Grammar |
The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation

Category: Verbs

Began vs. Begun

Posted on Wednesday, May 11, 2022, at 6:00 am

English verbs are simple to work with when they are regular—i.e., they follow an obvious pattern for conjugating their past tense and past participle. Verb Infinitive Present Tense Past Tense Past Participle to breathe breathe, breathes breathed breathed to dine dine, dines dined dined to jump jump, jumps jumped jumped The pattern is basic and …

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American vs. British English: Verbs

Posted on Wednesday, April 6, 2022, at 6:00 am

Along the way we've enjoyed exploring some of the colorful qualities of American English and its immediate relatives in the U.K. and Commonwealth countries, such as in our discussions of spelling, vocabulary, grammar, and punctuation. In this review, we'll consider some different ways American and British English use verbs. American vs. British English Verbs: Spelling …

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If I Was vs. If I Were: Which One Is Right?

Posted on Monday, March 14, 2022, at 6:00 am

Many of us use the phrases if I was and if I were interchangeably. Some of us might apply one or the other according to what our ears are accustomed to but perhaps not fully recognize the grammatical reasoning behind that use. This brief review will explore the difference between if I was and if …

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Dangling Infinitives

Posted on Wednesday, March 9, 2022, at 6:00 am

Clear communication in writing depends on more than precise punctuation and word choice. It also relies on proper placement of modifiers. If related elements are not in proximity or the sentence does not otherwise make internal references clear, we will have a statement such as the following: To avoid an accident while driving at night, …

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What Is the Simple Past Tense?

Posted on Wednesday, March 2, 2022, at 6:00 am

English (and language in general) uses tense to indicate the timing of a verb's action in the present, the past, or the future. The simple past tense in English communicates that an action occurred at an earlier time. The action has been completed, and it is not continuing in the present or into the future. …

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What Are Auxiliary Verbs? (Including Examples and Usage)

Posted on Monday, February 14, 2022, at 6:00 am

We use auxiliary verbs—also known as helping or modal verbs—all of the time in American English. Even if you aren't familiar with the definition of an auxiliary verb, there's a great likelihood you've used many today before reading this. In this discussion we'll review what an auxiliary verb is. We'll also provide you with examples …

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Have Patience or Be Patient: Which One Should You Use?

Posted on Monday, January 31, 2022, at 6:00 am

Patience is a virtue, but it can also be a grammatical snag. That's because even though we know the importance of waiting for the best things in life, we might at times be unsure of how to express that practice. Specifically, a writer might wonder when or whether to use the phrases have patience or …

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Past Perfect Tense

Posted on Wednesday, January 26, 2022, at 6:00 am

The English language uses tense to communicate the timing of an action. If we want to write that an action took place in the past, we use the simple past tense: He washed the dishes. She went to the skating rink.  If we wish to identify an action that occurred prior to another completed action, …

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Have Been vs. Has Been vs. Had Been: How to Use Each One Correctly

Posted on Wednesday, December 22, 2021, at 6:00 am

The verb phrases have been, has been, and had been all have closely related meanings. That similarity may at times lead to confusion about the right time to use each construction. In today's review we will discuss the differences among the phrases so you can use each one correctly when you are speaking or writing. …

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Future Tense Verbs: What Is the Future Tense?

Posted on Friday, December 17, 2021, at 6:00 am

Most fluent writers and speakers of American English have little trouble distinguishing past tense from present tense verbs. For example: I practice my grammar daily implies something’s happening right now. I practiced my grammar every day indicates the action has already taken place. But what if you want to write about something that’s going to …

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