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Level 1: Lessons 13-14


Level 1 is the first workbook in the elementary series. Lessons 13 and 14 teach about the present tense of the verbs do, go, have, and be.

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A Form-Function English Grammar

Level 1

Lessons 13 and 14

Present Tense Verbs: Do, Go, Have, Be

How do the verbs do, go, have, and be differ from other verbs in the present tense?

Remember again that notional grammars define the verb as a word that names an action or state. Most verbs can show tense, which means most verbs have present tense and past tense forms.

Tense tells when an action or state happened. The present tense can tell what is happening now in the present moment.

In the present tense, most verbs have two forms. The form depends on person and number. English has three persons: first person, second person, and third person. English has two numbers: singular and plural. (See Lesson 9 for a review of grammatical person and Lesson 2 for a review of grammatical number.)

Also remember that most verbs are unmarked in the present tense. Unmarked means that the verb is the same as the verb found in the dictionary. In the present tense, verbs for the first person, second person, and third person plural are unmarked. In the third person singular, most verbs take an -s or ­­-es­ suffix in the present tense.

The verbs do, go, have, and be are among the most common English verbs. All four verbs follow different rules in the third person singular of the present tense.

The verbs do, go, and have can be action verbs.

The verbs do and go take the -es suffix to form the third person singular. Do plus es is does. Go plus es is goes.

For example: I do the dishes. He does his homework. You go home. She goes to school. Notice the does and goes in the third person singular.

The third person singular of the verb have is has. For example: I have a cold. The teacher has a headache. Notice the has in the third person singular.

Remember that most verbs are action verbs. Action verbs tell what someone or something does. Also remember that be is one of the most common verbs in English. But be is not an action verb. Be can be a state of being verb. Be tells what someone or something is. The linguistic term for state of being verb is copular verb. Copular verbs are also referred to as linking verbs. The terms copular verb, state of being verb, and linking verb all mean the same thing.

The verb be is irregular in all persons and numbers in the present tense.

The first person singular of be is am: I am.

The first person plural, second person, and third person plural of be is are: We are, you are, they are.

The third person singular of be is is: He is, she is, it is.

So, how do the verbs do, go, have, and be differ from other verbs in the present tense?

The present tense form of most verbs is unmarked. Most verbs take an -s or ­-es suffix in the third person singular. In the third person singular, the verbs do and go take an -es suffix: does and goes. The third person singular of the verb have is has. The verb be is irregular in all persons and numbers in the present tense: am, is, are.

Now practice your knowledge of the present tense of the verbs do, go, have, and be by completing the exercises in Lessons 13 and 14 of A Form-Function English Grammar: Level 1, pages 52 through 59.

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