Verbs : The Imperative Mood

Imperative verbs, to more correctly verbs used in the imperative mood,  are used to convey a command.  In everyday language this means that the imperative is used to give instructions.

An imperative sentence sounds like the speaker is being bossy and telling someone what to do. Even if an instruction is given politely, it is clearly a command and not up for discussion.

Look at these examples:

  • Give me those scissors!
  • Go to your bedroom!
  • Finish your tea and get to bed!
  • Leave the dog alone!
  • Stop it!
  • Come back here, now!
  • Pull!

Use the infinitive of the verb form of the verb to create the imperative.

This form of the verb is very useful when it comes to the writing of instructions. Most recipes are written using the imperative mood.

Verbs : Irregular Verbs

A verb is a word that conveys an action or a state of being. Verbs have tenses to tell us when the action takes place.

The three main verb tenses are the past tense, the present tense and the future tense.

Most verbs follow a regular pattern in the formation of their past tenses – to form the past tense we add a variety of suffixes -d. -ed, -ied

Most commonly verbs form the past tense by adding -ed

work – worked
jump – jumped
answer – answered

Verbs that end in a short vowel followed by a consonant usually double the consonant and add -ed

pat – patted
step – stepped
pop – popped

If a verb ends in e we just add a -d

chase – chased
praise – praised
share – shared

Verbs that end in a y drop the y and add -ied

hurry – hurried
marry – married
carry – carried

Irregular verbs do not follow this pattern. Some form the past tense by changing a vowel.  Sometimes the past participle is the same as the past tense (as it is in regular verbs) but sometimes it differs.

Follow the links below for lists of irregular verbs together with the way they form their past tenses and past participles.

The 50 most common irregular verbs in English
More irregular verbs in English

Verbs : Tenses

The verb in a sentence indicates what action is taking place.To inform the audience about when that action took place, is taking place or will take place, verbs have tenses. There are three main tenses: past, present and future. Each of these tenses can be sub-divided into three forms: simple, continuous and perfect.

The present tense:
The simple present tense – actions which happen regularly.
The present continuous tense – actions which are taking place now.
The present perfect tense – actions are at this moment just completed.

(Every day) I climb up the wall.
I am (currently) climbing up the wall.
I have (just) climbed up the wall.

The past tense.
The simple past tense – action which took place at a specific time and is completed.
The past continuous tense – actions that took place over a period of time.
The past perfect tense- actions that were completed by a specific time in the past.
Continue reading “Verbs : Tenses”

Verbs : 1st, 2nd and 3rd person…

We say that a verb has ‘persons’. The ‘person’ of the verb depends upon whom or what is its subject and whether the subject is singular or plural.

The issue of ‘person’ is also important when it comes to writing as it enables us to write from a particular point of view. There are three ‘persons’ and each ‘person’ has a singular and a plural option depending upon the subject of the verb…

1st person – this always includes the speaker/writer as the subject of the verb. If the speaker/writer is alone then this would be first person singular and the pronoun used would be ‘I’. If the speaker is included in a group then this would be first person plural and the pronoun would be ‘we’.

2nd Person – the speaker/writer is speaking to an individual or a group. In both cases the pronoun he would use is ‘you’. Continue reading “Verbs : 1st, 2nd and 3rd person…”

Verbs : Subject and Object

All verbs have a subject. The subject of a verb is generally the person or thing that is performing the action prescribed by the verb in question. Often, the subject is what the sentence is about and usually (but not always) comes at the beginning of the sentence.

The dog chased the cat.
She sang a song.

If a verb is used in the imperative in the form of a command, then the subject is usually implied:

Get down from that tree!
(You, get down from that tree!)


A verb may have an object as well as a subject. The object is the person or thing which is affected by the action of the verb. The object of a verb can be a noun, a pronoun or a phrase.

Continue reading “Verbs : Subject and Object”

Verbs : The Subjunctive Mood

If you are a student of Spanish, the subjunctive mood is something you will have to contend with on a grand scale. In English, however, most people will go through life blissfully aware of its existence. Even people who use the subjunctive without most likely do so without realising it…

A verb is in the subjunctive mood when it expresses a condition which is doubtful or not factual. It is most often found in a clause beginning with the word if.

It is also found in clauses following a verb that expresses a doubt, a wish, regret, request, demand, or proposal.These are verbs typically followed by clauses that take the subjunctive:

ask, demand, determine, insist, move, order, pray, prefer, recommend, regret, request, require, suggest, and wish.

In English there is no difference between the subjunctive and normal, or indicative, form of the verb except for the present tense third person singular and for the verb to be.

The subjunctive for the present tense third person singular drops the -s or -es so that it looks and sounds like the present tense for everything else.

The subjunctive mood of the verb to be is be in the present tense and were in the past tense, regardless of what the subject is.

Here are a few examples: Continue reading “Verbs : The Subjunctive Mood”