Verb Forms in English

Verb forms are essential to mastering English. By learning the five forms of English verbs, you gain the tools to describe what is happening, has happened, or will happen. You will explore the various types of verb forms, including the base, third-person singular, present participle, past simple, and past participle. Understanding verb forms will help you express ideas and emotions clearly and effectively.

Verb Forms

Verb Forms
Verb Forms – Created by 7ESL

What Are Verb Forms?

Have you ever stopped to think about the different forms a verb can take? Each conveys a distinct message about action, time, and space. Take the verb “to run,” for example: “I run” conveys a simple action while “I am running” indicates that the action is happening at this precise moment. “I have run” shows that the action took place in the past, and “I have been running for” conveys that the action began in the past and continues into the present.

Why is It Important to Learn Verb Forms?

Have you ever tried to complete a puzzle without all the pieces? At times, learning a new language can feel just as frustrating. However, what if we told you that understanding verb forms is the key to unlocking the secrets of language?

We can think of verb forms as the missing pieces of the language learning puzzle because they provide the context and meaning needed to fully express thoughts and ideas. Just as a chef carefully selects spices to enhance a dish, verb forms add flavor and nuance to sentences.

Imagine trying to describe a scene without verbs – the words would lie flat on the page and lack the excitement of the moment. But with the right verb form, you can paint a vivid picture of the action taking place: “I walk” is simple, but “I am walking” adds a sense of ongoing action. “I walked” conveys a completed action, while “I have been walking” adds a sense of duration to the scene.

Types of Verb Forms

Understanding the variety of verb forms is key to becoming proficient in English.

Apart from To be, all English verbs have five forms: base, third-person singular, present participle, past simple and past participle. To be, however, has eight forms, namely: be, am, is, are, was, were, being, and been. In the case of all other verbs, the way in which the past simple and past participle are formed differs according to whether the verb is regular or irregular.


The base form of a verb, also known as the infinitive or root form, is the unchanged verb that describes basic actions and is used to create all other forms of the verb. This includes variations such as eat, sleep, run, love, drive, clean, speak, and so on. Example: eat eggs almost every day.

Third-Person Singular

The third-person singular form is sometimes referred to as the “form and involves adding “s”, “es”, or “ies” to the base form of the verb. Example: She sleeps in silk pajamas.

Present Participle

The present participle is more formally known as the gerund and is formed by adding “_ing” to the base verb. It is used in the past, present and future tenses to show that the action or state has been, or is, taking place over a prolonged period. Example: He is running in the field.

Past Simple

The past simple (also known as the simple past), refers to actions and states that have taken place and have stopped. The past form of regular verbs are created by adding “ed” (for example, They loved their pet), while irregular verbs, simple past forms can differ greatly, for example, drive becomes drove, and do becomes did.

Past Participle

The past participle is used to form various tenses, including the passive and perfect voices. Regular verbs’ past participles and past tense are identical and are constructed by adding either “d or “ed”, for example, We cleaned the car and We have cleaned the car. Irregular verbs depart from this rule, so for the verb speak, we see the conjugations You spoke with the teacher and You have spoken with the teacher.


Don’t underestimate the power of verb forms! The key to unlocking the secrets of language is just the right verb form away. Verbs are the life force of language, the words that resonate with energy and meaning. Without them, sentences would be flat, uninspiring, and meaningless; with them, sentences are transformed into captivating tales.

The next time you string words together, take a moment to think about the verbs you use because they are the heartbeat of language and enrich every sentence you craft. So, learn more, embrace their versatility, and unleash the full potential of your language-learning journey!