People who are new to English often experience confusion about which verb forms can serve as the verb in a sentence. An English sentence must include at least one verb or verb phrase and a tense that relays the time during which the action is taking place. Verbals (such as gerunds and infinitives) should not be confused with verbs.
- A sentence with a gerund must also have another verb.
Correct example: Roger enjoys driving the RV.
Incorrect example: Roger driving the RV.
- A sentence with an infinitive must have another verb.
Correct example: Kyle decided to write a long message.
Incorrect example: Kyle to write a long message.
- Verbs must match the timing indicated by the other words in a sentence.
Past tense correct example: Yesterday, I called you at 5:00 p.m.
Past tense incorrect example: Yesterday, I call you at 5:00 p.m.
Future tense correct example: The next time it rains, I will bring my umbrella.
Future tense incorrect example: The next time it rains, I bring my umbrella.
Present tense correct example: Come in and get warm.
Present tense incorrect example: Come in and got warm.