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Microlab 12


Microlab 12 - Verb Tense

Writing with correct verb tenses allows you to establish a specific time in your writing. Using verb tenses incorrectly causes readers confusion. This microlab will help you:

  1. Recognize and use correct verb tenses
  2. Establish a specific time using tenses in your writing

Review of Verb Tenses

UNLESS THERE IS A SHIFT IN THE TIME FRAME, MAINTAIN THE SAME VERB TENSE. There are three basic verb tenses: present, past, and future. Each has four forms: simple (an action occurring at the time with no specific end time), perfect (indicating a completed action), progressive (indicating an ongoing action), and perfect progressive (indicating an ongoing action that will be completed at some definite time).

Present Tense

I. Simple Present Tense

Present tense expresses an unchanging, repeated, or habitual action or situation that exists only now. It does not indicate when the action will end. It can also represent general truths. Unchanging Action: The mountains are tall and white. Habitual Action: The waves crash against the shore. General Truth: BYU-H is a place of learning. Present simple tense is also used when discussing or analyzing literature or an author’s ideas or arguments. Example:

C.S. Lewis states, “Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make 
a man a more clever devil.” 

II. Present Perfect Tense

Present perfect tense describes an action that happened at an indefinite time in the past or that began in the past and continues in the present. In other words, you don’t know specific dates, or they are not important. This tense is formed by using has/have with the past participle of the verb. Most past participles end in –ed.

Incorrect: 	The researchers have travelling to many countries to collect data. 
Correct: 	The researchers have travelled to many countries to collect data. 

III. Present Progressive Tense

Present progressive tense describes an ongoing action that is happening at the same time the statement is written. This tense is formed by using am/is/are with the verb forming ending in –ing.

Incorrect: 	The scientists are examine the effects of sleep deprivation on 
college students. 
Correct: 	The scientists are examining the effects of sleep deprivation on 
college students. 

IV. Present Perfect Progressive Tense

Present perfect progressive tense describes an action that began in the past, continues in the present, and may continue into the future. This tense is formed by using has/have been and the verb form ending in –ing.

Incorrect: 	The club president has been consider a change in policy. 
Correct: 	The club president has been considering a change in policy. 

Past Tense

V. Simple Past Tense

Past tense expresses an action or situation that was started and finished in the past. Most past tense verbs end in –ed. The irregular verbs have special past tense forms which must be memorized.

Incorrect: 	In 1066, William of Normandy invades England and claiming the throne. 
Correct: 	In 1066, William of Normandy invaded England and claimed the throne.

VI. Past Perfect Tense

Past perfect tense describes a past action which was happening when another action occurred. This tense is formed by using had with the past participle of the verb.

Incorrect: 	My mother has already finishing her studies when she meets my father. 
Correct: 	My mother had already finished her studies when she met my father. 

VII. Past Progressive Tense

Past perfect progressive tense describes a past, ongoing action that was completed before some other past action. This tense is formed b y using had been and the verb form ending in –ing.

Incorrect: 	The teacher explaining the research assignment while a student passes 
out the assignment sheet. 
Correct: 	The teacher was explaining the research assignment while a student passed 
out the assignment sheet. 

VIII. Past Perfect Progressive Tense

Past Perfect Progressive tense describes a past, ongoing action that was completed before some other past action. This tense is formed by using had been and the verb form ending in –ing.

Incorrect: 	Before the budget cuts, the students have been participate in many 
extracurricular activities. 
Correct: 	Before the budget cuts, the students had been participating in many 
extracurricular activities. 

Future Tense

IX. Simple Future Tense

Future tense expresses an action or situation that will occur in the future. This tense is formed by using will/shall with the simple form of the verb.

Incorrect: 	They are studying at the university in the coming September. 
Correct:	They will study at the university in the coming September. 

X. Future Perfect Tense

Future perfect tense describes an action that will occur in the future before some other action. This tense is by using will have with the past participle of the verb.

Incorrect: 	By the time the students arrive, the teacher had spent several minutes 
waiting. 
Correct: 	By the time the students arrive, the teacher will have spent several 
minutes waiting. 

XI. Future Progressive Tense

Future progressive tense describes an ongoing or continuous action that will take place in the future. This tense is formed by using will be/shall be with the verb form ending in –ing.

Incorrect: 	Dr.  Jones will presenting ongoing research on sexist language next week. 
Correct: 	Dr. Jones will be presenting ongoing research on sexist language next week. 

XII. Future Perfect Progressive Tense

Future perfect progressive tense describes a future, ongoing action that will occur before some specified future time. This tense is formed by using will have been and the verb form ending in –ing.

Incorrect: 	By the year 2020, linguists will be study and define the Indo-European 
language family for more than 200 years.
Correct: 	By the year 2020, linguists will have been studying and defining the 
Indo-European language family for more than 200 years.