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English Grammar Verb Tense

by Sally Jennings

"Well I see you are finally here, Nancy." Gina said to her sister as she answered her doorbell. "What have you been doing? I've been sitting her waiting for you. You said you would be here thirty minutes ago. Remember? Ten o'clock, not ten thirty?"

"I know," Nancy answered, "I was too tired. I would remind you that you are the one who demanded that I begin an exercise routine jogging five miles two times a week to lose weight. Then of course, the jogging was too much, so I started walking . Sitting the whole night shift is just too much sometimes.

When I got home to do my daily walking this morning, I had it all scheduled. I set my cell phone alarm and thought, now let's see, by nine thirty, I will have walked for over three hours. That will be plenty of time to cover five miles. But I was hungry, so I had something to eat before I left, and there were too many interruptions. I was already so tired from work. When I walk in the evening, I walk well . I have walked well ever since my foot operation three years ago. But this early morning routine is so difficult."

Gina put leftover food in the refrigerator while Nancy continued, "I did leave for the park to walk on time. I warmed up, and then started to pick up speed. I was walking quite fast when a young woman wearing a track suit ran by with three loud yappy dogs, and nearly shoved me off the path. Then I started to walk slower again, because my balance was a little off. I had been walking for almost a mile when my cell rang, and I had to slow down even more."

"I had walked for twenty more minutes when a huge group of preschool kids ran past me, flinging their frisbees and screaming. At that point I quit, and headed for home. Too much going on and not enough peace and quiet. So I walked for three miles today, it only took three hours, and I'm only thirty minutes late."

"Okay, okay, okay, that's enough, now can we get out of here and on the way?" asked Gina.

"Sure, I have it all planned." Nancy continued. "If we take your car, you can drive and I can nap. Since I get so stiff from sitting, we'll stop at all the rest stops so I can continue to exercise. Then after each stop you can be so proud of me that I am walking to make five miles today. You could even offer a reward of a chocolate, or something sweet and say, you have been walking for over three miles, so here's a candy. Now wouldn't that be something?"

"Yes, right," Gina sighed "all you need is more candy. If you had done enough earlier, well, never mind. You just go right ahead and exercise at every rest stop. In fact, I predict that you will be walking for at least two more miles today, and that you will walk for more than five miles today. Won't that be nice to tell Mom when she asks how much you have been exercising, and asks how much weight you have lost?"

"Delightful," said Nancy as she settled into the front passenger seat of Gina's car. "Wake me up at the first rest stop, and the next, and the next. If I can walk several times for 20 minutes each time, I will have been walking enough today to total five miles by the time we arrive."

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Walk is a regular verb. Verb forms of “to walk” in red in the story above are all in the Active Voice. Note that there are various ways of naming the verb tenses (the future is an aspect, not a tense). The important part is to memorize the form of the verb phrase, and use it correctly.

The verbs in the story are:

Simple Present (walk)
[present formed from verb stem inflected for person and number, walk/walks]

Present Progressive
(also called Present Continuous) (is walking)
[present form of "to be" inflected for person and number, is/are
+ progressive formed from verb stem plus -ing, walking]


Simple Past (walked)
[past form of the verb, here the same form as the past participle, walked]

Past Progressive
(= Past Continuous) (was walking)
[past form of "to be" inflected for person and number, was/were
+ progressive formed from verb stem plus -ing, walking]

Simple Future (will walk)
[modal auxiliary verb, will
+ bare infinitive, walk]

Future Progressive
(= Future Continuous) (will be walking)
[modal auxiliary verb, will
+ bare infinitive of verb "to be", be
+ progressive formed from verb stem plus -ing, walking]

Present Perfect (has walked)
[auxiliary verb "to have" present form, inflected for person and number, has/have
+ past participle, here the same form as the past form, walked]


Present Perfect Progressive
(= Present Perfect Continuous) (has been walking)
[auxiliary verb, inflected for person and number, has/have
+ past participle of the verb "to be," been
+ progressive formed from verb stem plus -ing, walking]

Past Perfect (had walked)
[past form of the verb "to have," had
+ past participle, walked]

Past Perfect Progressive
(= Past Perfect Continuous) (had been walking)
[past form of the verb "to have," had
+ past participle of the verb "to be," been
+ progressive formed from verb stem plus -ing, walking]

Future Perfect (will have walked)
[modal auxiliary verb, will
+ auxiliary bare stem, have
+ past participle, walked]

Future Perfect Progressive (= Future Perfect Continuous) (will have been walking)
[modal auxiliary verb, will
+ auxiliary bare stem, have
+ past participle of the verb "to be," been
+ progressive formed from verb stem plus -ing, walking]

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