Grammar - Conventions of Standard English - Verbs
She licks her ice-cream from the bottom up.

Grammar - Conventions of Standard English - Verbs

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A verb is an action word. It can tell us what action has occurred (in the past), what action is occurring (in the present) and what action will occur (in the future).

Examples of past action words include: jumped, cried, and ate. Examples of present action words include: jumping, crying, and eating. Examples of actions to take place in the future include: will jump, will cry, and will eat.

1.
Find the verb in the sentence and whether it is past, present or future.

Thomas Edison tried many different filaments for his incandescent lamp.
tried - future
tried - present
tried - past
incandescent - present
The base verb in this sentence is to 'try'. If the action is in the present, Edison would be 'trying'. If it would happen in the future Edison 'will try'. In this sentence, the action already happened so it is a 'past' action. The past tense of to 'try' is 'tried'.
2.
Find the verb in the sentence and whether it is past, present or future.

Frank skipped school two times last week.
skipped - future
skipped - present
skipped - past
times - present
When adding an 'ed' to a base word, it indicates an action that took place in the past. In this sentence the base verb is to 'skip'. An 'ed' has been added, with an additional 'p', to make the verb 'skipped'. Therefore, we know the action took place in the past.
3.
Find the verb in the sentence and whether it is past, present or future.

By December my parents will have been married for 15 years.
will have been - future
will have been - past
will have been - present
married - past
Whenever the word 'will' appears before a verb it tells you that an event has yet to happen. In other words, it is something that will happen in the future. In this sentence the verb is 'have'. As the word 'will' comes before it we know we are talking about a future event, i.e., will have been married.
4.
Find the verb in the sentence and whether it is past, present or future.

I will say my prayer every night before bedtime.
will - past
will say - past
will say - present
will say - future
When the word 'will' appears before a verb it indicates that an action will take place in the future. In this sentence the base verb is to 'say'. As the word 'will' appears before the verb we know it is telling us about a future event.
5.
Find the verb in the sentence and whether it is past, present or future.

She licks her ice-cream from the bottom up.
licks - present
licks - future
up - present
up - past
Just as when adding an 'ing' to the base verb tells us an action is happening in the present, so too does the adding of an 's' to a verb. In this sentence the base verb is to 'lick'. As an 's' has been added to make it 'licks', we know an action is currently taking place in the present.
6.
Find the verb in the sentence and whether it is past, present or future.

Grandpa went fishing every weekend.
went - present
went - past
fishing - future
fishing - past
The base verb in this sentence is to 'go'. If Grandpa 'goes' then his is acting in the present. If Grandpa 'will go' then he is going to act in the future. In this sentence, Grandpa already 'went' which is the past tense of to 'go'.
7.
Find the verb in the sentence and whether it is past, present or future.

Is she reading that book again?
reading - present
reading - future
Is - future
Is - past
Whenever 'ing' is added to the base verb it indicates that a current or present action is taking place. In this sentence the base verb is to 'read'. An 'ing' has been added to the base verb making it 'reading'. Therefore, we know we are looking at a present action.
8.
Find the verb in the sentence and whether it is past, present or future.

The first runner will set the pace for the entire team.
pace - present
pace - future
will set - present
will set - future
An easy way to remember if something is going to happen in the future is to see if the word 'will' comes before the verb. In this sentence the verb is 'set'. As the word 'will' appears before it we know it is referring to a future action.
9.
Find the verb in the sentence and whether it is past, present or future.

Mrs. Cartwright played the piano for the school’s play.
played - present
played - past
play - present
play - future
The base verb of this sentence is to 'play'. If we were to add an 'ing' to the base word it would indicated a present action. If we put the word 'will' before the base verb, i.e., 'will play', it would indicate a future action. When adding an 'ed' to a base word, it indicates an action that took place in the past. Here we have 'played'. Therefore, we know the action took place in the past.
10.
Find the verb in the sentence and whether it is past, present or future.

My dog is eating my homework under the table.
under - present
eating - past
eating - present
eating - future
Whenever the letters 'ing' appear, it is a clear indication that an action is currently taking place in the present. In this sentence the verb is to 'eat'. We can see that 'ing' was added to the base verb to make it 'eating'. This tells us the dog is eating in the present.
Author:  Christine G. Broome

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