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How to Conjugate Verbs in English


To conjugate a verb in English means to correlate the different forms of the verb with the various points of view of the subject. The points of view are first, second, and third person singular and first, second, and third person plural. All tenses can be conjugated, but most grammar textbooks focus on conjugating regular verbs in the present tense and the three irregular verbs " to be," "to do" and "to have" in the present and past tenses, because these are where most students make errors.

Conjugation of Regular Verbs

To conjugate a verb, make a list of the six points of view, which include three singular points of view and three plural points of view. First person refers to the person or people speaking (I and we). Second person refers to the person or people being spoken to (you). Third person refers to the person or people being spoken about (he, she, it or they).

Present tense conjugation of a regular verb (example: to walk): Singular:
I walk you walk he, she, it walks

Plural: we walk you walk they walk

*The third-person singular verb always ends in "s."

Past tense conjugation of a regular verb (example: to walk): Singular: I walked you walked he, she, it walked

Plural: we walked you walked they walked

*The past tense of regular verbs ends in "ed."

Present perfect tense conjugation of a regular verb (example: to walk): Singular: I have walked you have walked he, she, it has walked

Plural: we have walked you have walked they have walked

  • For regular verbs, the past tense and the past participle of the verb are the same.

Conjugation of Irregular Verbs

Irregular verbs are conjugated the same way as regular verbs in the present tense. For the past tense and the perfect tenses, irregular verbs must be memorized because they do not follow the rules that regular verbs do.

Present tense conjugation of an irregular verb (example: to write): Singular: I write you write he, she, writes

Plural: we write you write they write

*Third person singular verb always ends in "s," whether it's a regular or irregular verb.

Past tense conjugation of an irregular verb (example: to write): Singular: I wrote you wrote he, she wrote

Plural: we wrote you wrote they wrote

*Irregular verbs do not form the past tense by adding "ed" to the verb as regular verbs do.

Present perfect tense of an irregular verb (example: to write): Singular: I have written you have written he, she has written

Plural: we have written you have written they have written

*For irregular verbs, the past tense and the past participle of the verb may be the same or different.

Conjugation of the Irregular Verb "To Be"

The verb "to be" is a unique verb because it has more forms than any other verb in the English language.

Present tense conjugation of the verb "to be": Singular: I am you are he, she, it is

Plural: we are you are they are

*The verb "to be" is the only English verb that has three forms of the present tense.

Past tense conjugation of the verb "to be": Singular: I was you were he, she, it was

Plural: we were you were they were

Present perfect tense conjugation of the verb "to be": Singular: I have been you have been he, she, it has been

Plural: we have been you have been they have been

Conjugation of the Irregular Verb "To Do"

Present tense conjugation of the verb "to do": Singular: I do you do he, she, it does

Plural: we do you do they do

Past tense conjugation of the verb "to do":

Singular: I did you did he, she, it did

Plural: we did you did they did

Present perfect conjugation of the verb "to do": Singular: I have done you have done he, she, it has done

Plural: we have done you have done they have done

Conjugation of the Irregular Verb "To Have"

Present tense conjugation of the verb "to have": Singular: I have you have he, she, it has

Plural: we have you have they have

Past tense conjugation of the verb "to have": Singular: I had you had he, she, it had

Plural: we had you had they had

Present perfect tense conjugation of the verb "to have": Singular: I have had you have had he, she, it has had

Plural: we have had you have had they have had

Items you will need
Grammar handbook
About the Author

Ann Moore has been an English instructor for over 20 years and started writing professionally in 2011. After teaching junior high and high school, she now teaches writing at Florence-Darlington Technical College in Florence, South Carolina. Moore enjoys writing articles about animals, education, culture and society, health and fitness, and home and garden. She received her Bachelor of Arts at Virginia Commonwealth University.

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