Verb Forms in English - Explore Different Forms with Examples

In the English language, verbs are used to represent the action done by the subject in a sentence or a context. There are five main verb forms in English. Let us look at each one of them in detail.

Table of Contents

What is a Verb Form?

A verb form is a way in which a verb is shaped or modified in order to suit the context that speaks about an action that is performed at a specific time. The five verb forms in English are root verb, third person singular present form of verb, present participle, simple past and past participle.

Root Verb with Examples

The root verb is the verb in its original form, without any inflexion or change. The root form of the verb is used as the base form to create the other forms of the verb. Keep in mind that this is not the case with all verbs. The root form of the verb is modified when conjugated to represent other forms of the verb only for regular verbs. Irregular verbs have unique ways in which they are conjugated, and not all remain the same.

Root verbs are most often used to indicate the simple present tense. Let us take a look at the following examples of how the root verb is used in sentences.

Examples of Root Verbs:

  • I love watching movies with my friends. (Root verb – love)
  • I finish my homework before 6 p.m. everyday. (Root verb – finish)
  • You play really well. (Root verb – play)
  • You are beautiful. (Root verb – be)

In the above examples, the verbs ‘love’, ‘finish’, ‘play’ and ‘are’ are used in their original form, and so they are called root verbs.

Third Person Singular Present Form with Examples

The third person singular form of the verb is used to represent the simple present tense. As far as regular verbs are concerned, the third person singular form is indicated by the addition of an ‘s’ or ‘es’ to the end of the root verb.

Examples of Third Person Singular Present Form:

  • Tom likes having cereal for breakfast.

Root verb – like, Third person singular form – likes

  • Sheela teaches English for sixth grade students.

Root verb – teach, Third person singular form – teaches

  • My father reads the newspaper everyday.

Root verb – read, Third person singular form – reads

  • The Sun rises in the east and sets in the west.

Root verb – rise, set; Third person singular form – rises, sets

Present Participle Form of the Verb with Examples

The present participle form of the verb is formed by adding an ‘ing’ to the base form/root verb. In some cases, when the word is a monosyllabic word that ends with a vowel followed by a consonant, the last consonant is doubled, and then the ‘ing’ is added. For verbs ending with an ‘e’, the ‘e’ is removed, and the ‘ing’ is added in most cases. However, there are a few verbs that retain the ‘e’ in the base form when converted to the present participle form of the verb.

This form of the verb is used in the continuous/progressive tenses to indicate that the action is still going on. It is also used to convert verbs into nouns that refer to an action.

Examples of Present Participle Form:

  • Words that have double consonants
    • Run – Running
    • Swim – Swimming
    • Forget – Forgetting
    • Sit – Sitting
    • Cut – Cutting
  • Examples of regular verbs converted to the present participle form
    • Cry – crying
    • Try – Trying
    • Read – Reading
    • Write – Writing (‘e’ is removed)
    • Age – Ageing (‘e’ is retained)

Simple Past Form of the Verb with Examples

The simple past form of the verb is used to denote an action that took place in the past. It is usually formed by adding an ‘ed’ or ‘d’ (for words ending in ‘e’) to the end of the root verb. However, there are irregular verbs that do not follow the general rule. Let us look at a few examples of the simple past form of the verb.

Examples of Simple Past Form:

  • Regular verbs in the simple past form
    • Cheat – Cheated
    • Dodge – Dodged
    • Jump – Jumped
    • Skip – Skipped
    • Iron – Ironed
  • Verbs that take the same form as the root verb in the simple past form of the verb
    • Read – Read
    • Cut – Cut
    • Put – Put
    • Let – Let
    • Hit – Hit
    • Hurt – Hurt
  • Irregular verb forms
    • Run – Ran
    • Sit – Sat
    • Sing – Sang
    • Throw – Threw
    • Fly – Flew
    • Bring – Brought
    • Buy – Bought
    • Think – Though
    • Ring – Rang
    • Find – Found
    • Lose – Lost
    • Meet – Met

Past Participle Form of the Verb with Examples

The past participle form of the verb is used to indicate the perfect tense. For regular verbs, the simple past form and the past participle form of the verb remain the same, whereas there are irregular verbs that take a different spelling when used as a past participle. Let us look at a few examples to understand better.

Examples of Past Participle Form:

  • Verbs that take the same spelling in the simple past and past participle forms of the verb

Root Verb

Simple Past

Past Participle

Read

Read

Read

Sit

Sat

Sat

Think

Thought

Thought

Throw

Threw

Threw

Cut

Cut

Cut

Buy

Bought

Bought

Stand

Stood

Stood

Pull

Pulled

Pulled

Draw

Drew

Drew

Tumble

Tumbled

Tumbled

  • Verbs that take a different spelling when used in the simple past form and the past participle form

Root Verb

Simple Past

Past Participle

Drink

Drank

Drunk

Sing

Sang

Sung

Ring

Rang

Rung

Choose

Chose

Chosen

Write

Wrote

Written

Test Your Knowledge of the Five Forms of Verbs

Why not check your understanding of the five different verb forms? Fill in the blanks with the suitable form of the verb in the following sentences.

1. I _____ (go) to school everyday.

2. Teena ______ (love) ice cream.

3. Did you ________ (find) the pink dress I _____ (ask) for?

4. I will _______ (come) to the party tomorrow.

5. My mom ________ (clean) the house yesterday evening.

6. My name ______ (to be) Sheena D’Souza.

7. That bottle _______ (belong) to me.

8. My son, Sid can _________ (count) up to fifty.

9. Freddy will be _______ (go) to work tomorrow.

10. Joshua ______ (play) football.

Check your answers here.

1. I go to school everyday.

2. Teena loves ice cream.

3. Did you find the pink dress I asked for?

4. I will come to the party tomorrow.

5. My mom cleaned the house yesterday evening.

6. My name is Sheena D’Souza.

7. That bottle belongs to me.

8. My son, Sid can count up to fifty.

9. Freddy will be going to work tomorrow.

10. Joshua plays football.

Frequently Asked Questions on Verb Forms in English

What is a verb form?

A verb form is a way in which a verb is shaped or modified in order to suit the context that speaks about an action that is performed at a specific time.

What are the five verb forms in English?

The five verb forms in English are root verb, third person singular present form of verb, present participle, simple past and past participle.

What is the simple past form of the verb?

The simple past form of the verb is used to denote an action that took place in the past. It is usually formed by adding an ‘ed’ or ‘d’ (for words ending in ‘e’) to the end of the root verb. However, there are irregular verbs that do not follow the general rule. Examples of simple past forms are read, sat, cheated, drank, spoke, cut, etc.

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