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Questions tagged [verbs]

This tag is for questions about verbs. Verbs are words that express an action, occurrence, or a state of being. Add this tag to single-word-requests if you are looking for a verb. Add the tag word-usage if you are asking about the usage of the verb.

158
votes
7answers
52k views

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

Non-na­tive speak­ers of­ten get con­fused about what the var­i­ous tens­es and as­pects mean in English. With in­put from some of the folk here I've put to­geth­er a di­a­gram that I hope will pro­...
37
votes
6answers
54k views

I <verb> and am <rest of sentence>

I sometimes find myself writing something like this: XXX is a project I admire and am very interested in. The "I <verb> and am <something>" feels strange here. It somehow sounds more ...
80
votes
10answers
346k 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.
15
votes
4answers
12k 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.
12
votes
2answers
8k 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 is ...
15
votes
4answers
13k 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; the same is true ...
20
votes
2answers
4k 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" ...
16
votes
14answers
8k 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 ...
46
votes
5answers
394k 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?
35
votes
4answers
17k 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.
107
votes
11answers
100k 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 tenses? ...
63
votes
18answers
6k 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 to ...
36
votes
6answers
18k 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" ...
12
votes
4answers
36k 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 ...
50
votes
8answers
35k 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" etc ...
48
votes
2answers
21k 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?
16
votes
4answers
16k 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 ...
24
votes
6answers
503k views

“I use to”, or “I used to”

Which is the correct sentence, if there is a correct one? I use to be a hitman. I used to be a hitman. I've read the second sentence recently in a book, but I was sure it should be I use to be ...
137
votes
5answers
248k views

“log in to” or “log into” or “login to”

When writing an instruction about connecting to a computer using ssh, telnet, etc., I'm not sure what spacing to use in this familiar spoken phrase: "Log in to host.com" "Log into host.com" "Login to ...
15
votes
2answers
3k 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?
18
votes
3answers
16k 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 ...
33
votes
7answers
94k views

“Focussed” or “focused”? Rules for doubling the last consonant when adding -ed

Initially, my question was: is "focussed" or "focused" the correct past tense of "focus", but since this applies to a lot of words, I would like to generalize and ask: is there supposed to be a rule ...
13
votes
3answers
20k 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?
20
votes
5answers
6k views

“I think him to be about 50” or “I think he is about 50”?

I have two options. Which one is correct? a) I think him to be about 50. b) I think he is about 50. If both are correct, should I avoid one or the other?
5
votes
3answers
6k 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 ...
25
votes
2answers
299k 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 ...
29
votes
4answers
40k 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 and ...
1
vote
2answers
5k views

“He is loved”, is 'loved' an adjective or a verb?

He is loved. This is something that I've always kind of wondered. In a sentence like this, is loved a verb or an adjective? Can it be considered either?
19
votes
3answers
28k views

“To hear” or “to hearing”?

I often see constructions like this one: I look forward to hearing from you soon. It seems a little strange to me. In my mind it would look better using the infinitive form "to hear". I don't know ...
30
votes
7answers
80k 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 -...
13
votes
2answers
11k 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. ...
8
votes
4answers
5k 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 say, ...
8
votes
8answers
24k 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 ...
12
votes
11answers
32k views

Word to describe “when someone describes something in too much detail”

There's a word I thought I knew at some point, but can no longer remember what it was. I tried looking up various thesaurus websites to no avail. Similar words to what I'm looking for, but not quite:...
8
votes
2answers
4k views

what does “it's time I told you” mean and why past tense here? [duplicate]

I'm watching Suits TV Series, and there was something that caught my attention. 2 guys meet, have a drink, chat, and then one guy says: I mean it's time I told you. I made a deal with Darby to take ...
7
votes
3answers
16k views

Singular or plural verb after a series connected by “or”

The following sentence refers to an apocalyptic story where money no longer has any value: A can of sardines, radio batteries, or a bicycle is/are more precious than money. Should I use is or are ...
53
votes
10answers
50k 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.
13
votes
2answers
144k 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 time.
23
votes
3answers
14k 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
4k 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 this ...
13
votes
4answers
46k 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
7k views

recommend you + to-infinitive vs recommend that you + infinitive

I'd like to ask about the use of the verb "recommend" in the following sentences: We'd recommend you to book your flight early. The plumber recommended me to buy a new water heater. The first ...
5
votes
6answers
23k views

“Have got” — verb form and tense

In the following sentence, what is the main verb and in what tense does it occur? I have got a car. There are two possible explanations that I can think of: get as the main verb in the present ...
3
votes
6answers
2k views

“I believe it's valid” vs. “I believe it valid”

Over on another network site, a helpful user corrected the grammar of a post of mine. The answer now says I believe it's valid. where I originally wrote I believe it valid. Is the original ...
28
votes
3answers
58k views

Is “prepone” being used outside India?

Prepone is a great word - it's the opposite of postpone. When you prepone a meeting, you change its scheduled time so that it occurs sooner than originally planned. Has his usage spread beyond India? ...
25
votes
3answers
7k 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?" ...
24
votes
1answer
36k 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
906 views

How to distinguish between uses of words like 'Marry'?

Marry can be used both transitively: "Paul Married Jane" and intransitively: "I got married". Thus making the word ambitransitive But it has a third use: "Paul, the vicar Married Jane to ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

Classification - There is/are

What is the official 'name' for the 'there is' / 'there are' construction? Is it a verb phrase or a lexical verb? I'd say possibly a verb but it must be the most difficult term to Google.
54
votes
8answers
9k views

“To science the sh*t out of something”

In The Martian movie, Matt Damon (Watney), when left stranded on Mars with very limited resources to survive, says: Mark Watney: In the face of overwhelming odds, I'm left with only one option, I'm ...