Grammar

Verbs, moods and tenses: Chapter 3

Verb Tenses

    Aspect      
Tense   Simple Continuous Prefect Perfect continuous
Past Formula Second form (be)+(verb)+(ing) Have+verb (past participle) Have+been+ing
  Definition An action that ended in the past An action that was happening(past continuous) when another action finished (simple past) An action that finished before another action or time in past An action that happen over time in the past before another action
    Walked Was/were walking Had walked Had been walking
  Example  He/I/They walked home yesterday He was walking home yesterday when the cops stopped him He had walked(past perfect) for two hours before the cops stopped(past simple) him He had been walking(past perfect continuous) for a while when he felt(simple past) thirsty
Present Formula First From (be)+(verb)+(ing) Have+verb+(past participle) Have+been+verb+ing
  Definition An action that is habitual or repeated An action is in the process of happening now An action that happened at an  unspecified time in the past An action that happens over time,starting in the past and continuing into present
    Walks/walk am/are/is walking Have/has walked Have/has been walking
  Example He walks home everyday He is walking home now He has walked all over these mountains He has been walking these mountains since he moved here
Future Formula Will+verb(first form) (will)+(be)+(verb)+(ing) (will)+(have)+(past participle) Have+been+verb+ing
  Definition A plan for an action in the future An action that will happen in the future for a length of time An action that will finish before another action or time in the future An action that happens over time in the future before another action happens
    Will walk Will be walking Will have walked Will have been walking
  Example He will walk home every day He will be walking home from now on He will have walked (future perfect)homeby the time his mother arrives(present simple) He will have been walking for two hours before he reaches the next town

Direct and indirect speech

Direct and indirect speech is rather confusing for learners of English.

In this segment we will first define the terms, and then look at how to talk about what someone said, and how to convert speech from direct to indirect or vice-versa.

Example

One may answer the question “What did he say?” in two ways:

  1. a) by repeating the words exactly as they were spoken (direct speech)
  2. b) by reporting the words spoken (indirect or reported speech).

DIRECT SPEECH

Direct Speech

She exclaimed, "I saw a dinosaur outside the window!"

Indirect speech

She said that she had seen a dinosaur outside the window.

'That' may be omitted:
She told him that she was happy. = She told him she was happy.

'SAY' AND 'TELL'

Use 'say' when there is no indirect object:
He said that he was tired.

Always use 'tell' when you say who was being spoken to (i.e. with an indirect object):
He told me that he was tired.

'TALK' AND 'SPEAK'

Use these verbs to describe the action of communicating:
He talked to us.
She was speaking on the telephone.

Use these verbs with 'about' to refer to what was said:
She talked (to us) about her plans for her future.

 TENSE CHANGES WHEN USING REPORTED SPEECH

Normally, the tense in reported speech is one tense back in time from the tense in direct speech:
She said, "I am tired." = She said that she was tired.

Phrase in Direct Speech Equivalent in Reported Speech
Simple present Simple past
"I always drink coffee", she said She said that she always drank coffee.
Present continuous Past continuous
"I am reading a book", he explained. He explained that he was reading a book
Simple past Past perfect
"Bill arrived on Saturday", he said. He said that Bill had arrived on Saturday.
Present perfect Past perfect
"I have been to Spain", he told me. He told me that he had been to Spain.
Past perfect Past perfect
"I had just turned out the light," he explained. He explained that he had just turned out the light.
Present perfect continuous Past perfect continuous
They complained, "We have been waiting for hours". They complained that they had been waiting for hours.
Past continuous Past perfect continuous
"We were living in Paris", they told me. They told me that they had been living in Paris.
Future Present conditional
"I will be in Geneva on Monday", he said. He said that he would be in Geneva on Monday.
Future continuous Conditional continuous
She said, "I'll be using the car next Friday". She said that she would be using the car next Friday.

You do not need to change the tense if the reporting verb is in the present, or if the original statement was about something that is still true, e.g.

He said “I have eaten my lunch but I’ll eat again in two hours”

He says he has eaten his lunch but he will eat again in two hours..

We explained “It is difficult to diagnose depression”

We explained that it is very difficult to diagnose depression.

**These modal verbs do not change in reported speech: might, could, would, should, ought to

 Quoting the exact words of the speeker is called “The Direct Speech”.

David said, “I am writing a letter now”.

Reporting of what a speaker said without quoting his exact words is called ‘Indirect Speech’.

David said that he was writing a letter then.

Direct Speech - Indirect Speech
now - then
here - there
here after - there after
this - that
these - those
ago - before
thus - so
to-day - that day
to-night - that night
last night - the previous night
yesterday - the day before (or)
the previous day
tomorrow - the next day (or)
the following day
last week - the week before (or)
the previous week
next week - the week after (or)
the following week
last month - the month before (or)
the previous month
next month - a month after

If the reporting verb is in the Present or Future tense (e.g., say, will say) there is no change in the tense of the verb in the Indirect speech.
Antony says, “I eat a mango”. (D.S.)
Antony says, that he eats a mango”. (I.S.)

If Reporting Verb is in the Past Tense. the tense of the verbs in the reported speech or Indirect Speech must be generally changed.

  1. Present Tense in the Direct becomes past tense.
    Johnsi said, “I write a letter”. (D.S)
    Johnsi said that she wrote a letter. (I.S)2. Past Tense in the direct becomes past perfect or remains unchanged.
    Angel said, “I brought a pen yesterday”. (D.S)
    Angel said that she had bought a pen the day before. (I.S)

    3. Present Continuous in the direct becomes past continuous.
    John said, “I am going to church”. (D.S)
    John said that he was going to church. (I.S)

    4. Past Continuous in the direct becomes past perfect continuous.
    Nelson said, “I was playing cricket”. (D.S)
    Nelson said that he had been playing cricket. (I.S)

    5. Present Perfect in the direct becomes past perfect.
    Kamal said, “I have done my home work”. (D.S)
    Nelson said that he had done his home work. (I.S)

    6. Present Perfect Continuous in the direct becomes past perfect continuous.
    He said, “I have been reading a novel”. (D.S)
    He said that he had been reading a novel. (I.S)

    7. ‘Will’ and ‘Shall’ are changed to ‘would’.
    He said, “I will go to London tomorrow”. (D.S)
    He said that he would go to London the next day. (I.S)

    Exception to the above rule:
    If the direct speech contains the Universal Truth, the tense of the direct speech remains unchanged even if the reporting verb is in the past.

    The teacher said, “The sun rises in the East”.(D.S)
    The teacher said that the sun rises in the East.(I.S)

Active and passive voice

These sentences are in passive voice. The Passive voice is used in English
(a) To stress the action done rather than the doer of the action
(b) If the doer is unknown
(c) When it is more polite.

When using the active voice, the subjects are the ones performing the action.

God loves all men.
Birds build nests.
Dogs chew books.
In these three sentences the subject does the action. Hence they are in the active avoice.
Rules for changing Active Voice into Passive Voice:

  • Identify the subject, the verb and the object: SVO
  • Change the object into subject
  • Change the subject into object.
  • Add the suitable helping verb or auxiliary verb. In case helping verb is given, use the same. But note that the helping verb given agrees with the object.
  • Change the main verb into past participle of the verb.
  • Add the preposition "by" if required.

 

Questions in the Passive :
If the question in the Active Voice begins with a Helping verb the Passive voice must also begin with a suitable helping verb. Supposing the question begins with ‘Wh or How’ form (what, when, how ...) the Passive Voice must begin with the same.

Active Voice Passive Voice
Are you writing a letter? Is a letter being written by you?
Is she beating the child? Is the child beaten by her?
Will you accept the position? Will the position be accepted by you?
Who broke the window? By whom was the window broken?
Why did you write such a letter? Why was such a letter written by you?
Where can you hide this box? Where can this box be hidden by you?

If a sentence contains two objects namely Indirect Object and Direct Object in the Active Voice, two forms of Passive Voice can be formed.

  • She brought me a cup of coffee. (AV)
    I was brought a cup of coffee by her. (PV) (or)
    A cup of coffee was brought [to] me by her. (PV)
  • The teacher teaches us grammar. (AV)
    We are taught grammar by the teacher. (PV) (or)
    Grammar is taught [to] us by the teacher. (PV)
  • They made him king. (AV)
    He was made king by them. (PV)

 

The following tenses can also not be changed into passive voice.

  1. Present perfect continuous tense
  2. Past perfect continuous tense
  3. Future continuous tense
  4. Future perfect continuous tense

Subject verb agreement

  1. Subjects and verbs must agree in number. This is the cornerstone rule that forms the background of the concept.

The dog growls when he is angry. The dogs growl when they are angry.

  1. Don’t get confused by the words that come between the subject and verb; they do not affect agreement.

The dog, who is chewing on my jeans, is usually very good.

  1. Prepositional phrases between the subject and verb usually do not affect agreement.

The colors of the rainbow are beautiful.

  1. When sentences start with “there” or “here,” the subject will always be placed after the verb, so care needs to be taken to identify it correctly.

There is a problem with the balance sheet. Here are the papers you requested.

  1. Subjects don't always come before verbs in questions. Make sure you accurately identify the subject before deciding on the proper verb form to use.

Does Lefty usually eat grass? Where are the pieces of this puzzle.

  1. If two subjects are joined by and, they typically require a plural verb form.

Example: A car and a bike are my means of transportation.

But note these exceptions:

Exceptions:
Breaking and entering is against the law.
The bed and breakfast was charming.

The cow and the pig are jumping over the moon.

In those sentences, “breaking and entering” and “bed and breakfast” are compound noun

  1. The word none needs special attention. Sometimes it uses a singular verb, and at other times, it uses a plural verb. When none means no one or not one, use the singular form of the verb.
None of those boys is responsible for that crime

When none means or suggests more than one thing or person, use the plural form of the verb.

None are exempt from paying their taxes.

 

  1. If one of the words each, every, or no comes before the subject, the verb is singular.

No smoking or drinking is allowed.

Every man and woman is required to check in.

  1. If the subjects are both singular and are connected by the words or, nor, neither/nor, either/or, and not only/but also the verb is singular.

Either Jessica or Christian is to blame for the accident.

  1. Words such as glasses, pants, pliers, and scissors are regarded as plural (and require plural verbs) unless they're preceded the phrase pair of (in which case the word pair becomes the subject).

My glasses were on the bed.

My pants were torn.

A pair of denim trousers is in the closet.

  1. The singular verb form is usually used for units of measurement or time.

Four quarts of oil was required to get the car running.

  1. If the subjects are both plural and are connected by the words or, nor, neither/nor, either/or, and not only/but also, the verb is plural.

Dogs and cats are both available at the pound.

  1. If one subject is singular and one plural and the words are connected by the words or, nor, neither/nor, either/or, and not only/but also, you use the verb form of the subject that is nearest the verb.

Either the bears or the lion has escaped from the zoo. Neither the lion nor the bears have escaped from the zoo.

  1. Indefinite pronouns typically take singular verbs.  *

Everybody wants to be loved.

Except for the pronouns (few, many, several, both, all, some) that always take the plural form.

Few were left alive after the flood.

  1. If two infinitives are separated by and they take the plural form of the verb.

To walk and to chew gum require great skill.

  1. When gerunds are used as the subject of a sentence, they take the singular verb form of the verb; but, when they are linked by and, they take the plural form.

Standing in the water was a bad idea. Swimming in the ocean and playing drums are my hobbies.

  1. Collective nouns like herd, senate, class, crowd, etc. usually take a singular verb form.

The herd is stampeding.

  1. Titles of books, movies, novels, etc. are treated as singular and take a singular verb.

The Burbs is a movie starring Tom Hanks.

  1. With words that indicate portions—e.g., a lot, a majority, some, all—Rule 1 given earlier in this section is reversed, and we are guided by the noun after of. If the noun after of is singular, use a singular verb. If it is plural, use a plural verb.

Examples:
A lot of the pie has disappeared.
A lot of the pies have disappeared.
A third of the city is unemployed.
A third of the people are unemployed.
All of the pie is gone.
All of the pies are gone.
Some of the pie is missing.
Some of the pies are missing.

Conditional

Conditional tenses are used to speculate about what could happen, what might have happened, and what we wish would happen. In English, most sentences using the conditional contain the word if. Many conditional forms in English are used in sentences that include verbs in one of the past tenses. This usage is referred to as "the unreal past" because we use a past tense but we are not actually referring to something that happened in the past. There are five main ways of constructing conditional sentences in English. In all cases, these sentences are made up of an if clause and a main clause. In many negative conditional sentences, there is an equivalent sentence construction using "unless" instead of "if".

Conditional sentence type Usage If clause verb tense Main clause verb tense
Zero General truths Simple present Simple present
Type 1 A possible condition and its probable result Simple present Simple future
Type 2 A hypothetical condition and its probable result Simple past Present conditional or Present continuous conditional
Type 3 An unreal past condition and its probable result in the past Past perfect Perfect conditional

The zero conditional

The zero conditional is used for when the time being referred to is now or always and the situation is real and possible. The zero conditional is often used to refer to general truths. The tense in both parts of the sentence is the simple present. In zero conditional sentences, the word "if" can usually be replaced by the word "when" without changing the meaning.

If clause Main clause
If + simple present simple present
If this thing happens that thing happens.
If you freeze water it turns to ice.
If it rains the grass gets wet.

Type 1 conditional

The type 1 conditional is used to refer to the present or future where the situation is real. The type 1 conditional refers to a possible condition and its probable result. In these sentences the if clause is in the simple present, and the main clause is in the simple future.

If clause Main clause
If + simple present simple future
If this thing happens that thing will happen.
If you don't hurry you will miss the train.
If you break the law you will go to jail.

Type 2 conditional

The type 2 conditional is used to refer to a time that is now or any time, and a situation that is unreal. These sentences are not based on fact. The type 2 conditional is used to refer to a hypothetical condition and its probable result. In type 2 conditional sentences, the if clause uses the simple past, and the main clause uses the present conditional.

If clause Main clause
If + simple past present conditional or present continuous conditional
If this thing happened that thing would happen. (but I'm not sure this thing will happen) OR
  that thing would be happening.
If you went to bed earlier you would not be so tired.
If it rained you would get wet.

Type 3 conditional

The type 3 conditional is used to refer to a time that is in the past, and a situation that is contrary to reality. The facts they are based on are the opposite of what is expressed. The type 3 conditional is used to refer to an unreal past condition and its probable past result. In type 3 conditional sentences, the if clause uses the past perfect, and the main clause uses the perfect conditional.

If clause Main clause
If + past perfect perfect conditional or perfect continuous conditional
If this thing had happened that thing would have happened. (but neither of those things really happened) OR
  that thing would have been happening.
If you had studied harder you would have passed the exam.
If it had rained you would have gotten wet.
If I had accepted that promotion I would have been working in Milan.
 
   
   
   

Mixed type conditional

The mixed type conditional is used to refer to a time that is in the past, and a situation that is ongoing into the present. The facts they are based on are the opposite of what is expressed. The mixed type conditional is used to refer to an unreal past condition and its probable result in the present. In mixed type conditional sentences, the if clause uses the past perfect, and the main clause uses the present conditional.

If clause Main clause
If + past perfect or simple past present conditional or perfect conditional
If this thing had happened that thing would happen. (but this thing didn't happen so that thing isn't happening)
If I had worked harder at school I would have a better job now.
If we had looked at the map we wouldn't be lost.
If you weren't afraid of spiders you would have picked it up and put it outside.

Answer key

Verbs, moods and tenses- exercises

Transitive/Intransitive

Stative /Action verbs

Stative /Action verbs. Right or wrong?

Are they having a good time. c                                                          The food tastes good. c

They are looking at the photo album. x                                           He's been working since this morning.c

They are designing a robot. c                                                            The water is tasting good in this heat.x

She is liking him more with each passing day x                            I am thinking about buying a car. c

You are looking great. x                                                                      I am thinking that scotch is  great x

He's having a huge horse.c                                                                                She’s having a bad day c

Is the bold verb an auxiliary or a full verb?

I am hungry. full verb

They will help you. auxiliary verb

We do not know his address. auxiliary verb

My friend Amy does a lot of sports. full verb

How much is it? full verb

I am reading an interesting book at the moment. auxiliary verb

Will you be there? auxiliary verb

She has never been to London. auxiliary verb

Does he speak English? auxiliary verb

They have a cat and a dog. full verb

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