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Six Major Tenses of Verbs

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Now you’re ready to conjugate to skip in the six tenses of verbs.

To conjugate a verb, you must include all tenses: present, past, future, present perfect, past perfect, and future perfect. You must account for all persons: first, second, and third. And you must indicate number: singular or plural. Back in Miss Hamrick’s class, she made us take out a piece of notebook paper and write down the chart:

Verb: ________ Tense: ________  
Person Singular Plural
First Person I [verb] We [verb]
Second Person You [verb] You [verb]
Third Person He-she-it [verb] They [verb]

 

Then we had to fill in each tense, meaning that we had to copy the blooming chart six times, a real chore with notebook paper and no copy-and-paste technology. Then we’d insert the assigned verb and conjugate to our little hearts’ content.

Naturally, with regular verbs, conjugation was a piece of cake. All we had to do was add an ‑s, ‑ies, or ‑es for the third-person singular; add ‑ed for all past tenses, singular and plural; and put will down for all the future tenses (although Miss Hamrick insisted on shall for first-person future tenses). Then we had to be sure we could conjugate have, because we needed it for the perfect tenses, where we’d just add the ‑ed verb. Again, those were the regular verbs.

So let’s take a regular verb (one that forms its past tense and past participle the same way, usually by adding ‑ed) and fill in the six charts. Let’s use the intransitive regular verb skip.

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Previous: Conditional Structures of Verbs Next: Conjugating Regular Verbs

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