How to Use Verbs in Sentences Correctly

Use of verbs


If you are learning English and want to make giant leap to understand the basics of English it is very important to understand how to use verbs in a sentence. In a sentence there should be a presence of verb and it is indispensable. There are different kinds of verbs and in this post I would like to cover some of them. There are many English learners who make mistakes in the use of very simple verbs while writing as well as during the time they converse with others. So it is high time you realize the importance of verbs and get down to the business of setting yourself right as far as verbs are to be used.


At a glance-                                                                                                   

  • How to use am, is, are, was , were
  • How to use has, have, had
  • How to use do , does, did
  • When to add to the verb,( es or s)
  • Some common verbs with their past form
  • How to use may and can
  • How to use Should, could and would
  • How to use the 3rd form of verb


How to use am, is, are, was, and were-

These verbs are the very basics and should be understood once and for all. You have to use is in case of simple present tense when the subject of the sentence is singular.

 This verb is also used to express a sentence in present continuous tense. Let us look at two examples below-

  • Tom is a student
  • Peter is playing in the garden.

We use the verb are in the present tense when the subject of the sentence is plural and when we are expressing  something going on keeping in mind the plural subject. The two examples to show this are-

  • The children are hard working.
  • They are playing in the garden

We use the verb was to express something about past and in past continuous tense when the subject is singular like

  • He was a teacher.
  • John was playing cricket.

We use the verb were to express something in the past and in past continuous when the subject of the sentence is plural like

  • They were friends
  • They were studying in their room.


How to use has, have, had

We use has and have in the present tense to express something we possess. Most often we hear people saying-

  • I have a pen
  • She has a talent to perform better

We also use has when the subject of the sentence is singular and have when the subject of the sentence is plural or I

  • Tom has special skill to perform this task.
  • I have the confidence to meet the challenges in life.

We use had to express something we had in the past like

  • I had many friends
  • She had an excellent smile in her earlier days.


In case of present perfect and present perfect continuous tense we use has or have depending upon the subject of the sentence. Read the following examples

  • She has done her duty
  • Martin has been doing his work since morning.
  • They have played better today.
  • They have been doing this since childhood.

In case of past perfect tense and past perfect continuous tense we use had irrespective of what the subject of the sentence is. It can be singular or plural. Have a look at the examples below-

  • I had a pocket dictionary.
  • She had a beautiful doll.
  • She had done her assignment.
  • They had been playing the drums before I came into this room.


How to use do, does and did-

We use do and does in case of present tense. They are used in making sentence interrogative and negative with the help of not. It is very simple to understand. So just have a look at the following sentence-

  • I do not take milk early in the morning.
  • She does not like teasing her
  • Do you like tea?
  • Does she go to school daily?

We use did in case of past tense to ask question or to make a sentence negative like-

  • Did you receive my message?
  • Tom did not listen to me in spite of my repeated requests.


When to add to the verb, (es or s)-

In case of simple present tense or present indefinite tense we add to the verb S or ES when the subject of the sentence is 3rd person singular For example-

  • Tom drinks tea every morning.
  • She goes to school daily.


Some common verbs with their past form-

There are some verbs which are used daily and we should know what their forms are in both

 Present and Past form-

  • Say-said
  • Tell-told
  • Sing- sang
  • Play-played
  • Think- thought
  • Bring- brought
  • Buy-bought
  • Sell- sold
  • Buy- bought
  • Go- went
  • Run- ran
  • Write wrote
  • Sleep-slept
  • Write- wrote
  • Give- gave
  • Drink- drank
  • Swim- swam
  • Call- called
  • See- saw
  • Hear- heard
  • Come-came
  • Understand- understood
  • Eat- ate
  • Drink- drank
  • Dream- dreamt
  • Jump-jumped
  • Look-looked
  • Push-pushed
  • Close-closed


How to use may and can-

These two uses of verbs confuse many learners of English. But if you can use this as shown in the examples below it will never confuse you. Use may in case of possibility and for asking permission like

  • It may rain any moment (possibility)
  • May I come in Sir (permission)

Use can to express ability of the person concerned like

  • She can speak fluent English
  • She can swim for hours
  • John can use both his hands with ease.


How to use should, could and would-

You can use should and shouldn’t for giving advice

  • You should work hard for the exam to get good marks.
  • You shouldn’t smoke so much at this age.

Use could and couldn’t for describing someone’s ability in the past

  • When I was in class 6 I could memorize my lessons very quick
  • She couldn’t speak English well a year ago but now she can speak very fluently.

You can also use could to make some polite requests like

  • Could you open the door for me?
  • Could you pass on the salt?
  • Could you turn off the light?

You can use would for situations which are unreal, imaginary or very unlikely situations

  • If I were the Prime Minister of the country, I would wipe out corruption
  • If you had told me you were not interested in the job, I would have offered it to the other candidate.

Would is also used to make some polite offers like

  • Would you like to have a cup of tea?
  • Would you like to go with me for a walk?

A very important point to remember is that you should never try to use TO after the words should, could and would

  • You shouldn’t to talk so loud —-x
  • We could to have dinner outside—x
  • I would to get a drink if I had money—x


How to use the 3rd form of verb-

The 3rd form of verb also known as the past participle is used in mainly perfect tense both present and perfect

  • She has gone to school
  • They have done their work.
  • They have spoken out their mind clearly.
  • I had kept my promise
  • The patient had died before the doctor came
  • She had left for her home town.


Bottom Line-

Yes knowing how to use verbs is very important and it is one of the vital elements of parts of speech. If you get to use the verb wrong, your sentence becomes grammatically wrong and it may convey a very opposite meaning.

Furthermore this is not the end of what is all very about. There are many more things to be told about verb and how it is used which I will try to cover in my upcoming post. Surely a little bit of effort can take care of the uses of verb. So keep reading my posts and perfect your uses of English language











Sujit Das

Site Owner and Main Content Creator. Works as Teacher at Skill English.


  1. […] us now look at a sentence where there are two action VERBS, unlike in other sentences where there are two nouns or subjects or we talk about […]

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