.
4. I have swum the butterfly stroke in competition.
5. He rang the bell before entering.
6. He has rung the bell twice but no one has answered.

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Posted on Friday, July 18, 2008, at 6:25 pm


When to Add s to a Verb

If you feel confident about forming plurals in English by adding an s or es at the end of the word, I’m about to make you feel a little wobbly. Although most noun plurals are formed this way, only verbs with a third-person singular noun or pronoun (he, she, boat, courage) as a subject ever have an added s on the end. With plural nouns (but also the singular pronouns I and you) there is never an added s at the end of a verb.

For example, which verb is plural, talk or talks? Because you would say, “He talks,” and he is a third-person singular pronoun, talks is a singular verb. You would say, “The people talk,” and people is a plural noun, so talk is a plural verb.

Example:
The position listed on the university Web site caught my attention because my education, experience, and training closely parallel/parallels your needs.

Answer: This sentence has two sets of subjects and verbs. The first subject/verb combination is position/caught. The second set of subjects is education, experience, and training, which is plural. We would say, “They parallel” so we must write or say, “…my education, experience, and training closely parallel your needs.”

Example:
If he or she needs/need me, I will be in the other room.

Answer:
In this sentence, he and she are the subjects; however, they are connected by or so we use the singular verb needs.

Pop Quiz

1. When he and Jenny walks/walk to work, they hold hands.
2. They leaves/leave at the end of the year for a month-long vacation.
3. Her dog, cat, and chicken gets/get along well together.
4. When he gets/get angry, his face turns red.
5. She goes/go away every August.

Pop Quiz Answers

1. When he and Jenny walk to work, they hold hands.
2. They leave at the end of the year for a month-long vacation.
3. Her dog, cat, and chicken get along well together.
4. When he gets angry, his face turns red.
5. She goes away every August.


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Posted on Saturday, April 14, 2007, at 8:44 pm


What Does vs. What Do

Should we say, “What does Gloria and I have in common?” or “What do Gloria and I have in common?”

If you turn the question around to place the subjects first, you would say, “Gloria and I does/do have what in common.”

Gloria and I are the subjects so we need a plural verb. Which verb is plural? We would say she does but we would say they do. So do is the plural verb. Therefore, the answer is, “What do Gloria and I have in common?”

Try this example: “What does/do the children look like in their costumes?”

If you turn the question around to place the subjects first, you would say, “The children does/do look like what in their costumes.”

Because children is a plural subject, we again need the plural verb do.

Try this example: “What does/do the coach expect from the team?

Turning the question around, we realize that our subject is coach, which is singular. Therefore, we would say, “What does the coach expect from the team?”

 

Pop Quiz

1. What does/do she look like without makeup?
2. What does/do you and your husband think of the movie?
3. What does/do the team uniform look like?
4. What does/do the team members think of the new coach?

 

Pop Quiz Answers

1. What does she look like without makeup?
2. What do you and your husband think of the movie?
3. What does the team uniform look like?
4. What do the team members think of the new coach?

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Posted on Friday, March 2, 2007, at 3:10 pm


What Is a Gerund and Why Care?

What is a gerund and why do you need to know? Maybe it would be better to answer the second part of the question first so that you have some motivation to identify gerunds. If you are able to pick the gerund(s) out in your sentence, you will avoid a grammar gaffe that often goes unnoticed even by seasoned editors. Is your curiosity at least somewhat piqued?

Gerunds, also called verbal nouns, are formed when verbs have -ing added to them and are used as nouns.

Examples:
Walking is great exercise.
Hiking up that steep mountain seems impossible.
Talking more about this will not change my mind.

Note that in each of the examples above, the -ing word—the gerund—acted as the subject of the sentence.

Gerunds, like other nouns, may also act as direct objects, indirect objects, and objects of the preposition.

Examples:
We like talking on the phone every night. (direct object)
I give him credit for talking. (object of the preposition for)

It is helpful to recognize gerunds because if a noun or pronoun precedes a gerund, it is usually best to use the possessive form of that noun or pronoun.

Correct: My running ahead bothered him.
Incorrect: Me running ahead bothered him.

Correct: Their separating does not mean they won’t continue to be good parents to their three children.
Incorrect: Them separating does not mean they won’t continue to be good parents to their three children.

Examples:
Alex’s skating was a joy to behold.
Ben’s walking improved once his ankle healed.
The girl’s dancing won her a trip to Hawaii.

 

Pop Quiz
Identify the gerund in each sentence. If there is a noun or pronoun preceding it, make the noun or pronoun possessive.

1. Working efficiently is required in the restaurant business.
2. She won three gold medals for swimming.
3. The devaluing of the dollar continued throughout the summer.
4. Don’t criticize me trying to get his attention.
5. I’d like to know Alicia thinking about the issue.

 

Pop Quiz Answers

1. Working efficiently is required in the restaurant business.
2. She won three gold medals for swimming.
3. The devaluing of the dollar continued throughout the summer.
4. Don’t criticize my trying to get his attention.
5. I’d like to know Alicia’s thinking about the issue.

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Posted on Tuesday, February 13, 2007, at 6:00 pm