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So far, Verb Tenses (Past, Present, Future) & Aspects (Progressive / Continuous, Habitual, Perfect / [Non-]Completed ) seem to (have been) occupy(ing) or (have) manage(d) to take up most of the time or energy English-language teachers / students (are going to) feel they may / could / must devote to these frustrating topics. Even so, Tense Forms still don’t tell the whole story of the role of Verbs in language instruction or learning.
As expected, there’s plenty of Verb Vocabulary to know—with Grammatical Features that control usage beyond lexical meanings of the words. At the forefront, there are Four Principal Parts of almost any Verb: its Base Form (Verb), its Present Participle (Verbing), its Simple Past (Verbed, or an Irregular Form), and its Past Participle (Verbed, or an Irregular Form).
The second of these—Verb + -ing (with its spelling rules)—is well taught and practiced in segments involving Continuous Aspects of Present, Past, Modal-Verb, & Future Tenses, like those in "Apply Grammar", Parts & Pieces: D-04.xx, D-07.xx, D-09.xx, and any other Chapters / Units based on “Sentence Predicates.”
The most common of the Principal Verb Parts, Base Form & Simple Past, are covered profusely in D-08.07, D-08.08, D-08.10 = Basic & Beginning Verb-Parts Activity & Idea Books & Card Games. Incorporate Past Participles into their concepts and materials. To locate these Downloads, go straight to worklifeenglish.com, click on Puzzle Piece "D Apply Grammar", and then take a look at the collection of Parts & Pieces and whole Grammar Texts that are offered.
This article is the seventh installment of “How to Put Together the Parts & Pieces That Make Language Work: Apply Grammar Competencies D-00 through D-15.”
The emphasis and focus are on D-10.01, 10.02, 10.03, 10.04, 10.05, 10.06, 10.07, 10.08, D-11.01, 11.02, 11.03, 11.04, 11.05, 11.06, 11.07, 11.08, 11.09, 11.10, 11.11, 11.12, 11.13, and 11.14 = "Summarize & Compare Verb Tenses & Aspects; Do More with Verb Vocabulary & Verbals (Infinitives, Gerunds, Complements, Participles)"
Its individually downloadable segments encompass verb tense & aspect forms & patterns needed to talk / write in the three time frames (the Present, the Past, the Future) without the “Perfect Aspect of Verbs.” Then come other grammatical topics related to Verbs, such as Phrasal Verbs and Verbals (Participles, Gerunds, Infinitives, Verb Complements)”
Following is some commentary on a few of these pieces of material. Within this verbiage are sample segments to download and use for (self-)instruction, including a number of (complete) Parts & Pieces.
D-10.01 to D-10.08 = Sum Up Verb Tenses & Aspects Forms & Patterns (Except the Perfect & the Passive)
In Beginning through Intermediate Verb-Grammar instruction, Indicative-Mood, Active-Voice, Simple Present & Past & Future (including Modal) forms and structures—with their Continuous Aspects—predominate. Adequate coverage of the Perfect Aspect, the Passive Voice, and/or the Subjunctive Mood of Verbs is often postponed until “Advanced Levels.”
Even so, the lengthy Verb Phrases that result from combining basic elements may confuse or frustrate new users of English. What’s needed is brief, simplified, linear (black & white) material, like that of the 5-page D-10.02: Summary & Review of Verb Tenses (“Scenes”) Unit 20 from the Original Scenario Volume One: English Grammar in Context.
Very clear, conventional Grammar-Explanation Boxes 1, 2, 3 re-explain and illustrate “Verb Tenses: Statements,” “Verb Tenses: Time Expressions,” and “Verb Tenses: Questions.” And its very directive “Putting It Together” instructions / cues for Exercises 1a, 2a, 3a, and 4 motivate text users to show that they grasp and can use the features of the recapped grammar in their own receptive or active speech / writing.
But you don’t really expect us to leave it at that, do you? Edited, expanded, and colorized, the 12-page D-10.03: Unit 20: Summary & Review of Verb Tenses (“People’s Lives”) of the New Scenario One: Beginning to Use English Grammar in Context is an update of the old, rudimentary D-10.02. The core of the materials is the same, but there’s much more to peruse, work on, do, and surpass the text with.
Once again, the two versions prove that there are many ways to approach, teach or learn from, and get the main ideas or points of comparable grammar material. So for bountiful examples of how to sum up and ensure mastery of “the Past, Present, & Future (Continuous) Tenses,” go (back) to available Downloads marked D-04.11 to D-04.13; D-06.08 to D-06.09; D-07.07 to D-07.09; D-08.06; D-09.06 to D-09.09, and the like. And look at the complete Grammar Texts these are derived from. As usual, they’re ready and waiting behind Puzzle Piece D: Apply Grammar on our website—as well as on bookshelves and websites everywhere.
D-11.01 & D-11.05 = Review Tenses & Aspects with Impersonal Verb Constructions & Tag Questions
A way to review features of Present & Past & Future (Continuous) Tenses & Aspects that provides a motivating break is to consider variations in sentence patterns such as “Delayed Subjects after Impersonal It.” Again in traditional (linear, black & white) format, here are 11 pages of grammar coverage from D-11.01: Unit 13: The Filler IT (“The World”) of the Original Scenario, Volume Two: English Grammar in Context. In statements, questions, and (short) answers, mostly about weather, time, and distance, here’s a basic sample.
A more complete, updated, colorized version (D-11.02: Chapter 4: The Filler IT vs. THERE: “The World,” of the New Scenario Two, 14 pages) is available at Puzzle Piece D: Apply Grammar on our website.
And of course, the verb-phrasing patterns of “Affirmative & Negative Tag Questions” can be added to nearly all Statement Structures, whether conventional (Subject + Verb) or unusual. Examples appear in D-11.05, an eight-page collection of excerpts labeled D-11.05: Part Two of Chapter 2, “Housing,” pages 28-31 from WorkLife English Grammar 3: An Immigration Story + Part Three of Chapter 5, “Solving Problems,” pages 86-88 of WLE-G 4: Cross-Cultural Communication + Lesson 8, “Family” page 23 of WLE-G 6: Issues & Answers. Based on the same grammar structures and rules, these excerpts sum up Verb Tenses & Aspects in three comparable ways.
Here to click on—if you wish—are images (first pages) of the four or more downloads mentioned above.
Vocabulary Building with “action words” is sure to include Phrasal Verbs, two- or three-word expressions made up of Main Verbs before Adverbs and/or Prepositions. Most often, the lexical meaning of one of these phrases differs somewhat from that of its Verb alone. Each of these vocabulary items can be categorized as Transitive (with an Object) or Intransitive (without an Indirect and/or a Direct Object)—and then as Inseparable, in which the Particle follows the Verb directly or “Separable,” in which an Object may separate the two elements—and must be inserted before the Adverb Particle if it is a Pronoun. Alphabetized (and Classified) Lists of Phrasal Verbs with Definitions and Examples are plentiful online and in print. There are even specialized dictionaries on this kind of Verb Vocabulary.
In grammar texts and series, Phrasal Verbs are often presented and practiced in relatively short segments. Here are five of these, collected in D-11.04: Part Four of Chapter 2, "Food & Things," D-11.04: Part Four of Chapter 2, “Food & Things,” page 64 of WorkLife English Grammar 2: English in Everyday Life + Part Three of Chapter 7, “Recreation & Entertainment,” pages 121-126 of WLE-G3: An Immigration Story + Part Four of Chapter 4, “Eating & Drinking,” pages 71-72 of WLE-G 4: Cross-Cultural Communication + Part Three of Chapter 4, “Earning a Living,” pages 79-83 of WLE-G5: Language & Culture in Depth + Lessons 79-80 of Chapter 8, “The Environment,” pages 133-136 of WLE-G 6: Issues & Answers. Some of their sectional grammar titles are Two-Word Verbs; Inseparable vs. Separable; Phrasal Verbs; Intransitive vs. Inseparable vs. Separable Phrasal Verbs.
D-11.06 to D-11.14 = Do More with Verbals (Infinitives, Causatives, Gerunds, Complements, Participles, & More)
Of the kinds of “Verbals” taught in beginning and beyond grammar instruction, Infinitives are the most elemental. Consisting of the word to before a Base Verb, an Infinitive (to Verb) can be a Noun, an Adjective, or an Adverb. As a Sentence Subject or Subject Complement after a Linking Verb (as in “To be or not to be” is [something] to think about),” it’s infrequent.
More commonly, to Verb appears as a “Delayed Subject” after Impersonal IT + Linking Verb + Adjective / Noun (Phrase). For instance, “It’s important to follow rules.” means “To follow rules is important.” In everyday speech, the saying “To err is human; to forgive, divine” might be restated “It’s human to make mistakes (to err). It’s godlike (divine) to forgive them.”
Two very common uses of Infinitives are to express the Simple Future: be going to Verb or the Habitual Past: use(d) to Verb—both within Verb Phrasing . Some examples are “We used to follow rules, but we’re not going to do so now.” In contrast, infinitives don’t follow Modal Verbs, as in “You mustn’t forget.”
Also commonplace are the uses of Infinitives after certain Verbs with or without Objects (agree, begin, choose, decide; tell, want, promise, etc.), Adjectives (able, careful, glad, likely, and others), Nouns (ability, choice, chance, time, and so on), and Pronouns. And there are “Infinitive Phrases of Purpose” too, as in “To download a segment, click below.”
All of these patterns for and uses of Infinitives all appear in D-11.06: Unit 19: Infinitive Phrases (“Time for a Holiday”) of the New Scenario One: Beginning to Use English Grammar in Context. Its Presentations, Explanations, Sidebars, Exercises, and colorful Activities sections will give you what you need to understand, to teach /learn from, to practice, to express yourself with, and to assess your abilities—all in the colorful contexts of holidays & special occasions in the U.S. and around the world.
And for the same kinds of materials—with alternative content arranged differently, you’re always welcome to gather various other Parts & Pieces from behind Puzzle Piece D: Apply Grammar our website. Some of those specifically aimed at Infinitives are D.11.07 to D.11.10, culled from levels of original Scenarios and WorkLife English Grammars.
So what’s in Parts & Pieces numbered D-11.11 through D-11.14? Excerpted from Grammar Texts mentioned above and below, these Chapters & Units are centered around Gerunds (words formed with Verbs that function as Nouns). Like Present Participles, Gerunds are formed by adding -ing to base verbs. But unlike Verb-ing forms that modify nouns (as in running water, an existing business, building blocks, a man wearing a hat, etc.) or complete Continuous Verb Phrases (am/is/are/was/were Verb-ing), Gerunds function as Sentence Subjects (e.g., Running is good exercise.), Subject Complements—as in “Our main goal is eliminating hunger.”; Direct Objects (e.g., You need to quit smoking.); Indirect Objects as in “make studying a priority”; or Objects of Prepositions—as in “Do you object to (me/my) smoking? They’re also common in expressions like to go fishing (bowling, swimming, shopping, etc.) or to take (someone) dancing (camping, sailing, etc.).
Want a download that outlines most uses of Gerunds before comparing them with Infinitives or referencing Verb Complements? Try making good use of the first ten pages (out of 18) of D-11.11: Parts One & Two of Chapter 8, “Having Fun,” pages 146-155 from WorkLife English Grammar 5: Language & Culture in Depth. In the anecdote “The Rules of Football,” you can risk finding out if you’re good at correcting errors in uses of Verbals. What’s your purpose in studying Grammar Pedagogy and doing Exercises A-*D? It’s confirming that you’re comfortable applying the rules of Gerunds vs. Present Participles. Following the same directives with a story about “Party Customs” and absorbing the vocabulary of Gerunds After Verbs / Adjectives + Prepositions will have the effect of furthering your abilities. And to check (infinitive) that you’ve “got it,” (verb), can you see yourself identifying the underlined verbals in this paragraph?
Finally, here’s D-11.13: Lessons 51-60 of Chapter 6, “Consumerism,” pages 95-109 from WorkLife English Grammar 6: Issues & Answers. The titles of its ten separate segments are  “Gerunds.”  “Gerunds vs. Infinitive Subjects.”  “Gerunds after Verbs.”  “Gerunds vs. Infinitives after Verbs.”  Adjective-Preposition Combinations with Gerunds.”  “Gerunds after to vs. Infinitives.”  Verb-Preposition Combinations with Gerunds.”  Verbs of Perception: Special –ing Forms.  Common Expressions with -ing Forms.”  “Simple Verbs vs. Infinitives after Objects.”
Going over the Boxed Explanations of this Download will reinforce your understanding of how to use sentence patterns like (Verb) (Object) (to) Verb vs. (Verb) (Object) Verbing. The material may not empower you to definitively label types of Participles or Verb Complements. Even so, its presentations, practices, and activities do include (nearly?) all patterns of Verbals likely to come up in fluent comprehension, speech, and writing of American English.
Here are visuals (usually first pages) to click on to get the four segments on Verb Vocabulary and/or Verbals described above. And of course, for even more attempts to clarify the Grammar of Verbals you can look at other Downloads (like D-11.12 or D-11.14) behind Puzzle Piece D: Apply Gramar at worklifeenglish.com:
And as usual, here are direct links to some complete Competency–Based Grammar Texts and both original and revised “Grammar-in-Context” Series referenced in this article:
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