Spelling Regular Verbs Study Guide
This lesson will explain the various verb tenses and show you how to conjugate verbs properly.
VERBS ARE EXTREMELY important in the English language. Defined as the part of speech that expresses existence, action, or occurrence, verbs allow us to communicate clearly about the past, the present, and the future. If our language didn't have verbs, we wouldn't be able to say where we have been, what we are doing, what we are thinking, or where we will be going. We could point to objects and say their names, but we wouldn't be able to express any action.
The rules for conjugating verbs can be confusing. Most of the confusion, however, surrounds what we call irregular verbs, which are covered in Lesson 10. For regular verbs, the rules are more straightforward. Once you begin to understand the various tenses and forms, you will see some spelling patterns emerge that will reduce your confusion.
Every verb in the English language has three basic tenses that help us to understand when something is going to happen or has happened: in the present, the past, or the future. The tenses can be subdivided into three categories: simple, progressive, and perfect. The following chart gives an example of the categories and tenses of the verb to hike.
We'll work through each of the tenses to describe how verbs are conjugated.
The simple category is comprised of the present tense, the past tense, and the future tense.
The present tense indicates present action (action that is happening now) or action that happens on a regular basis.
I walk four miles three times a week.
This tense is fairly easy. The basic form of a verb is known as the infinitive form. To bathe and to imagine are two examples of the infinitive form. The present-tense form is the infinitive of the verb, minus the word to. So, bathe is the present-tense form of to bathe and imagine is the present-tense form of to imagine.
The past tense indicates action that has already happened (action that occurred in the past).
Henry called when he arrived at Connor's house.
The past tense is formed by taking the infinitive form of the verb, minus the word to, and adding -d or -ed. For example, grill becomes grilled and sway becomes swayed. Some verbs change forms when taking the past tense. Imply, for example, drops the final y and adds -ied to make implied, and for repel the final consonant is doubled before adding -ed to make repelled.
TIP: Here are some tips to keep in mind when adding endings (suffixes) to verbs.
- If an ending begins with a consonant, it can usually be attached to the base word that ends in a consonant or a silent e with no change to the base word or the ending. For example, ail does not change when you add the ending -ment to make ailment.
If a base word ends in a silent e and the ending begins with a vowel, drop the silent e when adding the ending. With the word strive, for example, you would drop the silent e before adding the ending -ing to make striving. When base words end in a consonant plus -y combination, change the -y to an -i when adding endings. The word silly, for instance, would become sillier and silliest. If the base word ends in a vowelplus-y combination, keep the final y. For example, you would keep the final y when adding endings to the word play. In this case play would become playing, played, plays. When a one-syllable base word ends in a consonant-plus-vowelplus- consonant combination, double the final consonant when adding an ending that begins with a vowel. An example of this type of word is span. When adding endings such as -ing or -ed, you would double the final consonant to make spanning and spanned. When a base word of more than one syllable ends in a consonantplus- vowel-plus-consonant combination and the accent is on the final syllable, double the final consonant when adding an ending that begins with a vowel. This tip may sound a little confusing! An example of a multiple-syllable word ending in the consonantplus- vowel-plus-consonant combination is prefer. You would double the final consonant when adding endings to prefer to make preferring and preferred. When a base word ends in any other combination of vowels and consonants, do not double the final consonant when adding an ending. For example, you would not double the final consonant when adding endings to the word ring.
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