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The Quest for

The Holy Verb


I. Introduction A learner of the English language faces many problems in his attempt to learn how to express himself in British English. One of the biggest problems is that of the English grammar concerning the verbs. How come? Unlike Dutch, it doesnt contain incredibly long lists full of rules and irregularities. Where a learner of the Dutch language could get lost in an endless, grammatical structure, a learner of the English language is in the possibility of discovering a certain logic in it all. Then where lies the problem? Throughout our lives, we are being confronted with the English language constantly, especially with American English. Television, the internet, computer games, etc. We are bathing in English all day long. But what we do forget is that (1) we are often confronted with American English not British English and (2) due to this constant feeding of American English, we become numb for possible mistakes and misuse of the language. Speaking English has become a normality but speaking it in a proper and correct way a curiosity. Why would we bother. Everybody understands us, no? In this syllabus, I will try to give you a concise summary of the English grammar, concerning the verbal forms, in an attempt to offer you some tips and tricks to recognise and use the correct verbal forms in English. Good luck on your quest!

Mr. Spruyt

II. How to recognise different types of verbs from far, far away? PRESENT Simple Continuous He works He is working PRESENT PERFECT He has worked He has been working PAST He worked He was working PAST PERFECT He had worked He had been working FUTURE He will work He will be working

The list in full, ladies and gentlemen! By studying this list, you will be able to recognise any verb immediately. Studying? By heart? Sounds like bad news to me! The good news is this: I will give you some clues on how to detect the different forms more easily. III. Some clues for your quest The simple tenses arent really that hard. Especially the present simple, the past simple and the future simple are quite easy. The perfect simple tenses need a closer look. a) The perfect simple tenses Keyword to the perfect tenses is the verb to have. Whenever you have to analyse a verbal form and you come across a form of to have as an auxiliary verb, you can be pretty sure that youre dealing with a perfect form. Have a look:
De basis van een perfect tense is het werkwoord to have. Wanneer je een werkwoordsvorm moet analyseren en je komt een vorm van to have tegen als hulpwerkwoord, kan je er bijna zeker van zijn dat het om een perfect-vorm gaat. Kijk hier eens naar:

He has worked = present perfect (simple) Simple present of to have + Past participle (pa.pa.)
The pa.pa. is the ed form of a regular verb or the past form of the irregular verb.

He had worked = past perfect (simple) Simple past of to have + pa.pa.

b) The continuous tenses Continuous might ring a bell to Dutch-speaking people. It sounds like the word Continue or Continuteit. In fact the continuous tense most of the time denotes a longer action and wants to stress the duration of it.
Continuous zou wel eens een belletje kunnen laten rinkelen. Het word klinkt zoals het Nederlandse woord continu of continuteit. Feitelijk wijst de continuous in het Engels vaak op een langere actie en wil ze de duur of lengte van die actie benadrukken.

If you want to recognise a continuous tense on the spot, look for the ing form! Maybe you can remember it like this:

- ing = cont !
What you need to know for the rest is that the continuous tense needs some kind of auxiliary verb namely to be
Wat je nog moet weten over de continous is dat ze een soort van hulpwerkwoord nodig heeft.

He is working late = Present continous Present form of to be + -ing form He has been working late = present perfect continuous Present perfect form of to be + -ing form He was working late = Past continous Past form of to be + -ing form He had been working late = Past perfect continuous Past perfect form of to be + -ing form He will be working late = Future continuous Future form of to be + -ing form You must have noticed I put some things in bold-type, yes? Not only will you be able to recognise a continuous tense right away, you will also be able to tell whether its present, past or future. You do this by looking at the auxiliary verb.
Je hebt waarschijnlijk opgemerkt dat ik enkele items in het vet heb gezet? Je zal niet alleen in staat zijn om onmiddellijk een continuous tense te herkennen, je zal ook kunnen vertellen of het gaat om een tegenwoordige, een verleden of een toekomende continuous gaat. Je doet dat door naar het hulpwerkwoord te kijken.

Action plan for the continous: 1. Can I find an ing-form?

No Yes

No continuous then! This is a continous! Proceed to 2.

2. Wich tense is the auxiliary verb? Present Present perfect Past Past perfect Future

Present continuous Present perfect continuous Past continuous Past perfect continuous Future continuous

c) Overview Beginning to lose grip already? Dont worry, have a look at the next page. The scheme should help you in your quest for the correct verbal form.

d) How to form and when to use Present simple

Form Study the grid below. As you will see, the infinitive is used to form the present simple. Interrogative I Do I stop ? You you We we They they He stops does not stop Does he stop ? She doesnt she It it Mind you that for some verbs, just adding s in the 3rd person singular is not enough. Compare : I stop He stops I do He does I watch He watches I fly He flies Verbs ending in o : inf. +e +s Verbs ending in a hissing sound : inf. + e + s Verbs ending in a consonant + y : y changes in I +e +s Use We use the present simple 1. To express a habit I often go to school by bus. 2. To express a general truth Water boils at 100 C. 3. With verbs of feeling and thinking.
to like, to love, to hate, to want, to know, to hope, to forget, to enjoy, to see

Affirmative stop

Negative do not stop dont

I know the result of the match. Present Continuous Form The simple present of to be + the ing form (= inf. without to + ing) Mind you!
Gloss : Vowel = klinker Consonant = medeklinker

-ing =

1. Verbs ending in e : e is dropped: I am coming home (inf. = to come) 2. Verbs ending in a short vowel + consonant : double the consonant! I am travelling (inf. = to travel)

Use We use the present continuous 1. for actions going on at the time of speaking I am reading this sentence (now). 2. for definite arrangement in the (near) future Im leaving tomorrow. (Ive already bought the ticket.) Past Simple Form 5

Study the grid below. As you will see, the infinitive is used to form the past simple. You have seen that before? Of course you have! The simple present is also formed with the infinitive. Affirmative Negative Interrogative I worked did not work Did I work You didnt you We we They they He Did he She she It it The example to work was used here. However, we have to make a distinction (=onderscheid) between regular verbs and irregular verbs. The good news is that forming the regular verbs is not difficult at all, the bad news is that you have to study the irregular ones by heart (=uit het hoofd). For the regular verbs General rule : Affirmative : inf. without to + ed Negative : simple past of to do + inf. without to.
Go back to the grid with the present simple forms. There you will see that to do is also used but in the present form. Get the link?

Interrogative : simple past of to do + inf. without to. Exceptions! 1. Verbs ending in e : e is dropped : I liked her very much (to like) 2. Verbs ending in a short vowel + consonant : consonant is doubled : I stopped the car. I travelled around the world in 80 days. 3. Verbs ending in consonant + y : y changes in I : I studied hard yesterday. (to study) For the irregular verbs Affirmative : see list with irregular verbs the teacher gave you. Negative and Interrogative : simple past of to do + inf. without to. Use We use the past simple 1. for a definite past time (with yesterday, last.., etc.) He drove to London yesterday. 2. for a succession (= opeenvolging) of actions in the past. I got up, shaved and drove to work.

Past Continuous Form

-ing =
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The simple past of to be + the ing form Affirmative : I was studying Negative : We werent playing Interrogative : Were they listening? Use Have a look back at the present continuous. There you could read for actions going on at the time of speaking. Logically, there will be no difference with the past continuous, only that its not a present tense but a past tense! So we use the past continuous: For actions going on at a given time in the past At nine oclock in the morning the pupils were waiting for their teacher.

Use of the Simple Past tense and the Past Continuous Tense together
Tricky? No! Keep this in mind: Longer action / background action Past Continuous Shorter action / foreground action Simple Past For example, this is what Alans diary says for yesterday: 2 p.m. 3 p.m. : Playing tennis with Macy. This is what happened: While I was playing tennis with Macy, Tom came by.
Terwijl/toen ik met Macy aan het tennissen was, kwam Tom voorbij.

Lets see where you are now. What have you dealt with so far? PRESENT Simple Continuous He works He is working PRESENT PERFECT He has worked He has been working PAST He worked He was working PAST PERFECT He had worked He had been working FUTURE He will work He will be working

The darker items have been done. Have been done, which tense might that be? Continue your quest! The Present Perfect (Simple) Form 7

to have =

On page 2, you could read the following: Keyword to the perfect tenses is the verb to have. This is indeed so! The Simple Present of to have + the Past Participle (pa.pa.) voltooid deelwoord Affirmative : I have lived here for two years and I still do. Negative : She hasnt studied today. Interrogative : Have they just arrived?

PaPa!
Pa.pa.? What the hell is that? Quite simple; its what you might call in Dutch voltooid deelwoord. The formation is no problem at all either. Regular verbs : inf. without to + ed see formation of the regular verbs in the Simple Past tense. Irregular verbs : see the list the teacher gave you.

Use We use the Present Perfect (simple) for actions in the past that have a connection with the present. Have a look at the following sentences. I have just seen her. Has he answered yet? They have been busy this week/this month/! Have you ever/already/often been to London?
This is a so-called indefinite past, we dont know when it actually happened

Julian has been here for two hours/since 8 a.m.


(so hes still with us now)

The Present Perfect Continuous Form For the formation of the Present Continuous, you could read the following: The simple present of to be + the ing form (= inf. without to + ing). For the Present Perfect Continuous, we wont be needing the simple present of to be. Does the following sound logic to you?

to have =

The Present Perfect Continuous is formed with the Present Perfect of to be + the ing form. Affirmative : I have been living here for three years and I still do. Negative : He hasnt been reading long. Interrogative : Have they been walking? Use We use the Present Perfect Continuous for actions that began in the past and are still going on at the moment of speaking or have only just finished. We want to stress duration. The Past Perfect (Simple) Form For the formation of the Present Perfect (Simple) you could read the following: 8

to have =

The Simple Present of to have + the Past Participle (pa.pa.) For the Past Perfect (Simple) we wont be needing the simple present of to be. That would be illogic, dont you think? The Past Perfect (Simple) is formed with the Past Perfect of to be + the ing form. Affirmative : I had cleaned up all the mess. Negative : I hadnt met him before. Interrogative : Had she walked? Use We use the Past Perfect for the actions in the past that happened before another action or a particular moment in the past, a so-called before-past.

Use of the Simple Past tense and the Past Perfect Simple tense together
Before-past? Tricky? No! Keep this in mind: Action/particular moment in the past Past Simple Action before that action/particular moment in the past Past Perfect Simple For example, this is what Alans diary says for yesterday: 10 p.m. : Party at Macys house (party starts at 9!) This is what happened: When I arrived at Macys house, the party had already begun.
Toen ik aankwam bij Macy, was de fuif al begonnen.

The Past Perfect Continuous Form The Past Perfect of to be + the ing form Affirmative : I had been walking all day. Negative : I hadnt been sleeping. Interrogative : Had you been writing letters? Use You use the Past Perfect Continuous to express the duration of an action up to a certain time in the past. When you called I had been reading for hours.
Toen je belde zat ik al uren te lezen.

Can you find similarities with the use of the Past Simple and the Past Continuous (background and foreground action)? Have a look at the square on page 7. Lets see where you are now. What have you dealt with so far?

PRESENT Simple Continuous He works He is working

PRESENT PERFECT He has worked He has been working

PAST He worked He was working

PAST PERFECT He had worked He had been working

FUTURE He will work He will be working

The darker items have been done! Good work. Now we will deal with the future tenses! Will deal, which tense might that be? Continue your quest!

And now for something completely different : The Future Tenses


The future tenses are in no way similar the other tenses. Not only do they express a totally different dimension of time (the future), theyre also formed in a different way. In this last part of The Quest for the Holy Verb, you will also see that tenses other than the Future tenses can be used to talk about things concerning the future. The Future Simple Form Basically, a form of will (sometimes shall) is used to form the Future Simple. 1 2nd 3rd 1st 2nd 3rd
st

Will =

I You He/she/it We You They

Affirmative will stop will stop will stop will will will stop stop stop

Negative will not/wont stop will not/wont stop will not/wont stop will not/wont will not/wont will not/wont stop stop stop

Interrogative Shall I stop ? Will You stop ? Will He/she/it stop ? Shall Will Will We You They stop ? stop ? stop ?

Use We use the Simple Future Tense (for a lot of things, really): 1. to talk about something in the future that will certainly happen (but has nothing to do with someones intention or decision, see page ) Tomorrow will be Sunday. 2. to express an opinion in the future. I dont think Alan will come to the party next week. 3. for invitations Will you dance with me? 4. for requests Will you open the door, please? 5. for offers 10

singula plural

Shall I open the window? 6. for suggestions Shall we go to the cinema? 7. after to hope, to expect, to be afraid, ... I hope Alan will come tonight. 8. In a main clause (= hoofdzin) a. before or after a time-clause in the present Will you give me a ring as soon as you get my letter? b. before or after a conditional clause in the present If the sun shines, we will go to the park. The Future Continuous Form The simple future of to be + the ing form Affirmative : You will be leading another life. Negative : He wont be telling the truth! Interrogatvie : Will he be laying the table? Use Quite simple, actually. Have a look. 1. to express an action that will be going on at certain time in the future (We stress duration, as always when using a Continuous tense) We will be learning English at the same time next week. 2. when asking about their future actions Will you be using the car tomorrow?

Theres more to the future than this


There are some other tenses or structures you use in particular situations when talking about the future. Have a look. The GOING TO-Future or Intentional future Unsure (I think) Im going to take a lot of pictures. Form : Simple present of to be + going to + infinitive without to Use : Intentions , predictions The Present Continuous or Arranged future Im seeing my doctor tomorrow. Form : Present Continuous Use : Fixed arrangements Sure

III. The passive voice a. What does it look like? So far, you have dealt with all active tenses. But as in any other language,

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passive tenses are also used. They have the same grammatical structures (e.g. the verbal forms youve studied so far are also used in passive structures) but the order of object and subject gets mixed up. Lets have a look. Active Passive Sir Gallahad killed the dragon. The dragon was killed (by Sir Gallahad).

Lets take a closer look at the first sentence. Sir Gallahad


Subject (onderwerp)

killed
Main verb Simple past of to kill

the dragon
Object (lijdend voorwerp)

This is the active sentence, right? Lets have a look at the passive sentence. The dragon
Subject (onderwerp)

was killed
Main verb Simple past of to kill

(by Sir Gallahad)


Object (handelend voorwerp)

Did you see what happened? Sir Gallahad killed the dragon .

The dragon

was killed

(by Sir Gallahad)

Right! The subject and object of the active sentence change places when put into the passive. And most of the time, the object of the passive sentence is omitted (=wordt weggelaten). Why? - Because its unimportant (onbelangrijk) e.g. The thieves were caught. - Its unknown (onbekend) e.g. The painter was killed. - Its obvious (logisch) e.g. The photo was taken. - The action is more important than the actor
e.g. The candle was lit.

b. How do I form a passive sentence? In order to learn how to form a passive, we start from an active sentence. Here it is: King Arthur has defeated the Black Knight !

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Subject (onderwerp)

Main verb

Object (lijdend voorwerp)

STEP 1 : Whats the tense of the main verb? In this case, its the present perfect simple of to defeat.
If youre not sure, check your quest on page 4!

STEP 2 : Which person is the main verb in? In this case, its the 3rd person singular.
I have, you have, he/she/it has!

STEP 3 : Take to be and put in the the person of the main verb. In this case, that would be the present perfect simple of to be, 3rd person singular! (he) has been STEP 4 : Add the past participle of the main verb. In this case, the main verb is to defeat. This is a regular verb, so the pa.pa. is defeated.
But thats already there? Of course, the present perfect uses the pa.pa. also.

RESULT :

has been defeated

Now, all there is left for you to do is to cross the subject and object of your active sentence and add the correct verbal form. King Arthur has defeated the Black Knight .

The Black Knight

has been defeated

(by King Arthur)

Formation of the verb in a passive sentence


to be in the same tense as the main verb in your active sentence + pa.pa. of the main verb

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