Monday, July 23, 2007

Grammar: Common Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them (Part 14: Wrong Tense or Verb Form)

Most people understand how to build tenses. But I have seen the wrong use of tense, for example, "In the evenings, I like to lay on the couch and watch TV." "Lay" in this instance is the past tense of the verb, "to lie." The sentence should read: "In the evenings, I like to lie on the couch and watch TV."

(Please note that "to lay" is a separate verb meaning "to place in a certain position.")

Here are some other irregular verbs that can be confusing. This by no means covers them all, but it’s a start.

The base form of the verb is the verb in present tense. The past tense does not need any kind of helping verb, such as “She arose from slumber.” The past participle requires a helping verb, such as “the vampire has arisen from the dead.”

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