Verbs are words that express an action, occurrence, or a state of being.

learn more… | top users | synonyms (1)

62
votes
5answers
7k views

How do the tenses in English correspond temporally to one another?

Non-native speakers often get confused about what the tenses in English mean. With input from some of the folk here I've put together a diagram that I hope will provide some clarity on the matter. I ...
10
votes
4answers
3k views

When is the present perfect tense used instead of the past tense?

When is the present perfect tense used instead of the past tense? I know that the present perfect tense is used when some adverbs (e.g., never, ever) are present in the sentence.
13
votes
12answers
2k views

The grammaticality of “that don't impress me much”

I'd like to know how the sentence "That don't impress me much" sounds to a native English speaker. The phrase is the title of a song by Shania Twain, and to my eyes it contains a clear error. It is ...
22
votes
10answers
31k views

What is the correct way to use infinitive after the verb “help”: with or without “to”?

What is the correct way to use infinitive after the verb "help": with or without "to"? For example: Please, help me to understand this. or: Please, help me understand this.
6
votes
4answers
5k views

When should I use the subjunctive mood?

In which cases should I use the subjunctive mood? I suggest that every applicant fill out the form carefully. If she were rich, she would live on Long Island.
7
votes
2answers
2k views

Inversion in “only [adverb] have they”

I have seen this construction quite often: Online ads have been around since the dawn of the Web, but only in recent years have they become the rapturous life dream of Silicon Valley. What ...
42
votes
12answers
2k views

Central Pennsylvanian English speakers: what are the limitations on the “needs washed” construction?

In the Central Pennsylvania dialect of English (and possibly elsewhere), the following construction is possible: This car needs washed. (=needs to be washed) The room needs cleaned. (=needs ...
21
votes
3answers
2k views

What is the difference between “lay” and “lie”?

How do I know when to use lay and when to use lie, and what are the different forms of each verb? I'm always getting them confused.
13
votes
2answers
1k views

“did shoot” vs “shot”

This morning I read this sentence (see story): On July 24th and again on July 29th, Egyptian police did shoot dead unarmed African migrants attempting to cross that border. Why "did shoot" ...
9
votes
4answers
4k views

“Neither Michael nor Albert is correct” or “Neither Michael nor Albert are correct”?

What is the correct sentence? Neither Michael nor Albert is correct. Neither Michael nor Albert are correct.
22
votes
2answers
4k views

When is “L” doubled?

Some verbs can have double Ls in the gerund form; for example: modeling; modelling traveling; travelling Which form should we use, or which form is used more in the literature?
10
votes
2answers
605 views

“Try to save” or “try saving”

Are both try to save the file and try saving the file grammatically correct? If so, is there any difference in meaning?
68
votes
10answers
23k views

How many tenses are there in English?

Do we have 16 tenses in English? With future present past future in the past in these forms simple continuous perfect perfect continuous Can we manipulate these together to create English ...
16
votes
4answers
43k views

Difference between “I have got” and “I have gotten”

I see these two expressions are used almost identically in different contexts. Is there a difference between I have got and I have gotten?
7
votes
4answers
4k views

“The thing is, is that…”

This is a phrase I've heard many people use, and it sounds wrong to me; e.g.: The thing about that is, is that she might take it the wrong way. It seems to treat "The thing [...] is"—the entire ...
36
votes
9answers
8k views

When should I use “shall” versus “will”?

Which is the correct use of these two words, and in which context should one be used rather than the other?
28
votes
8answers
5k views

Is it appropriate to use short form of “have” ('ve) when it means possession?

I feel uncomfortable saying sentences like the following: "I've a car" instead of "I have a car" "They've a great time" instead of "They have a great time" "He's a pen" instead of "He has a pen" ...
15
votes
3answers
2k views

“All you have to do is read” vs. “All you have to do is to read”

I was speaking to an English learner and said, “All you have to do is read a lot.” And they thought that sentence wasn’t grammatically correct because I dropped the word to between is and read. They ...
3
votes
5answers
3k views

Is it acceptable to begin a declarative sentence with “Am”?

I want to know firstly if it's grammatically correct to start a declarative sentence with "Am". For example: Am excited about the game today. Secondly, if it is grammatically incorrect, then I ...
21
votes
5answers
5k views

Is it acceptable to use “is become” instead of “has become”?

In the King James version of the Bible there is a verse like this: The Lord is my strength, and my fortress, and my song. And He is become my salvation. Is it still feasible to use "is become" ...
11
votes
4answers
6k views

What happened to the “‑est” and “‑eth” verb suffixes in English?

What happened to them, and how were they once used? Straining my mind to sound archaic, I came up with the following: Dost thou thinkest thou can escape thy sins? and Bringeth me mine armor ...
2
votes
3answers
2k views

When do I use present perfect tense instead of the simple past?

I've finished my work. I finished my work. When do I use one or the other?
30
votes
2answers
1k views

Why are clothes “hung” but men “hanged”?

It is said that clothes can be hung but men are hanged. Is this correct, and if so, why?
9
votes
4answers
4k views

Usage of the verb “provide”

Does the verb "provide" always have to be used with "with"? For example, Can you provide me with some good examples? Can you provide me some good examples? Can you provide some good ...
4
votes
4answers
3k views

Plural/singular verb agreement with units

When writing about specific quantities, should the verb reflect a singular or a plural value? Do abbreviations vs. spelled-out words make any difference? I took 2 ml of water, which was/were then ...
16
votes
1answer
11k views

Why is “ask” sometimes pronounced “aks”?

We've recently moved from New Zealand to New York City, and have noticed that many people (most of whom have good English) pronounce "ask" as "aks". For example: Could you please go aks her ...
3
votes
3answers
713 views

“At” vs. “in” before verb

In a document I found the following sentence: listeners are more accurate at understanding speech spoken in their own accent... Would it be an error to use "in" instead of "at"? Actually in ...
43
votes
10answers
9k views

“Eat” is to “feed” as “drink” is to what?

I can say "I feed someone". Am I forced to say "I give someone a drink", or is there a single word for this (as in "I [verb] someone")? Unfortunately my thesaurus can't really help me.
11
votes
2answers
37k views

How to use “to + V-ing”?

I saw some scenarios that used the structure "to + V-ing", such as the following: Looking forward to hearing. Disposed to using few words. I would like to apply what I learned in school to helping ...
21
votes
7answers
9k views

Is “must” ever grammatical as a past tense verb?

I have seen uses of must that appear to be in the simple past tense. Sometimes these seem grammatical, but sometimes not. Examples that help illustrate my confusion: He knew he must go to New York ...
20
votes
1answer
1k views

What is the origin of the 'do' construction?

Modern English seems to require this verb in several circumstances, where most other European languages don't seem to need it. (See? I just used it.) For example, in questions: "Do you have a dog?" ...
6
votes
3answers
4k views

When to use “have” and “have got”

When do I use have and have got? Are "I have the answer" and "I've got the answer" both correct?
13
votes
2answers
9k views

Why is the phrase “should have went” so widely used?

Rarely do we hear "should have gone" in common speech. Some background: My father immigrated to the US in the late 60s. He learned English first overseas, British English. Then he studied extensively ...
9
votes
2answers
2k views

How to combine in a sentence two verb–preposition pairs that have the same object?

Examples: Data can be imported to and exported from the application. Data can be imported and exported from the application. Data can be imported to the application and exported from it. ...
15
votes
3answers
19k views

“Let's” vs. “lets”: which is correct?

Say I'm promoting a product. Which is correct? [Product] let's you [do something awesome]. [Product] lets you [do something awesome]. Or neither?
7
votes
5answers
26k views

What is the difference between “speaking” and “talking”?

It seems more politically correct to say that someone is speaking rather than talking. What is the definitive difference between these terms?
8
votes
2answers
681 views

Are there specific rules to build expressions with or without articles?

In English, there are lots of expressions built using articles like: at the station to the cinema play the piano have breakfast (no article) take a bath take a shower Are there specific rules or ...
3
votes
3answers
403 views

What are the guidelines for usage of “will” and “is/are going to”?

I use them interchangeably, however I'd like to know when one is better or more appropriate than the other.
2
votes
3answers
363 views

“To do this or do that” or “to do this or *to* do that”?

I saw on the bottom of an email: To change your email preferences or unsubscribe from certain messages, click here. Is that correct or should it be: To change your email preferences or to ...
1
vote
2answers
2k views

“If I would have lost you” vs “If I had lost you”

I watched a (Hollywood?) film the other day where a character visiting his just-hospitalised wife (who it seems will actually survive) says "If I would have lost you [I don't know what I'd do]". I'd ...
11
votes
9answers
1k views

Must present perfect tense be used if the action takes place more than once?

I was told that if an action is completed once in the past, the simple past is used. Ex: I saw that movie. If the action is completed more than once, the present perfect tense must be used. Ex: I ...
15
votes
2answers
2k views

Why is 'present perfect' present if it happened in the past? And why is it 'perfect'?

Why is 'present perfect' present if it happened in the past? And why is it 'perfect'?
4
votes
3answers
1k views

Can you contract the main verb in a sentence?

One can contract I have to I've when have is a helping verb, e.g. I've got an octopus in my pants. Is contracting the main verb technically incorrect or merely antiquated? My father loves to ...
4
votes
2answers
5k views

Should I say 'What I wanted to say is' or 'What I wanted to say was'?

Following Martha's advice I am splitting up a question Compound sentences, the punctuation and mooore. Let's put what I said / wrote something in the past. And now I want to elaborate some key points ...
3
votes
2answers
3k views

Is “either you or [third-person]” followed by a singular verb or a plural verb?

Or, put in examples: which of the following is grammatically correct? Either you or your sister is going to have to do the chores. Either you or your sister are going to have to do the ...
6
votes
3answers
11k views

Which nouns can be used as verbs?

Someone told me that the English language is special (compared to German, at least) in the way that every noun could be used as a verb. I think this phenomenon is called supine. Is this correct? ...
3
votes
2answers
793 views

Use of “do” in affirmative statements [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: When do you use “Did + 1st form” instead of “2nd form” When is do used in affirmative sentences? For example: I do think that this is going to be... Is it only ...
51
votes
6answers
59k views

“Login” or “log in”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “log in to” or “log into” or “login to” Is there accepted terminology for the process of logging in? As a verb, would you say "Go to ...
5
votes
2answers
24k views

When to use “has lived” vs. “lived” vs. “had lived”

Jim has lived there. Jim lived there. Jim had lived there. Are there any differences? When do I use one or the other? I'm trying to teach this to a foreign person and am having a hard ...
1
vote
3answers
5k views

“It could/might/may be funny” — what is the correct usage?

What is the difference in meaning in these three sentences? it might be funny it could be funny it may be funny The answer was partially touched on in this post.