Appendix:English verbs

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Conjugation of regular verbs in English[edit]

type of verb inflection special example
regular verb which is not covered by the following criteria none listen
regular verb ending with silent e if a vowel follows the -e- is omitted love
regular verb ending with -y without vowel before the y becomes -ie- if consonant follows cry
regular verb ending with single vowel followed by a single consonant consonant is doubled if vowel follows travel
regular verb ending with sibilant without silent e if another sibilant follows an -e- is inserted catch

Example: to walk

  • Infinitive: to walk
  • Present:
Singular
First person: I walk
Second person: you walk (archaic thou walkest or thou walkst)
Third person: he/she/it/one walks (archaic walketh)
Plural
First person: we walk
Second person: you walk
Third person: they walk
  • Present participle: walking (colloquial form walkin' or walkin)
  • Simple past: walked (all persons and both numbers) (archaic or poetic walk'd)
  • Future:
Singular
First person: I will walk, I shall walk (emphatic)
Second person: you will walk, you shall walk (emphatic)
Third person: he/she/it/one will walk, he/she/it/one shall walk (emphatic)
Plural
First person: we will walk, we shall walk (emphatic)
Second person: you will walk, you shall walk (emphatic)
Third person: they will walk, they shall walk (emphatic)

Note: The first person forms using "shall" and "should" at one time were considered the ordinary forms, and the first person forms using "will" and "would" were considered emphatic, but this distinction is dying out and the "will", "would" forms are now more common.

  • Conditional:
Singular
First person: I would walk, I should walk (emphatic)
Second person: you would walk, you should walk (emphatic)
Third person: he/she/it/one would walk, he/she/it/one should walk (emphatic)
Plural
First person: we would walk, we should walk (emphatic)
Second person: you would walk, you should walk (emphatic)
Third person: they would walk, they should walk (emphatic)
  • Past participle: walked (all persons and both numbers)
  • Present subjunctive: walk (especially in US English), should walk (especially in British English)
  • Imperfective subjunctive: walked
  • Present perfect:
Singular
First person I have walked
Second person you have walked
Third person he/she/it/one has walked
Plural
First person we have walked
Second person you have walked
Third person they have walked
  • Past perfect: had walked (all persons and both numbers)
  • Future perfect:
Singular
First person: I will have walked, I shall have walked (emphatic)
Second person: you will have walked, you shall have walked (emphatic)
Third person: he/she/it/one will have walked, he/she/it/one shall have walked (emphatic)
Plural
First person: we will have walked, we shall have walked (emphatic)
Second person: you will have walked, you shall have walked (emphatic)
Third person: they will have walked, they shall have walked (emphatic)
  • Conditional perfect: would have walked, should have walked (all persons and both numbers)
Singular
First person: I would have walked, I should have walked (emphatic)
Second person: you would have walked, you should have walked (emphatic)
Third person: he/she/it/one would have walked, he/she/it/one should have walked (emphatic)
Plural
First person: we would have walked, we should have walked (emphatic)
Second person: you would have walked, you should have walked (emphatic)
Third person: they would have walked, they should have walked (emphatic)
  • Imperative:
First-person plural: let's walk
Second-person: walk
Other: let + noun or pronoun + walk

Tense and aspect[edit]

Perfect tenses[edit]

English forms the perfect tenses with a verb phrase made up of the auxiliary verb have plus the past participle of the main verb (e.g., love).

Verb Present perfect Past perfect Future perfect
love has/have loved had loved will/shall have loved
go has/have gone had gone will/shall have gone

In addition to the regular perfect tenses, English can create other variations with various other auxiliary verbs. The verb phrase in the main clause of the first example could be called a conditional perfect tense:

  • "He would have ridden his bicycle if it had not rained."
  • "She was about to have gone home." (Or "She was going to have gone home.")
  • "They had been going for a swim every Thursday."

Irregular verbs[edit]

For irregular verbs, see Appendix:English irregular verbs

Auxiliaries and modal verbs[edit]

Wikipedia has an article on:

Wikipedia

Wikipedia has an article on:

Wikipedia

The auxiliary verb have turns the following verb into a past participle and indicates the perfect aspect.

I have walked a lot today.

The auxiliary verb be turns the following verb into a present participle and indicates the continuous aspect

I am walking right now

Modal verbs (such as can, must, would, etc.) occur only once per verb in most varieties of English. Each has a different meaning and they go before have and be, in that order.

He must have been [past participle] walking [present participle] for ages.