- 1 What is the base form of a verb? (with examples)
- 2 Examples of basic forms of verbs
- 3 The base form appears in the present tense
- 4 The base form appears in the infinitive form
- 5 The Base Form Appears in Imperative Mood (i.e. Commands)
- 6 The Base Form Appears in the Subjunctive Mood
- 7 The five verb forms
- 8 Why should I care about the base form?
What is the base form of a verb? (with examples)
The base (or root) form of a verb is the form that appears in the dictionary.
It is the version of the verb without endings (endings like -s, -ing and ed). The base form is the same as the infinitive (eg walk, paint, think) but without the to.
Let’s see the five forms of the verb“to take“:
|2||The -S Form
(also called Third Person Singular Present Tense Form)
|4||The -ING form
(also called present participle form)
|5||The past participle form||taken|
Examples of basic forms of verbs
These are some examples of the basic forms of verbs:
(These are not the base form: see, seen, seeing).
(These are not the base form: sing, singing.)
(These are not the base form: games, played, playing.)
(These are not the base form: concurs, concurred, concurring.)
The base form appears in the present tense
The base form of a verb appears in all versions of the present tense except the third person singular. For example:
|Conjugation||Example 1||Example 2|
|1st person singular||I play||I agree|
|2nd person singular||you play||you agree|
|3rd person singular||He plays
She agrees td>
|first person plural||we play _||we agree|
|2nd person plural||you play||you agree|
|third person plural||they play||they match|
The base form appears in the infinitive form
The base form of a verb appears in the infinitive (including the zero infinitive form, ie without the word to). For example:
- It is easier to fight for one’s own principles than to live according to them. (Alfred Adler, 1870-1937)
- A musicologist is a man who can read music but cannot hear it. (Thomas Beecham, 1879-1961)
The Base Form Appears in Imperative Mood (i.e. Commands)
The base form is used for commands (that is, the imperative mood. For example:
- Eat a live toad first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you for the rest of the day.
- Create a definite plan to carry out your desire and start right away, whether you’re ready or not. (Napoleon Hill)
The Base Form Appears in the Subjunctive Mood
The base form of a verb appears in the subjunctive mood. For example:
- He demands that you keep quiet .
- I propose that you stay with us.
The five verb forms
The following table shows the five verb forms in English.
|Type of verb||1
The Base Form
(also known as“Forma Simple“ o “Form Without Flexions“)
The -S form
(also known as“Third person singular present tense form“)
(also known as“The shape of the past tense“)
The -ING form
(also known as present participle form)
The Past Participle Form
|Regular||marry||gets married||married||get married||married|
Why should I care about the base form?
Understanding the forms of verbs (including the base form) is useful when learning English because it allows teachers and students to talk about the components that make up the different tenses.
For example, with some verbs, the base form, the past form, and the past participle form are the same (eg, let, I let, I had let). However, with others, everyone is different (for example, I took, I took, I took).
Knowing the various verb forms is a great starting point for learning these complex rules and exceptions.