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7th Grade Language Arts / Lesson 3: Verbs ( DAY 5 )

Verb Tense

There are actually nine verb tenses, but in speaking and writing we generally use only three - simple present, simple past, and future - and these are the ones that will be discussed in this lesson. 

 See the table below for all nine verb tenses.  You may explore the this link leading to information on them if you wish.

 simple present  present progressive  present perfect  present perfect progressive
 simple past  past progressive  past perfect  past perfect progressive
 simple future  future progressive  future perfect  future perfect progressive

Simple Present Tense

Simple present tense expresses an unchanging, repeated, or reoccuring action or situation that exists only now - in the present.  It can also represent a widespread truth.




 The mountains are tall and white  Unchanging action - the mountains are always tall and white.
 Every year, the school council elects new members  Recurring action - the elections recurs every year.
 Pb is the chemical symbol for lead  Widespread truth

Simple Past Tense

Past tense expresses an action or situation that was started and finished in the past.  Most past tense verbs end in -ed, but irregular verbs are formed differently and often need to be memorized.




World War II ended in 1945.

 Expresses action that finished in the past.  Form past tense by adding  -ed

Ernest Hemingway wrote "The Old Man and the Sea."   Expresses action that finished in the past.  Irregular form of write.

Simple Future Tense

Future tense expresses an action or situation that will occur in the future.  It can be formed in several different ways.

  • use will/shall with the simple present  of the verb.
  • use am, is or are with going to
  • use present tense form with an adverb or adverbial phrase to show future time




The Speaker of the House will finish her term in May  present tense + will/shal
The surgeon is going to perform the first bypass in Minnesota  present tense + am, is,are with going to
The president speaks tomorrow   present tense + adverb (tomorrow is a future time adverb.

Verb Agreement in Tense

Rule: You must use the verb form which indicates the correct time (tense).

Example - Regular verb (forms tenses according to rules on slides 2, 3, and 4

 I apolize for my rudeness  happening in the present
 I apologized for my rudeness  happened in the past
 I will apologize for my rudeness  happening in the future

Example - Irregular verb

 I choose to go to mall today  happening in the present
 I chose to go to the mall yesterday  happening in the past
 I have chosen to go to the mall tomorrow  happening in the future

Subject Verb Agreement in Number

Number refers to whether a verb is a singlar or plural form.   The subject of a sentence will determine if you use a singular or plural verb.

If the subject is singular, you use a singular verb which is generally formed aby adding -s to the verb stem

Example:  Jane sits on the couch to watch TV.

If the subject is plural, you use a plural verb which is just the verb stem itself

Example: They sit on the couch to watch TV.

This seems simple enough, doesn't it?  But sometimes it gets tricky!  See the next slide.

Subject Verb Agreement in Number

Subject/verb agreement is easy when there is only one subject.  It gets tricker when there is more than one!

 Rule 1: As a general rule two or more subjects connected by and use a plural verb

                    A car and a bike are my means of transportation.

            However when two the subjects are the names of people, they use a singular verb.

                    Tom and Jan sit on the couch to watch TV.


Rule 2:  If two singular subjects are connected by the following, they use a singular verb

      • or
      • nor
      • either/or
      • neither/nor

                   My aunt or my uncle is arriving by train today. 

                   Either Kiana or Casey is helping with stage decorations.

                   Neither Juan nor Carmen is available


 Rule 3: When a singular subject and a plural subject are joined by the following, put the plural subject last and use a plural verb.

      • and
      • or
      • either or
      • neither nor

                 The serving bowl and the plates go on that table.

                 The seving bowl or the plates go on that table.

                 Neither the serving bowl nor the plates go on that table.

                 Either the serving bowl or the plates go on that table.


For more on subject verb agreement in number follow this link