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Rules for Conjugating Verbs

Conjugating verbsVerb 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.

Different person

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:

    I am

    You are

    He/she/it/one is

    We are

    You are

    They are

 Different tense

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

Different Aspect

ASPECT refers to how an event or action is to be viewed with respect to time, rather than to its actual location in time.

For example:
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.

Different Mood

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.

Different Voice

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.