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Verbs with Helpers


This handout explains and describes the sequence of verb tenses in English.

Contributors:Chris Berry, Allen Brizee, Elizabeth Angeli, Maryam Ghafoor
Last Edited: 2010-11-09 12:37:21

1. Recent Past (Present Perfect)

A conjugation of Have + [VERB+ed] describes an action that began in the past and continues into the present or that occurred in the recent past.


2. Distant Past (Past Perfect)

Had + [VERB+ed] describes actions that began and ended in the past.


3. Present Continuous Action (Present Progressive)

Is + [VERB+ing] shows action that is in progress now or is going to happen in the future.


4. Past Continuous Action (Past Progressive)

Was + [VERB+ing] shows action that was in progress at a certain time in the past.


5. Other helping verbs (Modals)

[HELPER] + [VERB], such as CAN, WILL, SHALL, MAY, COULD, WOULD, SHOULD, MIGHT, MUST keep the same form. They do not change to agree with the subject.


I |

you |

he | can do that assignment easily.

we |

There are also modal phrases (some of which don't change form), such as:

(Not could "of" or would "of")




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