# ABE English Tutorials/simple sentences/Verbs Change with Time

## Verbs Change with Time

 Simple Sentences

# Preknowledge

 In the last lesson, we learned how verbs change with number: a singular subject needs a singular form of the verb, and a plural subject needs a plural form of the verb. Verbs change not only according to who does the action, but also according to when the action is done.
Check these examples:

 Action done yesterday Action done today Action done tomorrow Susan walked. Susan walks. Susan will walk. The boys played. The boys play. The boys will play. It followed me. It follows me. It will follow me.

Actions done yesterday (or last week, or last year, etc.) are called verbs in the past tense. Actions done today (actions happening "right now") are called verbs in the present tense. Actions that will happen (later on today, tomorrow, next month) are called verbs in the future tense. As you can see, these verbs shown above (walk, play, follow) all form their past tense by merely adding -ed to the usual verb; and they form their future tense by adding the little word will before the usual verb. Because these kinds of verbs always form their tenses the same way, they are called regular verbs. Here are some more regular verbs:

taste wash laugh smile employ gossip borrow manage worship

When you are writing about something that happened in the past, you use the past tense. In general, you should then use the same tense for all of the verbs in your story. Have a look at this example (the verbs have all been bolded):

Case Study
 Last month, I decided I needed another car. First, I walked to the Used Car lot on Main Street. This lot is just full of late model cars in good condition. The salesman says to me, "Are you looking for anything in particular?" I explained to him that I was just looking.

Let's take a closer look at the verbs in this story: decided, needed, walked, is, says, explained. Did you notice that four of these verbs are in the past tense, while two of them are in the present tense? It sounds "sloppy" to have these tenses changing from one to another, without any clear reason. Be consistent when you choose your verb tenses:

Key points
 *when you are writing about an event that happened in the past, make sure that all of your verbs are in the past tense. when you are writing about an event that is happening in the present, make sure that all of your verbs are in the present tense. when you are writing about an event that will be happening in the future, make sure that all of your verbs are in the future tense.

You don't have to change the tense of what somebody actually said (the part of the story inside the "quotation" marks). You can't change somebody's direct speech! This paragraph above should be re-written:

Last month, I decided I needed another car. First, I walked to the Used Car lot on Main Street. This lot was just full of late model cars in good condition. The salesman said to me, "Are you looking for anything in particular?" I explained to him that I was just looking. Here is another story to look at.After you read it, decide which tense it should be written in. Then change all of the necessary verbs to that correct tense.

# Tell us a story

 It's a beautiful day today. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and the air feels warm. Even the dog seemed happy! I'm happy just to be alive.

This story is happening right in the present. But did you notice the verb seemed? Seemed is in the past tense. It should be changed to seems in order to match the other verbs in this story.

Most regular verbs form their past tense simply by adding -ed to the present tense verb (eg. wash / washed). Of course, there are some exceptions:

Regular verbs which already end in "e" just add "d" to make the past tense (eg. dance / danced; force / forced). Verbs t Regular verbs which end in "y" usually change the "y" to an "i" and then add "ed" to make the past tense (eg. try / tried; bury / buried).

Here's some practice in choosing the correct verb:

Activity
 Last week, Suzanne (watches, watch, watched) the movie "First Contact". Next week, she (watched, watches, will watch) the sequel. My cat seems healthy, but she (scratched, scratches, will scratch) herself a lot. Yesterday I (carryed, carried) fourteen bags of groceries from my car. The restaurant workers (fryed, fried, will fry) over 200 hamburgers at their Grand Opening tomorrow.