Verb Tenses


In writing and speaking, you often have to show when something happens. Is it taking place now? Later? Did it happen earlier in the day, a week ago, a year ago, or when dinosaurs roamed the earth? In English, tense is used to show when something happens.

In this section, you learn how to use verbs to indicate when an action occurred. First, I explain the different tenses and how they are used. The focus here is on regular verbs (the nice cooperative ones) and irregular verbs (the ones that need bran cereal). There's even a special section on lie/lay, the verb duo that reduces even linebackers and mothers-in-law to quivering masses of jelly.

book cover

Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Grammar and Style © 2003 by Laurie E. Rozakis, Ph.D.. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book direct from the publisher, visit the Penguin USA website or call 1-800-253-6476. You can also purchase this book at and Barnes & Noble.


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