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Video Script

Thank you for joining me for this grammar tutorial. My name is John Erskin and iIn today’s video I will talk about English verb system. By the end of this video, you will be able to identify the types of verbs in English. You will also be able to create the different verb forms and tenses and correctly use auxiliary verbs to create simple sentences. You’ll have a better understanding of regular and irregular verbs and, finally, you will be able to distinguish verbs that need a direct object from verbs that do not need a direct object. I have structured this video into the following 6 parts.

  1. Types of verbs.
  2. Verb forms and tenses
  3. Auxiliary verbs
  4. Modal Verbs
  5. Regular / Irregular verbs
  6. Transitive and intransitive verbs.

If you have any questions about verbs, or any other point of English, please ask in the comments section. I promise I will answer all of your questions. Now let’s get started.

Let’s begin with this question. What is are verbs? We can define verbs as words in a sentence that show action or state of being or condition. Verbs must agree in person and number with the subject of the sentence. Let’s look at three sentences.

Mary walked slowly through the front door.

The car looks old and rusty.

Bob seems sad today.

In the first sentence, the verb is walked which is the past tense of walk, and it tells us that Mary is moving. It shows action. In the second sentence, looks expresses the condition of the car. In the third sentence seems tells us the state that Bob is in today. The verbs in sentences 2 and 3 agree in number with the subject of the sentence. The car and Bob are single subjects and they both require a single verb. All single verbs end with s.

Verbs that are used to show condition and state of being are also called linking verbs. Linking verbs link the subject of the sentence to adjectives, nouns or pronouns that identify the subject.

Looks links the subject car with the adjectives old and rusty. Seems links the subject Bob with the adjective sad.

The most common linking verbs in English is the ~to be verb and its forms which include am, is, are, was, and were.

Other common linking verbs are look, hear, taste, smell, see, feel, sound, and appear.

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There are 6 basic forms of verbs. These forms are used to construct all of the tenses used in English. The forms are:

Base form Infinitive Past Past participle Present participle Gerund
play to play played has played am playing playing

Verb tense is used to convey time in a sentence. Tenses allow you place an action or state of being in the past, present or future. Tense also helps you talk about intentions and what could, would, or should happen. There are several tenses in the English language and knowing which tense to use is important in order for you to convey the proper intentions and actions clearly.

The verbs used with the past and present participle are known as auxiliary verbs, also known as helping verbs. These verbs help to signal a change in tense and voice of the main verb. You probably already know these verbs. They are the be verb, can, could, do, have, will, should, would, must and ought.

The to be verb is used as an auxiliary verb to form the progressive tense. Am, is and are form the present progressive while was and were are used to form the past progressing and be plus will are used to form the future progressive.

I am talking to you now. present progressive (am plus present participle)

I was talking to you last week. past progressing (was plus present participle)

I will be talking to you next week. future progressive (will be plus present participle)

Can is used to talk about ability. I can speak English. I can’t speak Russian. I could go to the mall. I couldn’t go to the theater. Can is also used to ask permission as in Can I borrow your book?

Do is usually used in questions and negative sentences. However, do can also be used in positive sentences to emphasize a point. In normal use as a question do is used to gather information. Do you go to school here? Did you go to class, today? The normal response to those two questions would be either yes, or no. But the speaker may wish to emphasis the point by using do in the answer. Yes, I do. No, I don’t.

Have is used to form the perfect tense, which is used quite often by native English speakers. The perfect tense is used to indicate that an action was completed sometime in the past, or will complete at a specific point in the future. However, the exact time the action is completed is not known by the speaker.

For example; ‘They have been to America three times.’ This sentence tells you that the subject ‘They,’ went to America three times in the past, but it doesn’t tell you when, just sometime in the past. Now compare that to the sentence, ‘They went to America last year.’ Now we know when they went to America. In the first sentence when is not known and not important. In the second sentence when is important. So, the perfect tense is used when the time the action happened in not known or is not important.

The auxiliary verb will is used with the base form of a verb to form the past tense. I will see you next week. Sally will come home later. This is a common construction that you are probably familiar with already.

The other helping verbs, could, should, would, must, and ought are also known as modal verbs. Modal verbs are words that are used to indicate the attitude of the speaker to what he or she is saying. The speaker’s attitude could be one of certainty, uncertainty, a wish, emphasis or hesitation. I don’t feel that this is a very helpful definition. Giving you examples of a few modal verbs will be more helpful to your understanding.

Could is used to talk about possible actions. We could go shopping. Could is also used for impossible or unrealistic actions. I’m so hungry, I could eat a horse.

Should is used to talk about actions that are expected but that can be avoided. I should go to bed, but I want to watch this movie. You can also use should to give advice. You should study more.

We can also use ought to in place of should. I should go to bed. I ought to go to bed. Ought is always used with the infinitive form of the verb.

Would is used to talk about imagined actions. It would be nice to make more money. I would love to live in Hawaii.

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Must is used to talk about actions that are expected and that have negative consequences if the actions do not happen. For example, I must go to work on Monday. If I do not go to work, there will be negative consequences. I will lose my job.

Those are just a few examples. For a complete explanation of modal verbs, I recommend the textbook Grammar in Use. I have left a link in the description.

Now let’s talk about regular and irregular verbs. As you know, when we want to talk about something that happened in the past we have to change the form of the verb from present to past tense. For most verbs that is done by simply adding an ~ed to the base form of the verb. Play becomes played. Look becomes looked and walk becomes walked. But for many verbs in English, the past tense is formed by changing the word’s spelling – or another way to think of it, is that you have to use a different word. Words like run, speak, and eat change to ran, spoke, and ate. Most grammar books have a list of irregular verbs and their past tense forms in the index or somewhere within the text. It is important for you to learn these forms in order to avoid the mistake of adding ~ed to the end of irregular verbs. I wish I could tell you that there is a simple way to learn all the different irregular verbs, but there isn’t. You have to learn the past tense just like you learned the present tense, through practice and repetition.

The last topic on our agenda today is transitive and intransitive verbs. These words refer to whether or not the verb used takes a direct object. What is a direct object? In the sentence Mary made cookies for the party. Mary is the subject and she is the actor of the verb made. What did she make? She made cookies. Cookies is the direct object of the verb made. If someone said Mary made and did not tells us what she made the sentence would not make sense.

Intransitive verbs do not take a direct object. They will express action but the action is not done to anyone or anything. For example, Mary sleeps late on Sundays. I stood in line for an hour. So, how do you know if the verb you want to use is transitive or intransitive? The simplest rule is to ask what or who after the verb.

Mary made what? Mary made cookies.

Mary sleeps who or what? I stood who or what? Who and what have no answer, so a direct object is not needed.

We have reached the end of the verb system in English. Let’s recap what you have learned.

  1. Verbs are words that show action, state of being or condition. Verbs must agree in person and number with the subject of a sentence.
  2. Verbs that are used to show condition and state of being are also called linking verbs.
  3. There are six forms of a verb and those six forms are the basis for all the tenses of English verbs. The forms are
  4. base form
    infinitive
    past
    past participle
    present participle
    gerund

  5. The tenses in English are present tense, past tense, future tense, progressive tense, and perfect tense and are used to place action at a particular time.
  6. Auxiliary verbs, also known as helping verbs, help to signal a change in tense and voice of the main verb.
  7. The perfect tense is used to indicate that an action was completed sometime in the past, or will complete at a specific point in the future. However, the exact time the action is completed is not known by the speaker.
  8. Modal verbs are words that are used to indicate the attitude of the speaker to what he or she is saying.
  9. Irregular verbs are verbs that form their past tense by changing words. Regular verbs form past tense by adding ed to the end of the verb.
  10. Transitive verbs are verbs that require a direct object. To know if a verb is transitive, ask what or who of the verb.

I hope this video has helped you. If you have any questions, please ask them in the comment section below and I promise I will answer all your question.

If you liked this video please hit the like button and share it with your friends and classmates. If you are not a subscriber, click the logo that is on your screen and let me help you improve your English. And as always, thanks for watching.

Don't let your accent
keep you from your
dreams.