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English Grammar: Identifying Verb Forms

Identify past, present or future by looking at the first word in a phrase. For instance present perfect starts with have or has while past perfect starts with had. Progressive forms (which indicate ongoing or continuous time) will have the -ing ending on the last word.

Review the chart below with your teacher to discuss how these verb forms show subtle differences in time.

simple present
simple past
simple future
will work / to be going to work
progressive (present, past, future)
is working/was working/will be working
present perfect
have/has worked
present perfect progressive
have/has been working
past perfect
had worked
past perfect progressive
had been working
future perfect
will have worked
future perfect progressive
will have been working
future progressive
will be working

Read each sentence. Identify the verb form. Then write one or two words to show the time of the action. For instance, you might write "at some point in the future" or "distant past."

1. The senate committee has passed the health care bill.
Verb Form ______________________ Time ____________________________

2. That team is going to work on the project.
Verb Form _______________________ Time ___________________________

3. My sister has been taking classes for three years.
Verb Form _______________________ Time ___________________________

4. They were renovating their landscaping last weekend.
Verb Form _______________________ Time ___________________________

5. By this summer, she will have worked in marketing for 20 years.
Verb Form _______________________ Time ___________________________

6. He is starting his own company.
Verb Form _______________________ Time ___________________________

7. She had been training for the competition for three years.
Verb Form _______________________ Time ___________________________

8. He had watched that movie five times already.
Verb Form _______________________ Time ___________________________

9. Unfortunately, he will not be running for president.
Verb Form _______________________ Time ___________________________

10. They finished preparing for the test.
Verb Form _______________________ Time ___________________________

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Answers: 1. present perfect, 2. simple future, 3. present perfect progressive, 4. past progressive, 5. future perfect, 6. present progressive, 7. past perfect progressive, 8. past perfect, 9. future progressive, 10. simple past (note: preparing is a verbal--it acts as an object rather than a verb in this sentence)

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