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Advice Practice
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Sentences
  What is a sentence?
    Simple and longer sentences
    Common mistakes

Verbs
  Main verbs
    Common mistakes

  Agreement
    Common mistakes

  Present; past; future tenses
    Consistent tenses

  Personal or impersonal
    Active
    Passive
    Third person

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Starter Level Advice

Verbs - Present; past; future tenses

The 'tense' of a verb shows the time of the action (or feeling or state of being).

This table, based on Raimes (1998, p72), shows the forms of any verb and their uses. Don't let the table format put you off! It makes it clear, and this is as complicated as it gets.

Present Past
no - s -s -ing Past Past participle
paint
sing
take
paints
sings
takes
painting
singing
taking
painted
sang
took
painted
sung
taken
Simple present

Example
I paint

Add to to make an infinitive.

Example
to paint

Add a form of be or have to make the future.

Example
I will paint

Simple present

Example
He paints

Add a form of be or have to make other tenses

Example
Present
I am painting

Future
I will be painting


Past
I was painting

Simple past

Example
I painted

Add a form of be or have to make a form of the past.

Example
I have painted

© Learning & Teaching Institute, Sheffield Hallam University 2004