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Rules for Conjugating Verbs
Verb conjugation refers to how a verb changes. Conjugated verbs are verbs which have been changed to communicate one or more of the following: person, number, gender, tense, aspect, mood, or voice.
In English, we have 6 different persons : first person singular (I), second person singular (you), third person singular (he/she/it/one), first person plural (we), second person plural (you) and third person plural (they). We must conjugate a verb for each person.
Let’s look at the irregular verb ‘to be’ to demonstrate this:
We can also conjugate for the different tenses (past, present, future).
I was, I am, I will be
You were, you are, you will be
He was, he is, he will be
We were, we are, we will be
They were, they are, they will be
Conjugating this verb to present continuous, it would look like this :
I am going
You are going
He/she/it/one is going
We are going
You are going
They are going
ASPECT refers to how an event or action is to be viewed with respect to time, rather than to its actual location in time.
1. Jonathan broke his leg when he was sixteen. the verb broke tells us that Jonathan broke his leg in the past, and specifically when he was sixteen. This is a simple past tense verb.
2. Jonathan has broken his leg. the action took place in the past, but it is implied that it took place quite recently. This sentence implies that it’s still relevant at the time of speaking – Jonathan’s leg is still broken.
3. Jonathan breaks his leg. the action of breaking the leg is still in progress. Jonathan is breaking his leg at the time of speaking.
The mood is the purpose of the sentence in which a verb is used. The stative mood, for example, is used to make a statement. The interrogative mood is for questions. And the conditional mood is for sentences that pose hypothetical scenarios and the outcomes that depend on them.
There are two different voices that affect how a verb is conjugated – the active voice and the passive voice. In active voice, the verb indicates that the subject of the sentence is the one doing the action.
For example: I love my daughter. – Active voice.
In passive voice, the subject is the recipient of the action done by someone or something else.
For example: My daughter is loved by me. – Passive voice.
See how the verb is conjugated for the active voice and the passive voice.