Right Form of Verb: 30+Rules with Practical Examples

May 11, 2022 ...

Verbs are the most variable component of a sentence. They take different forms according to tense, person, voice, moods, modals, subject-verb agreement etc. To grasp the concept of the right form of verbs, we need to master the rules first.

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Here are 30+ Rules of the Right form of verbs in English, which you should definitely master:

Right form of verb Rule #1: 3rd Person & singular number

If your subject is 3rd Person & singular number and the verb is in Simple Present Tense, then

Add ‘s’/’es’ to the verb to make it plural.

Example: He drinks coffee.

Right form of verb Rule #2: Universal Truths

In the case of Universal truth & the habitual fact:

The sentence is in Simple Present Tense.

Example: The sun gives us light.

Right form of verb Rule #3: Present Continous

If the work is continuing at present:

The verb is in the present continuous. Indicative words: now, at present, at this moment, etc.

Example: She is singing now.

Right form of verb Rule #4: ‘just’, ‘just now..’, etc

If a sentence contains just, just now, already, yet, ever, lately, recently, etc., then:

The verb will be in the present perfect tense. 

Example: He has just left the house

Right form of verb Rule #5: Past time

If a sentence contains words indicating past time, such as yesterday, ago, long since, etc., then:

The verb will be in the past form

Example: I went to my village home last week.

Right form of verbs
Source: Learngrammar.net

Rule #6: ‘No sooner had…than’

If a sentence contains “No sooner had …. than”, “scarcely had when”, “hardly had before”, etc., then:

The first verb will be in the past participle form and the second verb will be in the past form

Example: No sooner had the thief seen the police than he ran away.

Rule #7: ‘since’

If the first part of ‘since’ is in present indefinite or present perfect tense then the next part will be past indefinite.

Example: It has been many years since I came to Paris.

If the first part of ‘since’ is in past indefinite tense then the next part becomes past perfect.

Example: It was many years since they had first met.

Rule #8: ‘nor, or, either..’

When nouns or pronouns are joined by ‘or, nor, either…or, neither… nor’:

The verb form usually agrees with the noun that is closest to the verb.

Example: Neither the President nor the two houses are governing now.

Rule #9: ‘after’

If the first part of ‘after’ is in past indefinite tense, then the next part will be past perfect

Example: The teacher started the class after Raju had come.

Rule #10: ‘while’

If the verb

  • comes after ‘while’, then the verb will take ‘ing’ with it
  • if comes after ‘while + subject’, then the verb will be in the past continuous tense

Example: While going to school, I saw a snake.

Rule #11: ‘to be’ and ‘having’

The main verb after ‘to be’ and ‘having’ takes past participle form

Example: He ran away having taken the money.

Rule #12: Future indicative words

For future indicative words like ‘by this time, by morning, by Sunday’, etc., then:

the verb will be in the future perfect tense

Example: They will have reached by this time.

Rule #13: ‘tomorrow’, ‘next year’, etc

If a sentence contains tomorrow, next year, coming month, etc., then:

the verb will be in the future indefinite tense.

 Example: I will leave for Kolkata tomorrow.

Rule #14: two verbs

If a simple sentence contains two verbs, then:

The 2nd verb will take ‘ing’ or ‘to’ before it or will take the past participle form.

Example: I saw him running

Rule #15: ‘had rather’, ‘had better’, etc.

If a sentence contains ‘had rather’, ‘had better’, ‘would better’, ‘let’, ‘would rather’, ‘dare’, ‘must need’, etc, then:

  • The verb is in the present form.
  • If there is ‘to’ before that verb, the ‘to’ will be omitted. 

Example: You had better go to the class.

Rule #16: ‘it is time’

The verb after it is high time, it is time, wish, fancy, etc. will be in the past form.

Example: It is high time we did the work.

Rule #17: ‘though’, ‘as if’, etc.

After as though, as if, wish, etc., the ‘to be verb’ transforms into ‘were’. 

Example: I wish I were a butterfly.

Rule #18: ‘as though/as if’

If the first part of ‘as though/as if’ is present indefinite, then the next part will be past indefinite. 

If the first part is past indefinite, the next part will be past perfect

Example: He speaks as though he knew everything.

Rule #19: Modal auxiliaries

The principal verb takes the present form after modal auxiliaries. 

Example: One should not waste time.

Rule #20: ‘am’, ‘is’, ‘are’, etc.

The verb after 

  • am, is, are, was, were, takes ‘ing’ inactive form
  • But it will be in the past participle in passive form. 

Example: He is doing the work

Rule #21: Causative Verb

If have, has, had, got, etc. work as a causative verb in a sentence, then:

The verb after them will be a past participle. 

Example: I got the work done.

Rule #22: ‘get used to’, ‘without’, etc.

After phrases such as get used to, without, cannot help, past, could not help, with a view toward, look forward to, would you mind, etc., the:

Given verb takes ‘ing’ form

Example: I went to Chittagong with a view to attend the wedding.

Rule #23: ‘there’

Sentences starting with ‘there’

  • If there is a singular number, the verb will be singular
  • If there is a plural number, the verb will be plural

Example: There is a high school in our town, there are 2 high schools in our town.

Rule #24: ‘lest’

With ‘lest’ in the sentence:

‘might/should’ follows the subject.

Example: He worked hard lest he might miss the deadline.

Rule #25: ‘while’

After ‘While’

  • The verb takes ‘ing’ 
  • But if there is a subject, the sentence is past continuous tense.

Example: While walking at the station, I met him.

Rule #26: ‘would that’

For sentences starting with ‘would that’, there comes a ‘could’ after the subject and the verb is in present form. 

Example: Would that I could see a lion.

Rule #27:‘to be’ and ‘having’

After ‘to be’ and ‘having’:

The verb is in past participle

Example: The game is yet to be played

Rule #28:

A verb must agree with its subject, regardless of the verb coming after or before the subject.

Example: At the end of the road is the secretary’s Office.

Rule #29: Multiple subjects

If multiple subjects are joined with ‘and’, then:

The verb takes the plural form.

Example: She and Mahir are friends.

Rule #30: ‘every, ‘each’ and ‘one’

After ‘every’, ‘each’, ‘one’ :

The verb is in the singular form.

Example: one of the managers is ill today

Rule #31: 

Subjects that are singular in meaning but plural in a form such as poetry news, politics, information, economics, scenery, advice, furniture, wages, etc., have singular verbs. 

Example: The news is spreading fast.

Rule #32: Interrogative sentances

If interrogative sentences start with who, which, what, where, etc., then:

There comes an auxiliary verb according to tense and person.

Example: Where do you live?

#Rule 33: Uncountable nouns

In the case of uncountable nouns such as oxygen, water, air, etc., the verb takes a singular form.

Example: Milk is white.

Start exercising!

Verbs are action words and actions have timelines. And we make thousands of actions for a thousand reasons. Grammar in the right form of verbs is easy when you keep on practicing. Now that you know the formulas, rock any English assessments by putting the verbs in the right manner!


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