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Verbs

Definition: Verbs are a class of words used to show the performance of an action (do, throw, run), existence (
possession (have), or state (know, love) of a subject. To put it simply a verb shows what something or someon
does.
For example:

Paul rides a bicycle.


* Here, the verb rides certainly denotes an action which Paul performs - the action of riding a bicycle.

We buy some books to learn English verbs.


* In this example, the action word is "to buy". It tells us that the subject "we", that is the person who
performs the action of the verb is "buying some books".

The verb tense shows the time of the action or state. Aspect shows whether the action or state is completed o
not. Voice is used to show relationships between the action and the people affected by it. Mood shows the
attitude of the speaker about the verb, whether it is a declaration or an order. Verbs can be affected by person
number to show agreement with the subject.
Most statements in speech and writing have a main verb. These verbs are expressed in "tenses" which place
everything in a point in time.

Verbs are conjugated (inflected) to reflect how they are used. There are two general areas in which conjugatio
occurs; for person and for tense.

Conjugation for tense


Conjugation for tense is carried out on all verbs. All conjugations start with the infinitive form of the verb.
The infinitive is simply the to form of the verb For example, to begin.
The present participle form (the -ing form), is formed by adding ing to the bare infinitive. For example, to be
- beginning.
There are two other forms that the verb can take, depending on the tense type and time, the simple past form
the past participle.
The form of the verb or its tense can tell when events take place.
For example, the verb kiss:
Present Simple
kiss/kisses

Past Simple
kissed

Future Simple
will kiss

Present Perfect
has/have kissed

Past Perfect
had kissed

Future Perfect
will have kissed

Present Continuous (Progressive)


is/am/are kissing

Past Continuous (Progressive)


was kissing

Future Continuous (Progressive)


will be kissing

Present Perfect Continuous (Progressive)


has/have been kissing

Past Perfect Continuous (Progressive)


had been kissing

Future Perfect Continuous (Progress


will have been kissing

Conjugation for person


Conjugation for person occurs when the verb changes form, depending on whether it is governed by a first,
second, or third person subject. This gives three conjugations for any verb depending on who is acting as the
subject of the verb. For example: we have I begin, you begin , and he begins. Note that only the third conjunc
really shows a difference.

In English, we distinguish between regular and irregular verbs. Regular verbs are those ones which form the
past simple and past participle just by adding "-ed" to the base of the verb. The rest are irregular.

Examples:

Dracula bites his victims on the neck.

In early October, Giselle will plant twenty tulip bulbs.

She travels to work by train.

We walked five miles to a garage.

Finite Verb

Definition: Finite verbs (sometimes called main verbs) are verb forms suitable for use in predicates in that th
carry inflections or other formal characteristics limiting their number(singular / plural), person, and tense(pas
present etc). Finite verbs can function on their own as the core of an independent sentence.
For example

I walked, they walk, and she walks are finite verbs


* (to) walk is an infinitive.

I lived in Germay.
* "I" is the subject. "Lived" describes what the subject did. "Lived" is a finite verb.

Examples

The truck demolished the restaurant.

The leaves were yellow and sickly.

Infinitive

Definition: Infinitive is the base form of the verb. The infinitive form of a verb is the form which follows "to
For example:
(to) go, (to) be,(to) ask, (to) fight, (to) understand, (to) walk .
Infinitives may occur with or without the infinitive marker "to". Infinitives without "to" are known as "bare
infinitives".
For example:
Help me open the door.
OTHER FORMS
The infinitive can have the following forms:
1. The perfect infinitive
to have + past participle
For example: to have broken, to have seen, to have saved.
This form is most commonly found in Type 3 conditional sentences, using the conditional perfect.

For example:

If I had known you were coming I would have baked a cake.

Someone must have broken the window and climbed in.

I would like to have seen the Taj Mahal when I was in India.

He pretended to have seen the film.

If I'd seen the ball I would have caught it.

2. The continuous infinitive


to be + present participle
For example: to be swimming, to be joking, to be waiting
Examples:

I'd really like to be swimming in a nice cool pool right now.

You must be joking!

I happened to be waiting for the bus when the accident happened.

3. The perfect continuous infinitive


to have been + present participle
Examples: to have been crying, to have been waiting, to have been painting
Examples:

The woman seemed to have been crying.

You must have been waiting for hours!

He pretended to have been painting all day.

4. The passive infinitive


to be + past participle
For example: to be given, to be shut, to be opened
Examples:

I am expecting to be given a pay-rise next month.

These doors should be shut.

This window ought to be opened.

NOTE: As with the present infinitive, there are situations where the "to" is omitted.
Examples

He claimed to be an expert.

I managed to reach the top of the hill.

Don't pretend that you know the answer.

She failed to explain the problem clearly.

The customs man demanded to search our luggage.

I can't afford to go out tonight.

Gerund

Definition: A gerund is the form of a verb when it acts as a noun; a gerund (often known as an -ing word) is
noun formed from a verb by adding -ing.
For example:

Studying is good for you.

Formation: Base Form + ING


Gerunds can act as the subject or object of a main verb.
For example:

Going to parties is fun.

Hunting elephants is dangerous.

Flying makes me nervous.

* Here, gerunds are subjects

I enjoy reading.
* Here, gerund is object

Use
Certain words like adjectives, prepositions, verbs, nouns are followed by an Ing-Form.
Use after certain adjectives
Adjectives (with Prepositions) followed by the Gerund
crazy about

disappointed about
excited about
famous for
fond of
sorry about
worried about
For example:

Hes afraid of going by plane.

I am interested in visiting the museum.

He is clever at skateboarding.

The girl is crazy about playing tennis.

I'm worried about making mistakes.

Use after certain prepositions


Prepositions followed by the Gerund
by
in
instead of
on
without
For example:

Before going to bed he turned off the lights.

She avoided him by walking on the opposite side of the road.

We arrived in Madrid after driving all night.

He told the joke without laughing.

Use after certain verbs


Verbs followed by the Gerund
consider
delay
deny
dislike
enjoy
resist
imagine
permit
practise

For example:

I enjoy cooking.

He admitted having driven too fast.

Ralph is considering buying a new house.

I delayed telling Max the news.

They miss playing with their friends.

Use after certain nouns


Nouns with Prepositions followed by the Gerund
idea of
interest in
opportunity of
pleasure in
problem
reason for
trouble in
use
waste of money
waste of time
For example:

We had problems finding our way back home.

There's no point in waiting any longer.

What is the advantage of farming over hunting?

He is in doubt about buying the correct software for his computer system.

There's a real reason for winning the contest.

Rules:

If a verb ends with -e, it loses the last letter before adding the -ing suffix.

Ditransitive

Definition: A ditransitive verb is one that takes two complements, a direct object and an indirect object at the
same time.
Examples

He gave her the letter.

* "The letter" is the direct object, what he gave, and "her" is the indirect object, the person he gave it t
Examples

He gave her the letter.


* "The letter" is the direct object, what he gave, and "her" is the indirect object, the person he gave it t

Robin gave Linda a book.

The teacher asked James a question.

That horrid music gave me a headache.

Dynamic Verb

Definition: A dynamic verb is one that can be used in the progressive (continuous) aspect, indicating an
unfinished action. Dynamic verbs have duration, that is, they occur over time. This time may or may not have
defined endpoint, and may or may not yet have occurred.

Jhon plays soccer every Saturday.


=> Jhon is playing soccer right now.

The snow melts every spring.


=> The snow is melting right now

When one boxer hits another, brain damage can result.


=> When one boxer is hitting another, brain damage can result.

Dynamic verbs, can be used in the simple and perfect forms, for example: plays, played, has played, had play
as well as the continuous or progressive forms, for example: is playing, was playing, has been playing, had be
playing.

The progressive forms occur only with dynamic verbs, that is, with verbs that show qualities capable of chang
opposed to stative verbs, which show qualities not capable of change.
For example:

He is being tall. (incorrect)


=> He is tall. (correct)

He is resembling his mother. (incorrect)


=> He resembles his mother. (correct)

I am wanting spaghetti for dinner. (incorrect)


=> I want spaghetti. (correct)

It is belonging to me. (incorrect)

=> It belongs to me. (correct)

Sometimes verbs can be used in progressive forms when they have certain meanings. In another meaning it is
possible to use them in progressive forms.
For example:
Verb
feel (to have an opinion)

have (to possess)


have (to eat)
see (to understand)
see (to meet someone)
think (to believe)

Simple Forms
I feel I should go on holiday.
How do you feel when you are on
holiday?
I have a new computer.
I always have a cola for lunch.
Oh, I see.
I often see Mandy at the disco.
I think you should see a doctor.

think (to think about)

I have to think about it.

feel (to feel sth.)

Progressive Forms
--How are you feeling today?
--I am having dinner right now.
--I am seeing Peter tonight.
--I am thinking about my girlfriend
now.

Examples:

She's lying on the bed.

Gender

Definition: A grammatical category in which a noun, pronoun, article and adjective is masculine, feminine or
neuter. Genders in English are extremely simple, and in any case the gender of a noun only affects its pronoun
and possessive adjective.
For example:

Mary is a doctor. She is a doctor

Peter is a doctor. He is a doctor.

In nouns
In general there is no distinction between masculine, feminine and neuter in English nouns. However, gender
sometimes shown by different forms or different words.
Different words:
Feminine
woman
mother
aunt
girl
wife
Different forms:
Feminine

actress
princess
heroine
waitress
widow
Some nouns can be used for either a masculine or a feminine subject:
teacher
parent
partner
For example

Arthur is my teacher. He is my teacher.

Jane is my teacher. She is my teacher.

It is possible to make the distinction by adding the words "male" or "female".


For example

a male teacher, a female teacher, etc.

Imperative
Definition: Imperatives are verbs used to give orders, commands,warning or instructions, and (if you use
"please") to make a request. It is one of the three moods of an English verb (indicative, imperative and
subjunctive).
For example:

Give me that tape, please.

To make the imperative, use the infinitive of the verb without "to"
For example:

Come here!

Sit down!

To make a negative imperative, put "do not" or "don't" before the verb:
For example:

Don't go!

Do not walk on the grass.

You can also use "let's" before the verb if you are including yourself in the imperative. The negative of "let's"

"let's not".
For example:

Let's stop now.

Let's have some lunch.

Let's not argue

Let's not tell her about it.

Orders
Adults do not usually give each other orders, unless they are in a position of authority. However, adults can g
orders to children and to animals. The intonation of an order is important: each word is stressed, and the tone
at the end of the sentence:
For example:

Sit down now!


* "Sit", "down" and "now" are all stressed, and the tone falls on "now".

Warnings
You can use the imperative to warn someone of danger. All the words in the warning are stressed, but the last
word has a higher tone than the first word:
For example:

Sit down now!


* "Sit", "down" and "now" are all stressed, and the tone falls on "now".

Watch out!

Look out!

Don't cross!

Advice
When you give advice using the imperative, the words are stressed normally.
For example:

Don't tell him you're resigning now! Wait until Monday when he's in a better mood.

Don't drink alcohol

Don't eat heavy meals

Requests
You can also use the imperative to make a request, but you should use a polite word before the verb:

For example:

Please take a seat.

Please wait here.

Please hold the line.

Please don't smoke here.

Notes:
Note that an imperative sentence does not require a subject; the pronoun "you" is implied.
Verbs in English have four basic parts:
Base form

-ing form

Past tense

Past participle

work

working

worked

worked

play

playing

played

played

listen
listening
listened
listened
Most verbs have past tense and past participle in ed (worked, played, listened). But many of
the most frequent verbs are irregular.

question forms
We make questions by:
1: moving an auxiliary to the front of the clause:
Everybody is watching

>> Is everybody watching?

They had worked hard

>> Had they worked hard?

He's finished work

>> Has he finished work?

Everybody had been working hard

>> Had everybody been working hard?

He has been singing

>> Has he been singing?

English is spoken all over the world

>> Is English spoken all over the world?

The windows have been cleaned


>> Have the windows been cleaned?
2: or by moving a modal to the front of the clause:
They will come

>> Will they come?

He might come

>> Might he come?

They will have arrived by now

>> Will they have arrived by now?

She would have been listening

>> Would she have been listening?

The work will be finished soon

>> Will the work be finished soon?

They might have been invited to the party >> Might they have been invited to the party?

3: The present simple and the past simple have no auxiliary. We make questions by adding
the auxillary do/does for the present simple or did for the past simple:
They live here

>>

Do they live here?

John lives here

>>

Does John live here?

Everybody laughed

>>

Did everybody laugh?

verb phrases
The verb phrase in English has the following forms:
1) a main verb:
Verb
We
I
Everybody
We

are
like
saw.
laughed.

here.
it
the accident

The verb may be in the present tense (are, like) or the past tense (saw, laughed). A verb
phrase with only a main verb expresses simple aspect
2) an auxiliary verb ("be") and a main verb in ing form:
Auxiliary "be"
Everybody
We

is
were

Verb (-ing)
watching
laughing

A verb phrase with "be" and ing expresses continuous aspect.


3) an auxiliary verb ("have") and a main verb with past participle:
Auxillary "have"
They
Everybody
He

have
has
had

Verb (past participle)


enjoyed
worked
finished

themselves.
hard.
work.

A verb with "have" and the past participle expresses perfect aspect. A verb with have/has
expresses present perfect, and a verb with had expresses past perfect.
4) an auxiliary verb ("have" + "been") and a main verb in the ing form:
Auxiliary "have" + "been"
Everybody
He

has been
had been

Verb (-ing)
working
singing

hard

A verb with "have" and "been" and the present participle expresses perfect continuous
aspect. A verb with have/has expresses present perfect continuous, and a verb with had

expresses past perfect continuous.


5) a modal verb (can, could, may, might, must, shall, should, will, would) and a main verb:
Modal Verb
They
He

Main verb

will
might

come.
come.

6) We can use modal verbs with the auxiliaries "be", "have", and "have been":
Modal
They
He
She

will
might
must

Auxiliary
be
have
have been

Verb
listening
arrived
listening

Activities

Active and passive:


Transitive verbs have a passive form as well as an active form:
The hunter killed the lion. (active) <> The lion was killed by the hunter. (passive)
Someone has cleaned the windows <> The windows have been cleaned.
The passive forms are made up of the verb "be" with a past participle:
"be"
English
The windows
Lunch
The work
They

is
have been
was being
will be
might have been

Past participle
spoken
cleaned
served
finished
invited

all over the world


soon
to the part

present tense
There are two tenses in English past and present.
The present tenses in English are used:

to talk about the present

to talk about the future

to talk about the past when we are telling a story in spoken English or when we are
summarising a book, film, play etc.

There are four present tense forms in English:


Present simple:

I work

Present continuous:

I am working

Present perfect:

I have worked

Present perfect continuous:

I have been working

We use these forms:

to talk about the present:

He works at McDonalds. He has worked there for three months now.


He is working at McDonalds. He has been working there for three months now.
London is the capital of Britain.

to talk about the future:

The next train leaves this evening at 1700 hours.


Ill phone you when I get home.
Hes meeting Peter in town this afternoon.
Ill come home as soon as I have finished work.
You will be tired out after you have been working all night.

We can use the present tenses to talk about the past...

present simple
The present tense is the base form of the verb: I work in London.
But the third person (she/he/it) adds an -s: She works in London.
Use
We use the present tense to talk about:

something that is true in the present:

Im nineteen years old.


He lives in London.
Im a student.

something that happens again and again in the present:

I play football every weekend.


We use words like sometimes, often. always, and never (adverbs of frequency) with the
present tense:

I sometimes go to the cinema.


She never plays football.

something that is always true:

The human body contains 206 bones.


Light travels at almost 300,000 kilometres per second.

something that is fixed in the future.

The school terms starts next week.


The train leaves at 1945 this evening.
We fly to Paris next week.
Questions and negatives
Look at these questions:
Do you play the piano?
Where do you live?
Does Jack play football?
Where does he come from?
Do Rita and Angela live in Manchester?
Where do they work?

With the present tense, we use do and does to make questions. We use does for
the third person (she/he/it) and we use do for the others.

We use do and does with question words like where, what and why:
But look at these questions with who:
Who lives in London?
Who plays football at the weekend?
Who works at Liverpool City Hospital?
Look at these sentences:
I like tennis, but I dont like football. (dont = do not)
I dont live in London now.
I dont play the piano, but I play the guitar.
They dont work at the weekend.
John doesnt live in Manchester. (doesnt = does not)
Angela doesnt drive to work. She goes by bus.

With the present tense we use do and does to make negatives. We use does not
(doesnt) for the third person (she/he/it) and we use do not (dont) for the others.

Complete these sentences with dont or doesnt:

present continuous
The present continuous tense is formed from the present tense of the verb be and the present
participle (-ing form) of a verb:

Use
1. We use the present continuous tense to talk about the present:

for something that is happening at the moment of speaking:

Im just leaving work. Ill be home in an hour.


Please be quiet. The children are sleeping.

for something which is happening before and after a given time:

At eight oclock we are usually having breakfast.


When I get home the children are doing their homework.

for something which we think is temporary:

Michael is at university. Hes studying history.


Im working in London for the next two weeks.

for something which is new and contrasts with a previous state:

These days most people are using email instead of writing letters.
What sort of clothes are teenagers wearing nowadays? What sort of music are they
listening to?

to show that something is changing, growing or developing:

The children are growing quickly.


The climate is changing rapidly.
Your English is improving.

for something which happens again and again:

Its always raining in London.


They are always arguing.
George is great. Hes always laughing.
Note: We normally use always with this use.
2. We use the present continuous tense to talk about the future:

for something which has been arranged or planned:

Mary is going to a new school next term.


What are you doing next week?
3. We can use the present continuous to talk about the past:

When we are telling a story:

When we are summarising the story from a book, film or play etc.:

present perfect
The present perfect is formed from the present tense of the verb have and the past
participle of a verb:
The present perfect continuous is formed with have/has been and the -ing form of the verb:
Use
We use the present perfect tense:

for something that started in the past and continues in the present:

Theyve been married for nearly fifty years.


She has lived in Liverpool all her life.
Note: We normally use the present perfect continuous for this:
She has been living in Liverpool all her life.
Its been raining for hours.

for something we have done several times in the past and continue to do:

Ive played the guitar ever since I was a teenager.


He has written three books and he is working on another one.
Ive been watching that programme every week.
We often use a clause with since to show when something started in the past:
Theyve been staying with us since last week.
I have worked here since I left school.
Ive been watching that programme every week since it started.

when we are talking about our experience up to the present:

Note: We often use the adverb ever to talk about experience up to the present:
My last birthday was the worst day I have ever had.
Note: and we use never for the negative form:
Have you ever met George?
Yes, but Ive never met his wife.

for something that happened in the past but is important at the time of speaking:

I cant get in the house. Ive lost my keys.


Teresa isnt at home. I think she has gone shopping.
Im tired out. Ive been working all day.
We use the present perfect of be when someone has gone to a place and returned:
A: Where have you been?
B: Ive just been out to the supermarket.

A: Have you ever been to San Francisco?


B: No, but Ive been to Los Angeles.
But when someone has not returned we use have/has gone:
A: Where is Maria? I havent seen her for weeks.
B: She's gone to Paris for a week. Shell be back tomorrow.
We often use the present perfect with time adverbials which refer to the recent past:
just; only just; recently;
Scientists have recently discovered a new breed of monkey.
We have just got back from our holidays.
or adverbials which include the present:
ever (in questions); so far; until now; up to now; yet (in questions and negatives)
Have you ever seen a ghost?
Where have you been up to now?
Have you finished your homework yet?
No, so far Ive only done my history.
WARNING:
We do not use the present perfect with an adverbial which refers to past time which is
finished:
I have seen that film yesterday.
We have just bought a new car last week.
When we were children we have been to California.
But we can use it to refer to a time which is not yet finished:
Have you seen Helen today?
We have bought a new car this week.

past tense
There are two tenses in English past and present.
The past tense in English is used:

to talk about the past

to talk about hypotheses things that are imagined rather than true.

for politeness.

There are four past tense forms in English:


Past simple:

I worked

Past continuous:

I was working

Past perfect:

I had worked

Past perfect continuous:


We use these forms:

I had been working

to talk about the past:

He worked at McDonalds. He had worked there since July..


He was working at McDonalds. He had been working since July.

to refer to the present or future in conditions:

He could get a new job if he really tried.


If Jack was playing they would probably win.
and hypotheses:
It might be dangerous. Suppose they got lost.
I would always help someone who really needed help.
and wishes:
I wish it wasnt so cold.

In conditions, hypotheses and wishes, if we want to talk about the past, we


always use the past perfect:

I would have helped him if he had asked.


It was very dangerous, What if you had got lost?
I wish I hadnt spent so much money last month.

We can use the past forms to talk about the present in a few polite expressions:

Excuse me, I was wondering if this was the train for York.
I just hoped you would be able to help me.

past simple
Forms
With most verbs the past tense is formed by adding -ed:
call >> called; like >> liked; want >> wanted; work >> worked
But there are a lot of irregular past tenses in English. Her are the most common irregular
verbs in English, with their past tenses:
irreg
infini
ular
tive
past
be
was/
begin were
break began
bring broke
buy broug
build ht
choos boug
e
ht
come built
cost chose
cut came
do cost

irreg
infini
ular
tive
past
cut
did
drew
draw
drove
drive
ate
eat
felt
feel
found
find
got
get
gave
give
went
go
had
have
heard
hear
held
hold
kept
keep
knew
know
left
leave
led
lead
let
let
lay
lie
lost
lose
made
make
mean
mean
t
meet
met
pay
paid
put
put
run
ran
say
said
sell
sold
send
sent
set
set
sit
sat
speak
spoke
spend
spent
stand
stood
take
took
teach
taugh
tell
t
think
told
under
thoug
stand
ht
wear
under
win
stood
write
wore
won
wrote

Use
We use the past tense to talk about:

something that happened once in the past:

I met my wife in 1983.


We went to Spain for our holidays.
They got home very late last night.

something that happened again and again in the past:

When I was a boy I walked a mile to school every day.


We swam a lot while we were on holiday.
They always enjoyed visiting their friends.

something that was true for some time in the past:

I lived abroad for ten years.


He enjoyed being a student.
She played a lot of tennis when she was younger.

we often use phrases with ago with the past tense:

I met my wife a long time ago.


Questions and negatives
We use did to make questions with the past tense:
When did you meet your wife?
Where did you go for your holidays?
Did she play tennis when she was younger?
Did you live abroad?
But look at these questions:
Who discovered penicillin?
Who wrote Don Quixote?
For more on these questions see question forms
We use didnt (did not) to make negatives with the past tense:
They didnt go to Spain this year.
We didnt get home until very late last night.
I didnt see you yesterday.

past continuous
The past continuous is formed from the past tense of be with the -ing form of the verb:
We use the past continuous to talk about the past:

for something which continued before and after another action:

The children were doing their homework when I got home.


Compare:
I got home. The children did their homework.
and
The children did their homework when I got home.
As I was watching television the telephone rang.
This use of the past continuous is very common at the beginning of a story:
The other day I was waiting for a bus when
Last week as I was driving to work

for something that happened before and after a particular time:

It was eight oclock. I was writing a letter.


Compare:
At eight oclock I wrote some letters.
In July she was working in McDonalds.

.to show that something continued for some time:

My head was aching.


Everyone was shouting.

for something that was happening again and again:

I was practising every day, three times a day.


They were meeting secretly after school.
They were always quarrelling.

with verbs which show change or growth:

The children were growing up quickly.


Her English was improving.
My hair was going grey.
The town was changing quickly.

past perfect
We use the verb had and the past participle for the past perfect:
I had finished the work.
She had gone .

The past perfect continuous is formed with had been and the -ing form of the verb:
I had been finishing the work
She had been going.
The past perfect is used in the same way as the present perfect, but it refers to a time in the
past, not the present.
We use the past perfect tense:

for something that started in the past and continued up to a given time in the past:

When George died he and Anne had been married for nearly fifty years.
She didnt want to move. She had lived in Liverpool all her life.
We normally use the past perfect continuous for this:
She didnt want to move. She had been living in Liverpool all her life.
Everything was wet. It had been raining for hours.

for something we had done several times up to a point in the past and continued to
do after that point:

He was a wonderful guitarist. He had been playing ever since he was a teenager.
He had written three books and he was working on another one.
I had been watching the programme every week, but I missed the last episode.
We often use a clause with since to show when something started in the past:
They had been staying with us since the previous week.
I was sorry when the factory closed. I had worked there since I left school.
I had been watching that programme every week since it started, but I missed the last
episode.

when we are reporting our experience and including up to the (then) present:

My eighteenth birthday was the worst day I had ever had.


I was pleased to meet George. I hadnt met him before, even though I had met his wife
several times.

for something that happened in the past but is important at the time of reporting:

I couldnt get into the house. I had lost my keys.


Teresa wasnt at home. She had gone shopping.
We use the past perfect to talk about the past in conditions, hypotheses and wishes:
I would have helped him if he had asked.
It was very dangerous. What if you had got lost?
I wish I hadnt spent so much money last month.

perfective aspect
We use the present perfect to show that something has continued up to the present

Theyve been married for nearly fifty years.


She has lived in Liverpool all her life.
or is important in the present:
Ive lost my keys. I cant get into the house.
Teresa isnt at home. I think she has gone shopping.
We use the present perfect continuous to show that something has been continuing up to the
present:
Its been raining for hours.
Weve been waiting here since six oclock this morning.
We use the past perfect to show that something continued up to a time in the past:
When George died he and Anne had been married for nearly fifty years.
... or was important at that time in the past:
I couldnt get into the house. I had lost my keys.
Teresa wasnt at home. She had gone shopping.
We use the past perfect continuous to show that something had been continuing up to a time
in the past or was important at that time in the past:
Everything was wet. It had been raining for hours.
He was a wonderful guitarist. He had been playing ever since he was a teenager.
We use will with the perfect to show that something will be complete at some time in the
future:
In a few years they will have discovered a cure for the common cold.
I can come out tonight. I'll have finished my homework by then.
We use would with the perfect to refer to something that did not happen in the past but
would have happened if the conditions had been right:
If you had asked me I would have helped you.
I would have helped you, but you didnt ask me.
You didnt ask me or I would have helped you.
We use other modals with perfective aspect when we are looking back from a point in time
when something might have happened, should have happened or would have happened.
The point of time may be in the future:
Well meet again next week. We might have finished the work by then.
I will phone at six oclock. He should have got home by then.
the present:
Its getting late. They should have arrived by now.
Hes still not here. He must have missed his train.
or the past:
I wasnt feeling well. I must have eaten something bad.
I checked my cell phone. She could have left a message.

continuous aspect

Both tenses have a continuous form. These continuous tenses are formed with the verb be and
the ing form of the verb:
We use continuous aspect:

for something happening before and after a given time.

Hes getting on the train. [before and after the moment of speaking]
It was quarter past ten. We were watching the news on television.

for something continuing before and after another action:

Mother will be cooking the dinner when we get home.


We were waiting for the bus when it started to rain.

for something continuing for some time:

Everybody will be waiting for us.


They had been working hard all day.

for something happening again and again:

Theyve been doing that every day this week.


The children were always shouting.
He will be practising the piano every night.

for something temporary:

We are renting an apartment until our house is ready..


He was working in a garage during the vacation.

for something new:

We have moved from Birmingham. Were living in Manchester now.


He had left university and was working in his fathers business.

to describe something changing or developing:

Everything has been getting more difficult.


He was growing more bad-tempered every day.

active and passive voice


Transitive verbs have both active and passive forms:
active

passive

The hunter killed the lion.

>> The lion was killed by the hunter.

Someone has cleaned the windows

>> The windows have been cleaned

The passive forms are made up of the verb be with a past participle:
be

past participle

English

is

spoken

all over the world

The windows

have been

cleaned

Lunch

was being

served

The work

will be

finished

soon

They

might have been

invited

to the party

We sometimes use the verb get to form the passive:


Be careful with the glass. It might get broken.
Peter got hurt in a crash.
If we want to show the person or thing doing the action we use by:
She was attacked by a dangerous dog.
The money was stolen by her husband.
We can use the indirect object as the subject of a passive verb:
active

passive

I gave him a book for his birthday

>> He was given a book for his birthday.

Someone sent her a cheque for a thousand


euros

>>

She was sent a cheque for a thousand


euros.

We can use phrasal verbs in the passive:


active

passive

They called off the meeting.

>> The meeting was called off.

His grandmother looked after him.

>> He was looked after by his grandmother.

They will send him away to school.


>> He will be sent away to school.
Some verbs very frequently used in the passive are followed by the to-infinitive:
be supposed to

be expected to

be scheduled to
be allowed to
John has been asked to make a speech at the meeting.
You are supposed to wear a uniform.
The meeting is scheduled to start at seven.

to + infinitive
We use the to-infinitive:
to express purpose (to answer "Why...?"):
He bought some flowers to give to his wife.
He locked the door to keep everyone out.
We sometimes say in order to or in order not to:

be asked to
be told to

We set off early in order to avoid the traffic.


They spoke quietly in order not to wake the children
or we can say so as to or so as not to:
We set off early so as to avoid the traffic.
They spoke quietly so as not to wake the children.
after certain verbs (see verbs followed by infinitive), particularly verbs of thinking and
feeling:
choose, decide, expect, forget, hate, hope, intend, learn, like,
love, mean, plan, prefer, remember, want, would like, would love
and verbs of saying:
agree, promise, refuse
They decided to start a business together.
Remember to turn the lights out.
Some verbs are followed by a direct object and the infinitive(see verbs followed by
infinitive):
advise, ask, encourage, invite, order, persuade, remind, tell, warn,
expect, intend, would prefer, want, would like
She reminded me to turn the lights out.
He encouraged his friends to vote for him.
after certain adjectives.
Sometimes the to-infinitive gives a reason for the adjective:

disappointed

glad

sad

happy

anxious

pleased

surprised

proud

unhappy

We were happy to come to the end of our journey


= We were happy because we had come to the end of our journey
John was surprised to see me
= He was surprised because he saw me

Other adjectives with the to-infinitive are:

able

unable

due

eager

keen

likely

unlikely

ready

prepared

unwilling

willing

Unfortunately I was unable to work for over a week.


I am really tired. Im ready to go to bed.
We often use the to-infinitive with these adjectives after it to give opinions:

difficult

easy

possible

impossible

hard

right

wrong

kind

nice

clever

silly

foolish

Its easy to play the piano, but its very difficult to play well.
He spoke so quickly it was impossible to understand him.
We use the preposition for to show who these adjectives refer to:

difficult

easy

possible

impossible

hard

It was difficult for us to hear what she was saying.


It is easy for you to criticise other people.
We use the preposition of with other adjectives:
Its kind of you to help.
It would be silly of him to spend all his money.
As a postmodifier (see noun phrases) after abstract nouns like:

ability

desire

need

wish

attempt

failure

opportunity

chance

intention

I have no desire to be rich.


They gave him an opportunity to escape.
She was annoyed by her failure to answer the question correctly.

We often use a to-infinitive as a postmodifier after an indefinite pronoun (See indefinite


pronouns):
When I am travelling I always take something to read.
I was all alone. I had no one to talk to.
There is hardly anything to do in most of these small towns.

-ing forms
We can use the -ing form of the verb:
as a noun:
I love swimming.
Swimming is very good for your health.
You can get fit by swimming regularly.
-ing nouns are nearly always uncount nouns

as an adjective:

The main problem today is rising prices.


That programme was really boring.
He saw a woman lying on the floor.
Because the -ing noun or adjective is formed from a verb it can have any of the patterns
which follow a verb, for example:

... an object:

I like playing tennis.


I saw a dog chasing a cat.

... or an adverbial:

You can earn a lot of money by working hard.


There were several people waiting for the bus.

... or a clause:

I heard someone saying that.


The -ing noun can be used:

as the subject of a verb:

Learning English is not easy.

as the object of a verb:

We enjoy learning English.

Common verbs followed by an -ing object are:


admit

like

hate

start

avoid

suggest

enjoy

dislike

begin

finish

as the object of a preposition

Some people are not interested in learning English.


The -ing adjective can come:

in front of a noun:

I read an interesting article in the newspaper today.


We saw a really exciting match on Sunday.
The commonest ing adjectives used in front of the noun are
amusing

interesting

worrying

shocking

disappointing

boring

surprising

exciting

terrifying

frightening

tiring

annoying

after a noun:

Who is that man standing over there?


The boy talking to Angela is her younger brother.

and especially after verbs like see, watch, hear, smell etc.

I heard someone playing the piano.


I can smell something burning.

talking about the present


1. We use the present simple:

to talk about something happening regularly in the present:

The children come home from school at about four.


We often see your brother at work.

to talk about something happening continually in the present:

They live next door to us.


He works for the Post Office.

to talk about things which are generally true:

Water boils at 100 degrees Celsius.


The Nile is the longest river in Africa.
2. We use the present continuous:

to show that something in the present is temporary:

We are living in a rented flat at present.


My wife usually goes in to the office, but she is working at home today.

for something happening regularly in the present before and after a given
time:

Im usually getting ready for work at eight oclock.


When I see George hes always reading his newspaper.

for something happening before and after the moment of speaking:

I cant hear you. Im listening to my iPod.


Be quiet. The children are sleeping.
3. We use modal verbs

to talk about the present when we are not sure of something:

I dont know where Henry is. He might be playing tennis.


Whos knocking at the door? I dont know. It could be the police.

talking about the past


1 Talking about past events and situations:
We use the past simple:

when we are talking about an event that happened at a particular time in the
past

We arrived home before dark


The film started at seven thirty.

when we are talking about something that continued for some time in the
past

Everybody worked hard through the winter.


We stayed with our friends in London.
When we are talking about something that happened several times in the past we use

the past simple:

Most evenings we stayed at home and watched DVDs.


Sometimes they went out for a meal.

or used to

Most evenings we used to stay at home and watch DVDs.


We used to go for a swim every morning.

... or would

Most evenings he would take the dog for a walk.


They would often visit friends in Europe.
WARNING: We do not normally use would with stative verbs.
We use the past continuous:

when we are talking about something which happened before and after a given
time in the past

It was just after ten. I was watching the news on TV.


At half-time we were losing 1-0.

when we are talking about something happening before and after another
action in the past:

He broke his leg when he was playing rugby.


She saw Jim as he was driving away.
2 The past in the past
When we are looking back from a point in the past to something earlier in the past we use
the past perfect:
Helen suddenly remembered she had left her keys in the car.
When we had done all our shopping we caught the bus home.
They wanted to buy a new computer, but they hadnt saved enough money.
They would have bought a new computer if they had saved enough money.
3 The past and the present:
We use the present perfect:

when we are talking about the effects in the present of something that
happened in the past:

I cant open the door. Ive left my keys in the car.


Jenny has found a new job. She works in a supermarket now.

When we are talking about something that started in the past and still goes on:

We have lived here since 2007. (and we still live here)


I have been working at the university for over ten years.
4 The future in the past
When we talk about the future from a time in the past we use:

would as the past tense of will

He thought he would buy one the next day.


Everyone was excited. The party would be fun.

was/were going to

John was going to drive and Mary was going to follow on her bicycle.
It was Friday. We were going to set off the next day.

the past continuous:

It was September. Mary was starting school the next week.


We were very busy. The shop was opening in two weeks time.

talking about the future


1. When we know about the future we normally use the present tense.

We use the present simple for something scheduled or arranged:

We have a lesson next Monday.


The train arrives at 6.30 in the morning.
The holidays start next week.
It is my birthday tomorrow.

We can use the present continuous for plans or arrangements:

Im playing football tomorrow.


They are coming to see us tomorrow.
Were having a party at Christmas.
2. We use will to talk about the future:

When we make predictions:

It will be a nice day tomorrow.


I think Brazil will win the World Cup.
Im sure you will enjoy the film.

To mean want to or be willing to:

I hope you will come to my party.


George says he will help us.

To make offers and promises:

I'll see you tomorrow.


We'll send you an email.

To talk about offers and promises:

Tim will be at the meeting.


Mary will help with the cooking.
3. We use (be) going to:

To talk about plans and intentions:

Im going to drive to work today.


They are going to move to Manchester.

When we can see that something is likely to happen:

Be careful! You are going to fall.


Look at those black clouds. I think its going to rain.
4. We often use verbs like would like, plan, want, mean, hope, expect to talk about the
future:
What are you going to do next year? Id like to go to University.
We plan to go to France for our holidays.
George wants to buy a new car.
5. We use modals may, might, and could when we are not sure about the future:
I might stay at home tonight, or I might go to the cinema.
We could see Mary at the meeting. She sometimes goes.
6. We can use should if we think something is likely to happen:
We should be home in time for tea.
The game should be over by eight oclock.
7. Clauses with time words:
In clauses with time words like when, after, and until we often use a present tense form to
talk about the future:
Ill come home when I finish work.
You must wait here until your father comes.
They are coming after they have had dinner.
8. Clauses with if:
In clauses with if we often use a present tense form to talk about the future:
We wont be able to go out if it rains.
If Barcelona win tomorrow they will be champions.

WARNING: We do not normally use will in clauses with if or with time words:
Ill come home when I will finish work.
We wont be able to go out if it will rain rains.
But we can use will if it means a promise or offer:
I will be very happy if you will come to my party.
We should finish the job early if George will help us.
9. We can use the future continuous instead of the present continuous or going to for
emphasis when we are talking about plans, arrangements and intentions:
Theyll be coming to see us next week.
I will be driving to work tomorrow.

verbs in time clauses and if clause


Verbs in time clauses and conditionals follow the same patterns as in other clauses except:

In clauses with time words like when, after, until we often use the present
tense forms to talk about the future:

Ill come home when I finish work.


You must wait here until your father comes.
They are coming after they have had dinner.

in conditional clauses with if or unless we often use the present tense


forms to talk about the future:

We wont be able to go out if it is raining.


If Barcelona win tomorrow they will be champions.
I will come tomorrow unless I have to look after the children.

We do not normally use will in clauses with if or with time words:

Ill come home when I will finish work.


We wont be able to go out if it will rain. rains.
It will be nice to see Peter when he will get home gets home.
You must wait here until you father will come comes.

but we can use will if it means a promise or offer:

I will be very happy if you will come to my party.


We should finish the job early if George will help us.
"if" clauses and hypotheses
Some clauses with if are like hypotheses so we use past tense forms to talk about the present
and future.
We use the past tense forms to talk about the present in clauses with if :

for something that has not happened or is not happening:

He could get a new job if he really tried = He cannot get a job because he has not tried.
If Jack was playing they would probably
Jack is not playing so they will probably not
=
win.
win
I do not have his address so I cannot write to
him.
We use the past tense forms to talk about the future in clauses with if:

If I had his address I could write to him =

for something that we believe or know will not happen:

We would go by train if it wasnt so


expensive

We wont go by train because it is too


expensive.

I would look after the children for you at the


weekend if I was at home

I cant look after the children because I


will not be at home.

to make suggestions about what might happen:

If he came tomorrow we could borrow his car.


If we invited John, Mary would bring Angela.
When we are talking about something which did not happen in the past we use the past
perfect in the if clause and a modal verb in the main clause:
If you had seen him you could have spoken You did not see him so you could not speak to
=
to him
him
You could have stayed with us if you had
come to London

You couldnt stay with us because you didnt


come to London.

If we hadnt spent all our money we could


We have spent all our money so we cant take
=
take a holiday.
a holiday
If I had got the job we would be living in
I did not get the job so we are not living in
=
Paris
Paris.
If the main clause is about the past we use a modal with have:
If you had seen him you could have
You did not see him so you could not speak to
=
him.
spoken to him.
You could have stayed with us if you had You couldnt stay with us because you didnt
=
come to London.
come to London.
If you had invited me I might have come. = You didnt invite me so I didnt come.
If the main clause is about the present we use a present tense form or a modal without
have:
If I had got the job we would be living I did not get the job so we are not living in
=
Paris now.
in Paris now.
If you had done your homework you
would know the answer.

You did not do your homework so you do not


know the answer.

wishes and hypotheses


Wishes
We use past tense forms to talk about wishes:

We use past tense modals would and could to talk about wishes for the future:

I dont like my work. I wish I could get a better job.


Thats a dreadful noise. I wish it would stop.
I always have to get home early. I wish my parents would let me stay out later.

We use past tense forms to talk about wishes for the present:

I dont like this place. I wish I lived in somewhere more interesting.


These seats are very uncomfortable. I wish we were travelling first class.
Everyone wishes they had more free time.
John wishes he wasnt so busy.
I wish it wasnt so cold.

We use the past perfect to talk about wishes for the past:

I wish I had worked harder when I was at school.


Mary wishes she had listened to what her mother told her.
I wish I hadnt spent so much money last month.
Hypotheses (things that we imagine)
When we are talking about hypotheses:

We use present tense forms after phrases like what if, in case and
suppose to talk about the future if we think it is likely to happen:

Those steps are dangerous. Suppose someone has an accident.


We should leave home early in case we are late.

We use a past tense form to talk about the future after suppose and what
if to suggest something is not likely to happen:

It might be dangerous. Suppose they got lost.


What if he lost his job. What would happen then?

We use modals would, could for a hypothesis about the future:

We cant all stay in a hotel. It would be very expensive.


Drive carefully. You could have an accident.

We use would in the main clause and the past in a subordinate clause to talk
about the imagined future:

I would always help someone who really needed help.


I would always help someone if they really needed it.

We use modals with have to talk about something that did not happen in
the past:

I did not see Mary, or I might have spoken to her.


Its a pity Jack wasnt at the party. He would have enjoyed this party.
Why didnt you ask me. I could have told you the answer.

the verb be
back next
The verb be has the following forms:
I
am
We
Pr
Yo
are
ese Aff u
You
nt irm are
are
si ativ
The
mp e He
y
le:
/S
are
he/
It
is
A
m
I? Are
Ar we?
Qu
e Are
esti
yo you
on
u? ?
for
Is Are
m:
he/ the
sh y?
e
it?
Ne I We
gati am are
ve: no not/
t/ are
I nt
m You
no are

t
Yo
u
are
no not/
t/ are
are nt
nt The
y
He are
/S not/
he/ are
It n't
is
no
t/
isn
t

Pa
st
si
mp
le

I
wa
We
s
wer
Yo
e
u
You
we
wer
re
e
He
The
/S
y
he/
wer
It
e
wa
s

Th
e
pa
st
par
tici
ple
:

be
en.

Pr
ese
nt
per
fec
t:

ha
s/h
av
e
be
en

Pa
st
per

ha
d
be

fec
en
t:
The verb be is used in the following patterns:
1. with a noun:
My mother is a teacher.
Bill Clinton was the president of the US.
2. with an adjective:
This soup is very tasty.
The children were good.
2.1 with the -ing form to make the continuous aspect
We were walking down the street.
Everything was wet. It had been raining for hours.
2.2 with the -ed form to make the passive voice
The house was built in 1890.
The street is called Montagu Street.
This car was made in Japan.
3. with a prepositional phrase:
John and his wife are from Manchester.
The flowers are on the table.

link verbs
Some verbs are followed by either a noun or an adjective:
She was a good friend.

N+V+N

She was very happy.

N + V + Adj.

He became headmaster.

N+V+N

He became angry.

N + V + Adj.

These verbs are called link verbs. Common verbs like this are:

be

become

appear

feel

look

remain

seem

sound

She seemed an intelligent woman.


She seemed intelligent.
He looked hungry.
He looked a good player.
After appear and seem we often use to be:
She appeared to be an intelligent woman.
He seemed to be angry.
Some link verbs are followed by an adjective. Common verbs like this are:

get

go

grow

taste

smell

He got hungry in the evening.


She grew stronger every day.

delexical verbs like have, take, make and


give
Patterns with common verbs and nouns?
We often use common verbs like have and take with nouns like a shower, a drink:
I took a shower = I showered.
She had a drink = She drank something.
We call these delexical verbs because the important part of the meaning is taken out of the
verb and put into the noun.
We often put adjectives in front of the noun:
I took a cold shower.
She had a nice, refreshing drink.
The verbs used most frequently in this way are:

have

take

make

give

We also use go and do as delexical verbs, but they have different patterns:
Shall we go swimming this afternoon? Or shall we go for a walk?
Its your turn to do the cooking.
Ill have to do my hair before the party.
We use have with:
Food and drink: a meal; breakfast, lunch, dinner, a snack, a cup of tea
Talking: a chat, a conversation, a discussion, a talk,
Washing: a bath, a shower, a wash, a scrub
Resting: a break, a holiday, a rest
Disagreeing: argument, dispute, fight, quarrel
I had a good breakfast before I left home.
We had a long talk about the problem.
The kids should have a bath before they go to bed.
She generally had a short holiday in July or August.
They had a serious quarrel about their fathers will.
We use take with:
Washing: a bath, a shower, a wash
Resting: a break, a holiday, a rest
I always take a cold shower in the morning
You look tired. You need to take a break.
and with these words:
care, care of, a chance, a risk, a decision, a photograph,
trouble, a turn, turns
We took hundreds of photographs on holiday.
Jane always takes a lot of trouble with her homework.
We also use have and take with nouns formed from verbs:
I think you should have a look at this.
She took a bite of the cake.
Im thirsty. Im going to have a drink of water.
I had a listen to that new CD in the car.
They are going to have a swim.
We use give with:
Noises: a cry, a laugh, a scream, a shout, a whistle
Facial expressions: a smile, a grin, a look, a glance
Hitting: a kick, a punch, a slap, a push, a knock, a blow
Affectionate actions: a hug, a kiss, a stroke,
Talking: advice, an answer, information, an interview, a lecture, some news, a report, a
speech, a talk, a warning.

She gave a loud laugh.


John gave a happy smile.
He gave me a nasty kick on the leg.
She gave the children a goodnight kiss and put them to bed.
I have to give a speech at the meeting tomorrow.
We use make with:
Talking: and sounds: a comment, an enquiry, a noise, a point, a promise, a sound, a speech, a
suggestion
Plans: arrangements, a choice, a decision, a plan, plans
Travel: a journey, a trip, a tour of, a visit to
We use go with an -ing verb or for common activities:
We usually go walking at the weekend.
He goes running every evening after supper.
Mums out. Shes gone shopping.
We use go for a with a verb for common activities that involve moving:
a jog, a ride, a swim, a run, a stroll, a walk
I want to get out of here. Lets go for a walk.
Hes gone for a ride on his bike.
We use do the with -ing nouns to do with work, especially work in the house, and with
other nouns to do with work:
Its your turn to do the cooking.
You do the washing up and Ill do the drying.
I need to do a few jobs around the house.
I cant come out this evening. I have a lot of work to do.
We use do with nouns when it is obvious what the action is:
Ill have to do my hair before we go out [= Ill have to brush my hair.]
Have you done your teeth? [= Have you cleaned your teeth?]
A question like:
Have you done the car?
could mean:
Have you washed the car?
or
Have you mended the car?
or
Have you filled the car with petrol?
depending on the context.

Modal verbs
The modal verbs are:
can

could

may

might

shall

should

will
would
We use modals verbs to show if we believe something is certain, probable or possible (or
not). We also use modals to do things like talking about ability, asking permission making
requests and offers, and so on.

certain, probable or possible

ability, permission, requests and advice

modals + have

can, could and could have

may, might, may have and might have

can or could

will or would

will have or would have

certain, probable or possible


The modal verbs are can, could, may, might, shall, should, will and would.
The modals are used to show that we believe something is certain, probable or possible:
Possibility:
We use the modals could, might and may to show that something is possible in the future, but
not certain:
They might come later. (= Perhaps/Maybe they will come later.)
They may come by car. (= Perhaps/Maybe they will come by car.)
If we dont hurry we could be late. (= Perhaps/Maybe we will be late)
We use could have, might have and may have to show that something was possible now or at
some time in the past:
Its ten oclock. They might have arrived now.
They could have arrived hours ago.
We use the modal can to make general statements about what is possible:
It can be very cold in winter. (= It is sometimes very cold in winter)
You can easily lose your way in the dark. (= People often lose their way in the dark)
We use the modal could as the past tense of can:
It could be very cold in winter. (= Sometimes it was very cold in winter.)
You could lose your way in the dark. (= People often lost their way in the dark)
Impossibility:

We use the negative cant or cannot to show that something is impossible:


That cant be true.
You cannot be serious.
We use couldnt/could not to talk about the past:
We knew it could not be true.
He was obviously joking. He could not be serious.
Probability:
We use the modal must to show we are sure something to be true and we have reasons for
our belief:
Its getting dark. It must be quite late.
You havent eaten all day. You must be hungry.
We use must have for the past:
They hadnt eaten all day. They must have been hungry.
You look happy. You must have heard the good news.
We use the modal should to suggest that something is true or will be true in the future, and to
show you have reasons for your suggestion:
Ask Miranda. She should know.
It's nearly six o'clock. They should arrive soon.
We use should have to talk about the past:
It's nearly eleven o'clock. They should have arrived by now.

ability, permission, requests and advice


The modal verbs are can, could, may, might, shall, should, will and would.
The modals are used to do things like talking about ability, asking permission making
requests, and so on.
Ability:
We use can to talk about someones skill or general abilities:
She can speak several languages.
He can swim like a fish.
They cant dance very well.
We use can to talk about the ability to do something at a given time in the present or future:
You can make a lot of money if you are lucky.
Help. I cant breathe.
They can run but they cant hide.
We use could to talk about past time:
She could speak several languages.
They couldnt dance very well.
We use could have to say that someone had the ability/opportunity to do something, but did
not do it:
She could have learned Swahili, but she didnt have time.
I could have danced all night [but didn't].
Permission:

We use can to ask for permission to do something:


Can I ask a question, please?
Can we go home now.
could is more formal and polite than can:
Could I ask a question please?
Could we go home now?
may is another more formal and polite way of asking for permission:
May I ask a question please?
May we go home now?
We use can to give permission:
You can go home now if you like.
You can borrow my pen if you like.
may is a more formal and polite way of giving permission:
You may go home now, if you like.
We use can to say that someone has permission to do something:
We can go out whenever we want.
Students can travel free.
may is a more formal and polite way of saying that someone has permission:
Students may travel free.
Instructions and requests:
We use could you and would you as polite ways of telling or asking someone to do
something:
Could you take a message please?
Would you carry this for me please?
Could I have my bill please?
can and will are less polite:
Can you take a message please?
Will you carry this for me please?
Suggestions and advice:
We use should to make suggestions and give advice:
You should send an email.
We should go by train.
We use could to make suggestions:
We could meet at the weekend.
You could eat out tonight.
We use conditionals to give advice:
Dan will help you if you ask him.
Past tenses are more polite:
Dan would help you if you asked him.
Offers and invitations:
We use can I and to make offers:
Can I help you?
Can I do that for you?
We can also use shall I

Shall I help you with that?


Shall I call you on your mobile?
We sometime say I can ... or I could ... or Ill (I will) ... to make an offer:
I can do that for you if you like.
I can give you a lift to the station.
Ill do that for you if you like.
Ill give you a lift to the station.
We use would you like (to) ... for invitations:
Would you like to come round to morrow?
Would you like another drink?
We use you must or we must for a very polite invitation:
You must come round and see us.
We must meet again soon.
Obligation and necessity
We use must to say that it is necessary to do something:
You must stop at a red light.
Everyone must bring something to eat.
You can wear what you like, but you must look neat and tidy.
Im sorry, but you mustnt make a noise in here.
We use had to for this if we are talking about the past:
Everyone had to bring something to eat.
We could wear what we liked, but we had to look neat and tidy.

modals + have
We use a modal verb with have and the past participle:
Subject

Modal

Have

Past Participle

They

will

have

arrived

by now

You

might

have

seen

the film

Jack and Jill


would
have
been
We use a modal verb with have to refer back:

from a point of time in the past:

We were very worried. Someone might have taken the car.

from the present

It is nearly eight oclock. They will have arrived by now.

or from the future:

We wont eat until they arrive. They might not have had supper.

or to refer to past time:

late

You should have helped her when she asked.


They might have got lost. Nobody knows where they are.

can, could and could have


Questions and negatives:
We make questions by putting the subject after can/could:
Can I ? Can you ? Could I Could you ? and so on.
The negative form is cant in spoken English and cannot in written English.
We sometimes say cannot, but it is very emphatic.
The negative form of could is couldnt in spoken English and could not in written English.
We sometimes say could not.
We use can and cant :

To talk about ability:

Maria can speak four languages.


I cant swim, but my sister can.

To say that something is possible or impossible:

Learning English can be difficult [= Learning English is sometimes difficult.]


Children can be very naughty [= Children are sometimes very naughty.]
Its still light. It cant be bedtime.

For requests and refusals of requests

Can I go home now?


You can go whenever you like.
You can borrow the car today, but you cant have it tomorrow.

To offer to help someone:

Can I help you.?


Can I carry bag that for you?
We use could and couldnt as the past tense of can/cant:

To talk about ability:

I could run very fast when I was younger.


She couldnt get a job anywhere.

To say that something was possible or impossible:

Our teacher could be very strict when we were at school. [= Some teachers were very strict.]
People could starve in those days. [= People sometimes starved.]
You couldnt use computers in the nineteenth century.

To make a polite request:

Could I go now please?


Could you lend me a dictionary please?

To make a polite offer:

Could I give you a lift?


I could carry that for you.
We use could have:

to show that something is possible now or was possible at some time in the past:

Its ten oclock. They could have arrived now.


They could have arrived hours ago.

may, might, may have and might have


Questions and negatives:
We make questions by putting the subject after may/might:
May I ? Could I Might I ? Etc.
The negative forms are may not and might not..
We use may:

when we are not sure about something:

Jack may be coming to see us tomorrow.


Oh dear! Its half past ten. We may be late for the meeting.
There may not be very many people there.

to make polite requests:

May I borrow the car tomorrow?


May we come a bit later?
When we use may not for a refusal it is emphatic:
You may not!
You may not borrow the car until you can be more careful with it.
We use might:
when we are not sure about something:
I might see you tomorrow.
It looks nice, but it might be very expensive.
Its quite bright. It might not rain today.

As the past tense of may for requests:


He asked if he might borrow the car.
They wanted to know if they might come later.
For very polite requests:
Might I ask you a question?
Might we just interrupt for a moment?
We use may have and might have to show that something has possibly happened now or
happened at some time in the past:
Its ten oclock. They might have arrived now.[= Perhaps they have arrived]
They may have arrived hours ago. [= Perhaps they arrived hours ago.]

can or could
Possibility
We use the modal can to make general statements about what is possible:
It can be very cold in winter. (= It is sometimes very cold in winter)
You can easily lose your way in the dark. (= People often lose their way in the dark)
We use could as the past tense of can:
It could be very cold in winter. (=Sometimes it was very cold in winter.)
You could lose your way in the dark. (=People often lost their way in the dark)
We use could to show that something is possible in the future, but not certain:
If we dont hurry we could be late. (=Perhaps/Maybe we will be late)
We use could have to show that something is/was possible now or at some time in the past:
Its ten oclock. They could have arrived now.
They could have arrived hours ago.
Impossibility:
We use the negative cant or cannot to show that something is impossible:
That cant be true.
You cannot be serious.
We use couldnt/could not to talk about the past:
We knew it could not be true.
He was obviously joking. He could not be serious.
Ability:
We use can to talk about someones skill or general abilities:
She can speak several languages.
He can swim like a fish.
They cant dance very well.
We use can to talk about the ability to do something at a given time in the present or future:
You can make a lot of money if you are lucky.
Help. I cant breathe.
They can run but they cant hide.
We use could to talk about past time:

She could speak several languages.


They couldnt dance very well.
Permission:
We use can to ask for permission to do something:
Can I ask a question, please?
Can we go home now?
could is more formal and polite than can:
Could I ask a question please?
Could we go home now?
We use can to give permission:
You can go home now if you like.
You can borrow my pen if you like.
We use can to say that someone has permission to do something:
We can go out whenever we want.
Students can travel free.
Instructions and requests:
We use could you and as a polite way of telling or asking someone to do something:
Could you take a message please?
Could I have my bill please?
can is less polite:
Can you take a message please?
Offers and invitations:
We use can I to make offers:
Can I help you?
Can I do that for you?
We sometimes say I can ... or I could ... to make an offer:
I can do that for you if you like.
I can give you a lift to the station.

will or would
We use will:

to talk about the future to say what we believe will happen

to talk about what people want to do or are willing to do

to make promises and offers

would is the past tense form of will. Because it is a past tense it is used:

to talk about the past.

to talk about hypotheses things that are imagined rather than true.

for politeness.

Beliefs
We use will

to say what we believe will happen in the future:

We'll be late.
We will have to take the train.
We use would as the past tense of will:

to say what we believed would happen:

I thought I would be late so I would have to take the train.


Offers and promises
We use I will or We will to make offers and promises:
Ill give you a lift home after the party.
We will come and see you next week.
Willingness

to talk about what people want to do or are willing to do:

Well see you tomorrow.


Perhaps dad will lend me the car.
We use would as the past tense of will:

to talk about what people wanted to do or were willing to do:

We had a terrible night. The baby wouldnt go to sleep. He kept waking up and crying.
Dad wouldnt lend me the car, so we had to take the train.

to talk about something that we did often in the past because we wanted to do it:

When they were children they used to spend their holidays at their grandmothers at the
seaside. They would get up early every morning and theyd have a quick breakfast then they
would run across the road to the beach.
Conditionals
We use will in conditionals with if and unless to say what we think will happen in the future
or present:

Ill give her a call if I can find her number.


You wont get in unless you have a ticket.
We use would to talk about hypotheses, about something which is possible but not real:

to talk about the result or effect of a possible situation:

It would be very expensive to stay in a hotel.

in conditionals with words like if and what if. In these sentences the main verb is
usually in the past tense:

I would give her a call if I could find her number.


If I had the money I'd buy a new car.
You would lose weight if you took more exercise.
If he got a new job he would probably make more money.
What if he lost his job. What would happen then?
We use conditionals to give advice:
Dan will help you if you ask him.
Past tenses are more polite:
Dan would help you if you asked him.
Phrases with would:

would you, would you mind (not) -ing, for requests:

Would you carry this for me please?


Would you mind carrying this?
Would you mind not telling him that?

would you like ...; would you like to ..., for offers and invitations:

Would you like to come round to morrow?


Would you like another drink?

I would like ; Id like (you)(to) ..., to say what we want or what we


want to do:

Id like that one please.


Id like to go home now.

Id rather (I would rather) to say what we prefer:

Id rather have that one.


Id rather go home now.

I would think, I would imagine, I'd guess, to give an opinion when we


are not sure or when we want to be polite:

Its very difficult I would imagine.


I would think thats the right answer.

will have or would have


We use the perfective will have when we are looking back from a point in time when
something will have happened.
By the end of the decade scientists will have discovered a cure for influenza.
I will phone at six oclock. He will have got home by then.
or looking "back" from the present:
Look at the time. The match will have started.
Its half past five. Dad will have finished work.
We use would have as the past tense form of will have:
I phoned at six oclock. I knew he would have got home by then.
It was half past five. Dad would have finished work.
We use would have in past conditionals to talk about something that did not happen:
If it had been a little warmer we would have gone for a swim.
He would have been very angry if he had seen you.

double object verbs


1. Some verbs have two objects an indirect object and a direct object:
Subject

Verb

Indirect object

Direct object

My wife

sent

me

an email

He

brought

his mother

some flowers

He
cooked
all his friends
a delicious meal
These clauses have the structure: V + N (indirect object) + N (direct object)
2. We can use a prepositional phrase with to or for with an indirect object:
Subject

Verb

Direct object

Prepositional phrase

My wife

sent

an email

to me

He

brought

some flowers

for his mother

He
cooked
a delicious meal
for all his friends.
These clauses have the structure : V + N (direct object) + Prepositional phrase (indirect
object)
3. Common verbs with for and an indirect object are:

book

buy

get

cook

keep

bring

make

pour

save

find

They booked a table for me at the restaurant.


We made toys for all the children.
4. Common verbs with to and an indirect object are:

give

lend

offer

pass

post

read

sell

send

show

promise

tell

He gave his programme to the man sitting next to him.


They sent Christmas cards to all their customers.
5. If the indirect object is a long phrase we normally use to or for:
He showed his ticket to the policeman standing by the door.
We kept something to eat and drink for all the people who arrived late.
6. If the indirect object is a pronoun we normally use the N + V + N + N pattern:
I poured him another drink.
Their mother read them another story.

phrasal verbs
Some verbs are two part verbs (see Clauses, Sentences and Phrases). They consist of a verb
and a particle:

grow + up
>> The children are growing up.

Often this gives the verb a new meaning:

take + after
>> She takes after her mother
= She looks like her mother, or She behaves like her mother.

count + on
>> I know I can count on you
= I know I can trust you, or I know I can believe you.

Some transitive two part verbs (see Clauses, Sentences and Phrases) have only one pattern:
N (subject) + V + p + N (object)
[Note: N = noun; V = verb; p = particle]
N (Subject)

Verb

Particle

N (Object)

She
I
My father

takes
can count
comes

after
on
from

her mother
you
Madrid

Some transitive two part verbs (see Clauses, Sentences and Phrases) are phrasal verbs.
Phrasal verbs have two different patterns:
The usual pattern is: N + V + N + p
N (Subject)

Verb

(N) Object

Particle

She
He
We

gave
knocked
will be leaving

the money
the glass
our friends and neighbours

back
over
behind

But sometimes these verbs have the pattern: N (subject) + V + p + N (object)


N (Subject)

Verb

Particle

N (Object)

She
gave
back
the money
He
knocked
over
the glass
We
will be leaving
behind
our friends and neighbours
When the object is a personal pronoun,these verbs always have the pattern:
N + V +N + p:

She gave back it


>> She gave it back

He knocked over it
>> knocked it over

We will be leaving behind them


>> We will be leaving them behind

Phrasal verbs are nearly always made up of a transitive verb and a particle. Common
verbs with their most frequent particles are:
bring:

about, along, back, forward, in, off, out, round, up

buy:

out, up

call:

off, up

carry:

off, out

cut:

back, down, off, out, up

give:

away, back, off

hand:

back, down, in, on out, over, round

knock:

down, out, over

leave:

behind, out

let:

down, in, off, out

pass:

down, over, round

point:

out

push:

about, around, over

put:

across, away, down, forward, off, on, out, through, together, up

read:

out

set:

apart, aside, back, down

shut:

away, in, off, out

take:

apart, away, back, down, in, on, up, over

think:

over, through, up

reflexive and ergative verb


Reflexive verbs
1 The reflexive pronouns (see pronouns) are:
Singular:
myself; yourself; himself; herself; itself
Plural:
ourselves; yourselves; themselves
We use a reflexive pronoun after a transitive verb (see Clauses, Sentences and Phrases)
when the direct object is the same as the subject of the verb:

I am teaching myself to play the piano.


Be careful with that knife. You might cut yourself.
These are the verbs most often found with reflexive pronouns:

cut

dry

enjoy

hurt

introduce

kill

prepare

teach

Some verbs change their meaning slightly when they have a reflexive pronoun as direct
object:

amuse

apply

busy

content

behave

blame

distance

express

find

help

see

Would you like to help yourself to


another drink?

= Would you like to take another drink?

I wish the children would behave


themselves.

= I wish the children would behave well.

He found himself lying by the side of


the road.

I saw myself as a famous actor.

= I imagined that I was a famous actor.

She applied herself to the job of


mending the lights.

= She worked very hard to mend the lights.

He busied himself in the kitchen.

= He worked busily in the kitchen.

I had to content myself with a few


Euros.

= I had to be satisfied with a few Euros.

He was surprised when he realised that he was at


the side of the road.

The verb enjoy always has an object:


We all enjoyed the party.
I really enjoyed my lunch.
If enjoy has no other object, we use a reflexive pronoun:
They all enjoyed They all enjoyed themselves.
I really enjoyed I really enjoyed myself.
NOTE: We do not use a reflexive pronoun after verbs which describe things people usually
do for themselves:
He washed in cold water.
He always shaved before going out in the evening.
Michael dressed and got ready for the party.
We only use reflexives with these verbs for emphasis:
He dressed himself in spite of his injuries.
Shes old enough to wash herself.
Ergative verbs
1. Ergative verbs are both transitive and intransitive:
Peter closed the door

Transitive: N + V + N

The door closed

Intransitive: N + V

I boiled a pan of water

Transitive: N + V + N

The pan boiled


2. Common ergative verbs are:

Intransitive: N + V

begin

break

change

close

drop

crack

dry

end

finish

grow

improve

increase

move

open

shake

start

stop

tear

turn

I broke the glass.


I dropped the glass and it broke.
The referee blew his whistle and started the match.
The match started at 2.30.
We grew some tasty potatoes.
The potatoes were growing well.
The wind shook the trees.
The trees shook in the wind.
3. Many verbs to do with cooking are ergative verbs:

bake

boil

cook

defrost

freeze

melt

roast

You should roast the meat at 200 degrees centigrade.


The meat was roasting in a hot oven.
I always defrost meat before I cook it.
I am waiting for the meat to defrost.
Melt the chocolate and pour it over the ice cream.
The chocolate was melting in a pan.
4. Verbs to do with vehicles are often ergative:

back

crash

drive

fly

reverse

run

sail

start

stop

Im learning to fly a plane.


The plane flew at twice the speed of sound.
He crashed his car into a tree.
His car crashed into a tree.
5. We use some ergative verbs with only a few nouns:

catch: dress, coat, clothes, trousers etc.

fire : Gun, pistol, rifle, rocket.

play: guitar, music, piano, violin, CD, DVD etc.

ring: bell, alarm

She caught her dress on a nail.


Her dress caught on a nail.

He fired a pistol to start the race.


A pistol fired to start the race.

verbs followed by to + infinitive


1 Some verbs are followed by the to-infinitive:
I decided to go home as soon as possible.
We all wanted to have more English classes.
Common verbs followed by the to-infinitive are:
Verbs of thinking and feeling:

choose

decide

expect

forget

hate

hope

intend

learn

like

love

mean

plan

prefer

remember

would like

would love

Verbs of saying:

agree

promise

refuse

Other common verbs are:

arrange

attempt

fail

help

manage

tend

try

want

2 Some verbs are followed by a noun and the to-infinitive:


She asked him to send her a text message.
He wanted all his friends to come to his party.
Common verbs with this pattern are:
Verbs of saying:

advise

ask

encourage

invite

order

persuade

remind

tell

warn *

*Note: The verb warn is normally used with not


The police warned everyone not to drive too fast.
Verbs of wanting or liking:

expect

intend

would

prefer

want

would like

Other verbs with this pattern are:

allow

enable

force

get

teach

3. Passive infinitive
Many of these verbs are sometimes followed by a passive infinitive
(to be + past participle):
I expected to be met when I arrived at the station.
They wanted to be told if anything happened.
I dont like driving myself. I prefer to be driven.

Activity 1(pop-up): Match the 'to infinitive' clauses to the sentence beginnings.
Activity 2(pop-up): Match the 'to infinitive' clauses to the sentence beginnings.
Activity 3(pop-up): Match the 'to infinitive' clauses to the sentence beginnings.

verbs followed by -ing clauses

back next
Common verbs followed by ing nouns are:
Verbs of liking and disliking:

detest

dislike

enjoy

hate

fancy

like

love

I love swimming but I hate jogging.


They always enjoyed visiting their friends.
A: Do you fancy going for a walk?
B: I wouldnt mind
Phrases with mind:

wouldnt mind (= would like)

dont mind (= I am willing to)

would you mind (= will you please?)

I wouldnt mind having some fish and chips.


I dont mind waiting for a few minutes.
Would you mind holding this for me?
Verbs of saying and thinking:

admit

consider

deny

imagine

remember

suggest

Our guide suggested waiting until the storm was over.


Everyone denied seeing the accident.
Other common verbs are:

avoid

begin

finish

keep

miss

practise

risk

start

stop

I havent finished writing this letter.


Lets practise speaking English.
Passive form of -ing
Many of these verbs are sometimes followed by the passive form of -ing: being + past
participle
I dont like being interrupted.
Our dog loves being stroked under the chin.
Noun + -ing clause
Some verbs are followed by a noun and an -ing clause:
Verbs to do with the senses:

see

watch

hear

smell

listen to

etc.

We saw everybody running away.


I could hear someone singing.
Other common verbs:

catch

find

imagine

leave

prevent

stop

I caught someone trying to break into my house.


We couldnt prevent them getting away.

verbs followed by that clause


back next
With "that"
We can use clauses with that:
after verbs of thinking:

think

believe

expect

decide

hope

know

understand

suppose

guess

imagine

feel

remember

forget

I hope that you will enjoy your holiday.


She didnt really think that it would happen.
I knew that I had seen her somewhere before.
after verbs of saying:

say

admit

argue

reply

agree

claim

deny

mention

answer

complain

explain

promise

suggest

They admitted that they had made a mistake.


She argued that they should invest more in the business.
The children complained that they had nothing to do.

Note: tell and some other verbs of saying must always have a direct object (see clauses,
sentences and phrases):

tell

convince

persuade

inform

remind

We tried to tell them that they should stop what they were doing.
The police informed everybody that the danger was over.
as postmodifiers after nouns to do with thinking or saying:

advice

belief

claim

feeling

argument

hope

promise

report

guess

opinion

idea

He made a promise that he would do all he could to help.


I had a funny feeling that something was wrong.
after some nouns to say more about the noun:

fact

advantage

effect

possibility

chance

danger

evidence

problem

difficulty

She pointed out the danger that they might be left behind.
There was a chance that we would succeed
Note: We often use a that clause to define one of these nouns after the verb be :

danger

problem

chance

possibility

fact

The danger is that we will be left behind.


The fact is that it is getting very late.
after some adjectives which describe feelings to give a reason for our feelings:

pleased

sorry

happy

unhappy

sad

excited

glad

disappointed

afraid

I am sorry that you cant come.


Everybody was pleased that the danger was past.
It is lucky that you were able to drive us home.
No "that"
NOTE: We can always use a clause without the word that:
They admitted [that] they had made a mistake.
The police informed everybody [that] the danger was over.
I am sorry [that] you cant come.
There was chance [that] we would succeed.