Published on 21 Jun 2012 | over 4 years ago

Basic English Grammar lesson -- Verbs and Tenses -- Speak fluent English.

What are verbs?

The verb is king in English. The shortest sentence contains a verb. You can make a one-word sentence with a verb, for example: "Stop!" You cannot make a one-word sentence with any other type of word.

Verbs are sometimes described as "action words". This is partly true. Many verbs give the idea of action, of "doing" something. For example, words like run, fight, do and work all convey action.

But some verbs do not give the idea of action; they give the idea of existence, of state, of "being". For example, verbs like be, exist, seem and belong all convey state.

What is a Tense?

Tense is a method that we use in English to refer to time - past, present and future. Many languages use tenses to talk about time. Other languages have no tenses, but of course they can still talk about time, using different methods.

So, we talk about time in English with tenses. But, and this is a very big but:
• we can also talk about time without using tenses (for example, going to is a special construction to talk about the future, it is not a tense)
• one tense does not always talk about one time (see Tense & Time for more about this)

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