- 1 What is verb conjugation? (with examples)
- 2 More about Verb Conjugation
- 3 (1) Verb Conjugation Tells Us Who or What Is Performing the Action.
- 4 (2) Verb Conjugation Tells Us Whether the Action Is Performed by One or More Than One.
- 5 (3) Verb Conjugation Tells Us When the Action Is Happening.
- 6 (4) Verb Conjugation Tells Us Whether the Action Is Ongoing or Completed.
- 7 (5) Verb Conjugation Tells Us Whether the Action Is Done by or to the Subject.
- 8 Verb Conjugation Tells Whether the Action Is a Wish or Hypothetical, a Statement, or an Order.
What is verb conjugation? (with examples)
“verb conjugation“means to change a verb so that it works in your sentence. More specifically, it means changing a verb so your audience knows who is performing the action, when the action is happening, and whether the action is complete or in progress.
Let’s start by doing a verb conjugation with the verb“to paint“. The first thing to say is that“smart“is the base form of the verb“smart“. (The base form is the verb without“to“. It is the version of the verb that you would find in a dictionary.)
Let’s do a conjugation of the verb with“to paint“:
- Jack has painted the fence. ✔️
(In this example, we have added“has“and“-ed“to the base form. That means we have changed, or“conjugated“as grammarians say, the verb“to paint“to fit into our sentence. That is an example of verb conjugation.)
Examinemos“has painted“a little more.
There are many different variations. Let’s add another person:
- Jack and Jill have painted the fence. ✔️
(To make this sentence work, we had to change“has“to“have“so it fits with“Jack and Jill.“The word“have“tells our audience that the action was performed by more than one person.)
Let’s make some more changes:
- Jack and Jill are painting the fence. ✔️
(This time, we have added“are“and“-ing“to the base form.)
Examinemos“they are painting“a little more.
That’s it. We have covered the main idea of verb conjugation. Hopefully, what you say is to get an idea of the kind of information that the verb conjugation conveys. However, as you might have guessed, verb conjugation provides a lot more information than we’ve mentioned so far, and that’s what we’ll cover next.
The remainder of this page will provide an overview and provide links to the various topics related to verb conjugation. (I know it sounds complicated, but persevere. Learn the topics that fit under the“umbrella“of verb conjugation is the key to deciphering a language, any language).
More about Verb Conjugation
Verb conjugation can tell us six things about a verb:
- Who or what is performing the action.
- If the action is performed by one or more than one.
- When the action is happening.
- Whether the action is in progress or completed.
- If the action is performed by or for the subject.
- Whether the action is wishful or hypothetical, a statement or a command.
NB: In other languages, the verb conjugation can also tell us about the gender of the person or thing doing the action. In English, the gender does not affect the verb.
(1) Verb Conjugation Tells Us Who or What Is Performing the Action.
The subject of a verb tells us who or what is doing the action. In these two examples, the subjects are in bold:
- I am painting the fence. ✔️
- You are painting the fence. ✔️
- Jack is painting the fence. ✔️
The subject governs the verb. This means that the verb must change to match the subject.
Each topic fits into one of three categories:
- First Person. This is the person or people speaking (i.e.,“I“or“we“).
- Second Person. This is the person or people being addressed (i.e.,“you“).
- Third Person. This is everybody else. It is the person or people neither speaking nor being addressed (i.e.,“he,““she,““it,““they,“or any noun).
These are called categories of people.
Since a subject can be singular or plural, there are six categories in total. It is the category of the subject that governs the verb. This table shows the six categories and how the verb is conjugated“to be“and the verb“to paint“for each in the present tense.
|Person Category||Pronoun or Noun||“to be“||“to paint“|
|First Person Singular||I||am||paint|
|Second Person Singular||you||are||paint|
|Third Person Singular||he / she / it
(or any other singular noun)
|First Person Plural||we||are||paint|
|Second Person Plural||you||are||paint|
|Third Person Plural||they
(or any other plural noun)
(2) Verb Conjugation Tells Us Whether the Action Is Performed by One or More Than One.
Como acabamos de cubrir, el sujeto de un verbo nos dice si la acción es realizada por una persona o cosa o por más de una. En gramática, esto se llama número. En inglés, hay dos categorías de números: singular y plural.
In the last section, we said that the subject of a verb always fits into one of six categories. There are three categories of persons (first person, second person, and third person) and two categories of numbers, giving us six categories in total (first person singular, second person singular, third person singular, first person plural, second person plural and third person). plural person).
So now we can say that the person and number of a subject determine how a verb is conjugated.
(3) Verb Conjugation Tells Us When the Action Is Happening.
The tense of a verb tells us when the action is happening. An action can be in the past, present or future. As we will see in the next section on aspect, there are four more ways to describe an action. (“In progress“y“filled“are two of those four forms). This means there are 12 beats in total.
Here is the complete list of the 12 tenses in English, showing how the verbs are conjugated“to go“y“to laugh“for each time. (The table includes a link to a lesson for each tense, where there is a detailed explanation, a quiz, and an explanatory video.)
|The 4 Past Tenses||Example 1||Example 2|
|simple past tense||I went||She laughed|
|past progressive tense||I was going||She was laughing|
|past perfect tense||I had gone||She had laughed|
|past perfect progressive tense||I had been going||She had been laughing|
|The 4 Present Tenses||Example 1||Example 2|
|simple present tense||I go||She laugh|
|present progressive tense||I am going||She is laughing|
|present perfect tense||I have gone||She has laughed|
|present perfect progressive tense||I have been going||She has been laughing|
|The 4 Future Tenses||Example 1||Example 2|
|simple future tense||I will go||She will laugh|
|future progressive tense||I will be going||She will be laughing|
|future perfect tense||I will have gone||She will have laughed|
|future perfect progressive tense||I will have been going||She will have been laughing|
(4) Verb Conjugation Tells Us Whether the Action Is Ongoing or Completed.
El aspecto de un verbo nos dice si la acción está en curso o completa. De hecho, hay un poco más en el aspecto que eso. Hay cuatro aspectos:
(also called the indefinite aspect)
|Expresses a fact||
(also called the complete aspect)
|Expresses a completed action||
(also called the continuing aspect)
|Expresses an ongoing action||
|Perfect Progressive Aspect||Expresses the end of an ongoing action||
El aspecto es parte del tiempo. Hay tres tiempos principales: pasado, presente y futuro. Como cada uno tiene los cuatro aspectos que se muestran arriba, hay 12 tiempos en total. Aquí hay enlaces a videos que explican los tres tiempos principales y sus cuatro aspectos:
(5) Verb Conjugation Tells Us Whether the Action Is Done by or to the Subject.
The voice of a verb tells us if the action is performed by or for the subject. There are two possibilities:
|The Active Voice||Shows a verb whose subject performs the action of the verb||
|The Passive Voice||Shows a verb whose subject has the action of the verb done to it||
Verb Conjugation Tells Whether the Action Is a Wish or Hypothetical, a Statement, or an Order.
El modo de un verbo nos dice si la acción es un deseo o hipotético, una afirmación o pregunta, o una orden.
There are three moods in English:
|The Indicative Mood||States a fact or asks a question||
|The Imperative Mood||Expresses an order||
|The Subjunctive Mood||Shows a wish, a suggestion, a demand, or hypothetical situation||