Part 2: Verb Forms
Except for "to be", verbs have at most five forms. Strong verbs (mostly Anglo-Saxon in origin) have different spellings for all five forms. For example, the strong verb "write" has five different forms:
- write: root form. This is the form you'll find as the main entry in the dictionary
- writes: present conjugated form: except for "be", this form is constructed by adding 's' or 'es' to the end of the root form, changing a final 'y' to an 'i'.
- wrote: simple past tense form
- written: passive/"past" participle form (pa. pple.)
- writing: "present" participle form (pr. pple.); this form is always constructed by adding 'ing' to the end of the root form, dropping the silent 'e' if present.
- write: (omitting the archaic forms) "wrote... [3rd form; past]; written... [4th form; pa. part.]; writing [5th form; pr. part.]"
- writes: just goes to "write".
- wrote: "a simple past tense of write."
- written: "a past participle of write."
- writing: if you scroll down to look at the verb form, it's just a copy of "write".
Memorize "be", "have", and "do". They are often used, and they are used to form complex tenses. "Be" is especially irregular. Unlike every other verb, "be" has three present conjugated forms and two conjugated past tense forms:
|I am||We are||I was||We were|
|You are||-||You were||-|
|He/She/It is||They are||He/She/It was||They were|
Seriously: memorize this table cold.
The singular forms for the second person, "you", look more like the other plural forms. English used to have separate singular and plural forms for "you". The singular forms, "art" and "wert", and the singular pronouns, "thou", "thee", and "thy", fell into disuse, and the original plural forms ("are", "were"; "you", "your") took over for both singular and plural.