In Tense Verbs Are Intense

tense-llamaVerb tense can be a tricky, even seasoned writers can sometimes make mistakes with verb tense. A verb tense refers to a modification of a verb in order to make it clear where in time it happens, or happened (see what I do there? Crap! I mean “did.”)

Verb tense falls into three main categories: present or base form, past tense,future. Some examples:

  • Present: I ask
  • Past: I asked
  • Future: I will ask

Something to keep in mind is the participle, a modification of a verb that can be either used for past and present tense actions or as an adjective:

  • Past Participle: add “ed” or “d
  • Present Participle: add “ing”

There are also more complex verb tenses, often relying on set up words like has, am, and will in conjunction with modifications to the verb. These fall under Progressives, signifying an ongoing action, Perfects, which mean completed actions, and Perfect Progressives, which are somewhere in the middle:

  • Present Progressive: I am asking
  • Past Progressive: I was asking
  • Future Progressive: I will be asking
  • Present Perfect: I have asked
  • Past Perfect: I had asked
  • Future Perfect: I will have asked
  • Present Perfect Progressive: I have been asking
  • Past Perfect Progressive:I had been asking
  • Future Perfect Progressive: I will have been asking

You may notice that, in this case, “ask” is modified in only a few ways into its participles: “ask” “asked” and “asking” (when writing 3rd Person Verbs, you will use “asks” instead of “ask”). Most verbs use this system of modification; however, there are many irregular verbs that can be tricky. There are too many to list them all, but here are some examples with Base Form⇒ Past Tense ⇒ Past Participle:

  • arise⇒ arose⇒ arisen
  • be⇒ was/were⇒ been
  • become⇒ became⇒ become
  • break⇒ broke⇒ broken
  • choose ⇒ chose ⇒ chosen
  • cost⇒ cost⇒ cost
  • do⇒ did⇒ done
  • draw⇒ drew⇒ drawn
  • drink⇒ drank⇒ drunk
  • eat⇒ ate⇒ eaten
  • Fall ⇒ fell ⇒ fallen
  • fly⇒ flew⇒ flown
  • Get ⇒ got⇒ gotten/got
  • grow⇒ grew ⇒ grown
  • hide⇒ hid ⇒ hidden
  • hit⇒ hit⇒ hit
  • know⇒ knew ⇒ knowngosling
  • lay⇒ laid ⇒ laid
  • Lie ⇒ lay ⇒ lain
  • make⇒ made⇒ made
  • pay⇒ paid ⇒ paid
  • put⇒ put ⇒ put
  • read⇒ read ⇒ read
  • ride⇒ rode ⇒ ridden
  • say⇒ said⇒ said
  • see⇒ saw⇒ seen
  • shake⇒ shook⇒ shaken
  • take⇒ took⇒ taken
  • wear⇒ wore⇒ worn
  • Write ⇒ wrote ⇒ written

It is important to keep all verb tense in order in order for sentences to make sense:

  • I went to the bank, then I am going to eat. ⇐ WRONG, mixed tense
  • I am going to the bank, then I am going to eat. ⇐ RIGHT
  • I went to the bank, then I ate. ⇐ RIGHT
  • I went to the bank, now I am going to eat. ⇐ RIGHT, “now” sets up tense change

Hopefully, you can make your verbs the correct tense without getting too tense.



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