Verbs – Tenses and Forms | GMAT Verbal Tutorial

In this GMAT grammar tutorial, we look at the definition of pronoun agreement and cover the various types you’ll encounter. We’ll first cover the base verbs and the auxiliary verbs and later discuss the various tenses.

Verbs – Tenses & Forms (Base, Auxiliary) | GMAT Grammar

Base Verbs

To find the Base verb, just ask yourself the answer to ‘to ____ ’. Note that you don’t use ‘to ’in the base verb; it’s just a way to find the base form of the verb.

Examples of base verbs: See, go, work, jump, fall, play, eat

From the base form of the verb, we can create the other forms. For the present participle form, use ‘ing’. This answers the question ‘to be _____’.

Examples: working, playing

For the past participle form, add ‘ed’ or ‘en’ to the base verb in case of regular verbs. This answers the question ‘to have _____’.

Examples: helped, talked

There are many irregular verbs which don’t follow any fixed pattern while forming their past participle form. Eg: eat – eaten, drink – drunk

Auxiliary Verbs or Helping Verbs

These verbs are used before a main verb to form a logical statement and for the right grammatical construction. They may also be used to provide information about the time of the action (past/present/future).

Look at the following construction:

You should take care of your valuables while travelling.

She has been waiting in the queue for half an hour.

In the above sentences, the words ‘should’ and ‘has been’ help complete the verbs without which the sentence wouldn’t sound correct. These are the auxiliary or helping verb. The verbs in the above sentences would be ‘should take’ and ‘has been waiting’.

Auxiliary verbs include the following-

Modal Verbs

‘Will, shall, would, should, might, must, may, can, could, ought to’ are the modal verbs. A modal is used as an auxiliary or helping verb.

Other helping verbs include ‘be, been, being, is, are, am, was, were, do, does, did, has, have, had’

Verb Tenses

Tenses are used to indicate the time a particular action or activity takes place. Following is a list (with examples) of the various verb tenses:

Simple present tense

This tense describes something that happens on a regular basis in the present.

Examples

  • The child plays for an hour in the garden everyday.
  • This new industrial plant generates a lot of waste.

Simple past tense

This tense is used to describe an action that was completed.

Examples

  • The magician impressed the children with his tricks.
  • The athlete practised for hours at a stretch.

Simple future tense

This tense uses forms of ‘will or shall’ before the base verb.

Examples

  • I will go to London next week.
  • We will continue our journey after an hour.

Present progressive tense

This tense describes an action that is in progress at the moment. It usually employs forms of ‘am / is / are’ along with present participle form of the verb.

Examples

  • The lady is waiting for her friend at the airport.
  • I am trying my best to meet the deadline.

Past progressive tense

This tense is used to describe an action that was in progress in the past. It usually uses ‘was/ were’ along with the present participle form.

Examples

  • The passengers were waiting for an hour at the airport due to the delay.
  • I was sleeping when the door bell rang.

Future progressive tense

This tense describes an action that will happen and be in progress in the future. Here, forms of ‘will be/shall be’ are used along with the present participle form of verb.

Examples

  • I’ll be coming to help you decorate the house for the party.
  • The chief guest will be arriving any time now.

Present perfect tense

This tense describes something that began in the past and has been completed or may still be going on. It makes use of the auxiliary verb ‘has / have’ as well as a past participle form of the verb.

Examples

  • The child has played for an hour in the garden.
  • We have finished renovating our apartment.

Past perfect tense

This tense shows an action that has happened before another action in the past. The auxiliary verb ‘had’ and a past participle is made use of.

Examples

  • We had just gone out for a walk when it started raining.
  • I had just finished baking the cake when the guests arrived.

Future perfect tense

This tense expresses an action that would be complete by a specific time in the future. It makes use of ‘will have’ and the past participle form of verb.

Examples

  • The electrician will have completed the wiring work by the time we reach home.
  • Most of the students will have found a job by the time they graduate.

Present perfect progressive tense

This tense is used for an ongoing action that had commenced in the past. It is created by using ‘has been’ and the present participle.

Examples

  • The lady has been trying to clean the dirty floor.
  • The family has been searching for a good place to live in.

Past perfect progressive tense

This tense describes some action in progress in the past or something that was going on before some other action in the past. Here, ‘had been’ is used along with the present participle.

Examples

  • She had been actively participating in the various competitions before the leg injury.
  • He was tired as he had been working hard throughout the day.

Future perfect progressive tense

This tense expresses an action that will continue upto a certain time in the future. Here we have forms of ‘will have been’ with the present participle.

Examples

  • We will have been driving for two hours by the time we reach Aunt Elizabeth’s house.
  • By the end of this month, we will have been staying in this apartment for three years.

 

Linking verbs

These are the verbs which are used to link the subject to the rest of the sentence without being an ‘action word’.

Examples

  1. She is a nice person.
  2. He seemed intelligent.
  3. The boy was hungry.
  4. Rita became an architect.
  5. The pizza tastes/appears/looks delicious.

Some verbs can be used as a linking verb as well as an ordinary verb. In the last example above, the words ‘tastes, appears, looks’ can also be used in the following ways to show action:

  • I tasted the delicious ice-cream.
  • She appeared for the exam in spite of being ill.
  • He looked at the paintings with great interest.

 


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2 Comments

  1. Oracle says:

    Present perfect progressive tense

    This tense is used for an ongoing action that had commenced in the past or may still be going on
    (Only difference from Present perfect tense is that, it conveys progressiveness.)

    By using perfect tense, you want to convey the influence of a completed action into the present

    I have been to Bangkok.

    Doesn’t mean that I am in Bangkok now, but I want to convey the influence of my visit into my present (bragging talk).

  2. Sameer Kamat says:

    @Oracle: Your example has elevated this post to a different level. For that contribution, we wish you many more trips to Bangkok.

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