English Grammar Part 7: Verbs Present and Future Tenses

Level: Basic
Time taken to Complete: 200 minutes

Activity:

English is a complicated language. It’s rather annoyingly difficult in many respects, and somewhat simplified in others. Many people have difficulty with English spelling. The grammar has its ups and downs, but here is some help. This series is for those who would like to brush up on or learn about grammar and grammar terminology.

One of the more extensive part of English grammar is that of verbs. This might have to do with the fact that every sentence needs a predicate (even if it’s not actually spoken). But one of the issues is that there are many things that make the sentences complicated. English is lucky to be fairly simple verbally, but it still has it’s set backs.

There are several things which affect the Verb. There is tense, number, and person. Although the latter two are hard to tell for regular verbs, with irregular ones like to be, one can see how it can be affected. Since English doesn’t have a rich morphology (the words don’t change as often as others), most of the time, tense markers are actually seperate words. But we also have aspect, which is another issue.

The first tense we are going to discuss is present. The issue though is we have three different aspects to the present tense, though one is debatable. The first is the simple present tense. The irony of the simple present tense is we rarely use it to mean the present tense. The only real chance is when we are in the third person singular form, there we get an -s ending on the verb. If we take a common verb with their respective pronouns (it for he/she/it) like walk we would conjugate it as follows:

Singular Plural
1st Person I walk We walk
2nd You walk You walk
3rd it walks they walk

Second aspect of the verb is Progressive.

Singular Plural
1st Person I am walking we are walking
2nd Person you are walking you are walking
3rd Person it is walking they are walking

As we can see the progressive is formed by adding the verb to be and the ending -ing to verb. This shows things that are happening in the moment.
The last form is sometimes called the emphatic. The emphatic is formed by adding the verb to do in before the main verb. This is used in questions, “do you walk here every day?”, to show emphesis, “I do walk here.” and in negative statements and commands, “I don’t walk every day.” “Don’t walk that way.”

Then we have the future tense, which is formed by adding the words will or shall in the beginning. The future tense shows things that might happen in the future. The future can also be formed by using the present tense and using a time word such as tomorrow or later. Although there was once a seperate meaning for the two words, now shall is used primarily with the first person. To conjugate to walk in the future tense it would look like the following.

Singular Plural
1st I will walk We will walk
2nd You will walk You will wak
3rd It will walk They will walk