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Linking Verbs or Copulas

A linking verb links the subject of the sentence to more information about that subject (the predicate). A linking verb is also known as a copula (plural copulas or copulae.)

In English most verbs‏‎ describe an action. For example:
Sofia directs her new film
The verb here tells us what the subject does. However, a linking verb doesn’t describe an action, it describes the subject and gives us more information about…

How Many Tenses Are There in English?

How many Tenses are there in English? It sounds like a simple question, but, unfortunately, it isn’t.

This is because different people – including both students and TEFL teachers – have different definitions of what a tense actually is and there is no single, accepted one.

However, in English there are 3 general definitions of what a tense is all about:
Tenses & Time
Some people…

Transitive & Intransitive Verbs in English

Here are two sentences, the first with a Transitive Verb, the second with an Intransitive Verb:
She held her breath.
She laughed.
This illustrates at a glance the basic difference between the two types of verbs‏‎.
Transitive Verbs
Quite simply transitive verbs must take an object‏‎. We can say:
She held the puppy.
She held his hand.
She held the door open.
But we cannot say:
* She…

Past Tense in English Grammar

The Past Tense is used – as you can probably guess – to talk about the past.

There are several different verb forms we can use to talk about the past. This article briefly explains them and links to fuller articles on each.
Past Simple
The Past Simple is used most often to tell a simple story or relate and incident. In regular verbs it’s made by…

Lexical Verbs in English Grammar

Lexical Verbs are basically the main verb‏‎ in a sentence. They carry some kind of real-world meaning and are sometimes actually known as the main verb:
You laughed.
I ran.
They are basically an open-class of verbs; in other words, we can add new verbs to this class‏‎. In recent years new additions to this class include:
She twerked in public.
I googled my answer.
So lexical verbs carry a…

The Present Tense in English Grammar

The Present Tense is one of the three main verb tenses‏‎ used in grammar‏‎. It is used to talk about the current situation, i.e. now.

Here we introduce to the four main forms of the present tense and look at when we use them. The links at the bottom of the page go to more detailed looks at the individual forms.
When do we Use the Present Tense?…

Regular and Irregular in English Grammar

Words in English are either Regular and Irregular.

Regular means that when they change their form (for example, when they become plural) they follow the usual pattern. Irregular means, as you might expect, that they do not follow the usual pattern of most words.

Fortunately most words in English are regular, but a significant number of everyday words are not. In the TEFL classroom students just need to…

Subject-Verb Agreement‏‎ in English Grammar

Subject-Verb Agreement means that a singular subject takes a singular verb‏‎ and a plural subject takes a plural verb.

For example:
My brother is in town.
My brothers are in town.
In the first example the subject is singular: my brother. This makes the verb singular: is.

In the second example the subject is plural: my brothers. This makes the verb plural: are.
The first step is to identify…

Verbs of Perception in English Grammar

Verbs of Perception refer to those verbs‏‎ which are used to talk about sensing:

hear/listen to
sense in general

These verbs can be used in different ways and have certain grammatical conditions attached to them.
Continuous (Progressive) Forms

Used in continuous forms (aka progressive forms), these verbs indicate the subject is focusing on a particular…

Conjugation‏‎ in English

Conjugation refers to the different form of a verb‏‎ depending on how it is used and who uses it.

Unlike many other languages, English conjugation is fairly straightforward and presents few problems.
Regular Verbs
This is the conjugation of a regular English verb, walk.


present: I, you, we, they

present: he she it


Third Conditionals in English Grammar

The past is past and (sometimes unfortunately) it cannot be changed. All we can do is imagine how it might be different now if things had gone differently.

To do this, to describe unreal situations in the past, we use the Third Conditional.
If I had known the party was for your birthday, I would have got you a present.
But nobody told me this was a…

Perfect Tenses in English Grammar

We use Perfect Tenses to talk about a finished action, often in relation to another action.

This action can occur at any time in the past, present or future.
3 Perfect Tenses
There are three perfect tenses in English:
Past Perfect
This is used to talk about a completed action in the past. It’s usually used alongside another past tense:
After we had finished the meeting we…

Continuous Verbs in English Grammar

We use the Continuous Verb Forms to talk about things which are happening over a period of time. With continuous forms we highlight the duration of an event.
Note that sometimes we use the word Progressive instead of Continuous.
Continuous forms usually talk about things which are happening for a while only – they will stop sometime.
I am living in London right now but I don’t know where I…

Irregular Verbs in English

Irregular Verbs are those verbs‏‎ which do not follow the normal rules of conjugation‏‎ in English‏‎.

In English, most verbs follow this pattern and are regular:

past form
past participle‏‎


As you can see, they add an -ed to the end of the infinitive. Note that a verb like marry is also classed as regular even though…

Auxiliary Verbs in English Grammar

Auxiliary Verbs (from the Latin auxilio = to help; they are also known as helping verbs) are verbs‏‎ used to change the tense, form‏‎ mood and voice of other verbs.

In other words, we add an auxiliary to a verb to turn it into a question, to put it into the past, to make it negative and so on.
The 3 English Auxiliaries Verbs
There are three auxiliary verbs: be…

Verb Patterns‏‎ in English Grammar

Often in English‏‎ we need to join two verbs‏‎ together in the same sentence.

When we do this, we can use different verb patterns depending on which verb comes first and here you’ll find some of the more common verb patterns.

In a TEFL class you probably wouldn’t spend a lesson teaching these patterns as such but you will come across them in class in which case it’s often…

Verb Forms in English Grammar

This article introduces at the 3 main verb forms a verb can take: the infinitive, the present participle and the past form.
The Infinitive
The Infinitive is the base form of a verb. These are infinitives:
love, eat, walk, be
In English, the infinitive is nearly always the same as the present tense. The only exception is the verb be:
I love, I eat, I walk, I am…

Present Continuous in English Grammar

We use the Present Continuous (also called Present Progressive) in three ways in English‏‎:

1. to talk about a situation that is happening right now as we speak.
What are you doing?
I am reading 50 Shades of Gray!
Why is he in bed?
He is not feeling well today.
Can you be quiet, please. I am trying to watch television.
2. to talk about things happening around now…

Verbs in English Grammar

When we want to talk about what the subject of a sentence‏‎ does, we use a verb.

Verbs tell us about an action; they are sometimes called doing words or action words. Verbs describe what is happening.

Here then are some simple verbs:
drink, eat, rest, dunk
As with many languages, verbs in English are an incredibly important part of speech‏‎ and your TEFL students need to become familiar…

Modal Verbs in English

Modal verbs are used to express ideas such as ability, necessity, permission, and possibility.

There are not many modal verbs: can, could, dare*, need*, may, might, must, shall, should, will, would. There are also modal constructions: be able to, ought to, be allowed to.

Modals always come first in a verb‎ formation, before other auxiliaries and the main verb:
{modal} + [auxiliary] + {main verb}

Verb Tenses‏‎ & Forms in English Grammar

Note: descriptions of verb forms and tenses vary. Here we present a simple overview of the tenses and forms of English which is useful for the classroom.

In grammar a tense (from the Latin tempus) is a form of a verb‎ used to indicate roughly the time when the action described by the verb takes place.

In English there are 3 basic tenses: Past, Present and Future. (However, often…