Word Usage: GED Test Prep
On the GED Language Arts, Writing Exam, questions about usage will cover topics such as subject-verb agreement, correct verb tense and conjugation, and proper pronoun use. This article will review these grammar rules and more so that you will be prepared for the exam.
Usage refers to the rules that govern the form of the words we use and how we string those words together in sentences. Correct grammar and usage are essential for clear and effective communication. In this section, you will review the following areas of basic grammar and usage:
- Verb conjugation and usage
- Consistent verb tense
- Subject-verb agreement
- Gerunds and infinitives
- Pronoun cases
- Pronoun agreement
- Comparative and superlative adjectives and adverbs
- Prepositional idioms
Verbs are the "heart" of a sentence. They express the action or state of being of the subject, telling us what the subject is doing, thinking, or feeling.
- She yelled out the window. (action)
- I am happy to be here. (state of being)
- We feel very lucky to be alive. (state of being)
- I should ask Winston what he thinks. (action)
Verbs have five basic forms:
- Infinitive: the base form of the verb plus the word to.
- Present tense: the verb form that expresses what is happening now.
- Present participle: the verb form that describes what is happening now. It ends in -ing and is accompanied by a helping verb such as is.
- Past tense: the verb form that expresses what happened in the past.
- Past participle: the verb form that describes an action that happened in the past and is used with a helping verb, such as has, have, or had.
to go to be to dream to admire
To indicate tenses of regular verbs (when the action of the verb did occur, is occurring, or will occur), we use the base form of the verb and add the appropriate tense endings.
I am sorry you are not coming with us.
Jessica does yoga every morning.
The present tense of regular verbs is formed as follows:
Jessica is doing a difficult yoga pose.
The leaves are falling from the trees.
Note: Words that end in -ing don't always function as verbs. Sometimes they act as nouns and are called gerunds. They can also function as adjectives (called participial phrases).
Present participle (verb): He is loading the boxes into the car.
Gerund (noun): This parking area is for loading only.
Participial phrase (adjective): The loading dock is littered with paper.
(You will learn more about gerunds later in this section.)
It snowed yesterday in the mountains.
I felt better after I stretched and did some deep breathing.
It has not snowed all winter.
I have waited as long as I can.
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