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Verbs and Their Tenses, Verbs


Language Arts  


9, 10, 11, 12  

Title - Verbs and Their Tenses, Verbs
By - Melanie Marchand

Outcome: When they finish this lesson, students will be able to identify a verb in a sentence. They will also understand past, present and future tenses of verbs, particularly the verbs to be and to have. Hopefully the students will be doing the same sort of verb conjugation simultaneously in their French classes, so that the two courses will compliment one another.

Purpose: Students should be confident in their ability to recognize verbs in different forms.


  1. The first item on the agenda would be to define the word verb: usually an action word. Ask the kids to volunteer examples. Be prepared to give some of your own in case they are feeling shy that day.
  2. The concept of the infinitive. Explain to the students that when you put a verb after a pronoun, the verb changes to accommodate it. The unaltered form, in combination with the word to, is called an infinitive. For example: to jump, to sing.
  3. Give the following sentences as examples: He jumps. She sings. Have them identify first which word is actually the verb. List all the personal pronouns on the board and have the kids conjugate the verbs. When this is finished, tell them that they have just conjugated the verb. (YAY! Massive cheers and wild applause.)
  4. Now for a look at the most common verbs in the English language: to be and to have. Explain that certain verbs appear to be an exception to the 'action' rule. Write the following table on the board, or put it on the overhead:

    TO BE
    You (singular)
    You (singular)
    You (plural)
    You (plural)
  5.  Have the students conjugate these verbs.
  6. Write two sentences on the board in present tense. Ask the students when the event (verb) is taking place: yesterday, today, or tomorrow. Then have the students give you examples of actions taking place tomorrow and yesterday.
  7. Explain the concept of past, present and future tense. Explain that when in past or future tense, main verbs are combined with the appropriate forms of the helping verbs (to be and to have). Give examples.
  8. Give the students exercises to practice:
    1. Twenty sentences where the students identify the verb(s). Include some examples where there are both main and helping verbs.
    2. Six verbs to conjugate.
    3. Ten sentences changing past and future tense into present tense
    4. Ten sentences changing present tense to past tense.
    5. Ten sentences changing present tense to future tense.

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