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Understanding verb forms

See also

Various aspects of verbs

It’s a shame to say, but so many Americans don’t catch on to grammar even after
a college education

Let’s take a look at some verb forms. ‘To run’ for example, in German ‘er läuft means,
‘he runs’ or‘is running. Most foreign languages don’t make the distinction between the
two ways that English does.To make a clear distinction between the two in German
you might say ‘er ist am laufen’ for ‘he is running right now’ as opposed to he runs on
a regular basis. So, first of all, ‘to run’, ‘to eat’ etc. are all infinitives.
Other languages don’t preface the verb with the word ‘to’.

In the above example we are using the present tense when we say, ‘he is running’.
If we say ‘he ran’that is the simple past tense. That is an action that is over and done
with. If you say, ‘he was running’that is also past tense, but an incomplete past tense,
that is, you don’t see the end of the action.‘He has run’ is also past tense, but it is
called ‘past perfect’.

Do you remember learning the principle parts of a verb in grade school?
What are they? With the verb‘to run’ is would be, ‘run, ran, and has or had run.
So the principle parts of the verb ‘to eat’ are:‘eat, ate, eaten.

Here is the important part to understand. When you use the past perfect you have
to use a ‘helping’ verb.
For example: ‘have, has, is, or was eaten’. That is why it is incorrect to say, ‘I seen’.
It has to be ‘have seen or had seen or is seen or was seen’.

In English the future tense consists of ‘will’ plus a verb. ‘I will go there
tomorrow. In Germantic languages they follow that format, but in the Romance
languages (French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese,etc) the futuretense is indicated at
the end of the verb form instead of adding the word will. For example Spanish’
‘empezar’ means ‘to begin. So ‘empiezo’ means ‘I’m beginning..’ but ‘empezaré ‘
means ‘I will begin’.‘je mange’ is ‘I’m eating in French, but ‘je mangerai’ means
‘I will eat’.

There is the conditional tense. For example ‘I would eat…if’ In German,’ich würde essen,
but in French‘I’m eating is ‘je mange’ and ‘I would eat’ is ‘je mangerais’.

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