English Topic 20 - Verbs: tenses, imperatives, auxiliary verbs


Verbs – action, imperatives, auxiliary verbs and verb tenses are commonly tested in 11 plus exams.

Types of verbs:

  1. Action verbs – also known as ‘doing verbs’ as they express action e.g. We drove down to Surrey. (‘drove‘ = action verb); I painted the fence (‘painted‘ = action verb); Tom learns his times tables (‘learns‘ = action verb).
  2. Helping verbs – also known as Auxiliary verbs. These verbs support and work alongside the main verb e.g. I am helping dad with the gardening (‘am‘ = helping verb); He was walking to school daily (‘was‘ = helping verb); We are hoping the weather will be fine (‘are‘ = helping verb).
  3. State of being verbs – also known as linking verbs – these verbs link the subject of the sentence to a noun e.g. You are very talented. (‘are‘ = state of being verb); I am here all day (‘am‘ = state of being verb); He is kind (‘is‘ = state of being verb).
  4. Imperative verbs – sometimes these are knows as ‘bossy verbs’. These verbs create instructions/orders/commands e.g. Boil for three minutes (‘boil‘ = imperative verb); Thread the needle carefully (‘thread‘ = imperative verb); Put the cake in the oven (‘put‘ = imperative verb).

Verb Tenses

Verbs have 3 main tenses. Past, present and future. Here’s a few examples:

Example of the verb ‘to play’ in different tenses:

Past tenses: I played (past simple tense); I was playing (past continuous tense); I had played (past perfect tense); I had been playing (past perfect continuous).

Present tenses: I play (present simple tense); I am playing (present continuous tense); I have played (present perfect tense); I have been playing (present perfect continuous).

Future tenses: I will play (future simple tense); I will be playing (future continuous tense).

Video tutorials

Types of verbs and tenses tutorial

Type of verbs tutorial:

Imperatives tutorial:

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