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Verbs in English

Verbs in English

Verbs in English

English is an analytic language, which, unlike other languages such as Spanish, German and Russian, are what we call “synthetic” languages, which means these languages have far more inflections. In this way, it is very easy to learn the conjugations of verbs in English.

Given that the English language is analytic, there are far fewer inflections – the changing of a word. I.e., dog – dogs (the “s” is added to “dog” to form a plural – this is an inflection). Let’s take a closer look at some more examples below.

The present simple in English with the verb see

I seeWe see
You seeYou see
He/she/it seesThey see
  • There is only one inflection, which is in the third-person singular “sees” with the addition of the “s”.

Present simple in Spanish, with the same verb ver

Yo veoNosotros vemos
Tú vesVosotros veis 
Él, ellla veEllos ven
  • There are six inflections, one for each person. And this is only the present simple tense – add to that all the other verbal tenses, such as the past and future, which contain more inflections.

In German, it is even more difficult, because not only are there different conjugations for all the verbs just like in Spanish, but words such as pronouns and articles have four cases: nominative, genitive, dative and accusative. So, this makes things a tad more complicated, to put it nicely.  

In English, this is not the case.

However, what this means is, because the language relies heavily on auxiliary verbs to convey meaning, you, the learner, will have to ensure that you learn how to use the auxiliaries and perfect forms properly, that is, you must learn the rules as to how these verbs function so that you can use them correctly. 

Knowing how verbs work in English

Because English is an analytic language, it expresses itself by using auxiliary verbs or “helping verbs” rather than using inflections such as what you would find in German or Spanish. 

Fewer inflections but lots of rules 

English verbs, irrespective of whether you are using auxiliaries, copulative verbs, phrasal verbs, or active and passive forms, none have many inflections.

So, it’s rather easy to learn all the conjugations for all persons. 

Nevertheless, English verbs are rigid and less dynamic, meaning, there are rules and these rules must be followed if you want to speak the language correctly.

That’s why, we have provided an entire index on every type of verb in English. See the links above for a complete overview.