Preparing to Write
In order to write well in English, you should understand the basics of the language. Probably the most difficult area for students learning English is verbs. Although English verbs are used in complicated ways, they do not have complicated conjugations with a different ending for each pronoun like other languages might.
GERMAN SPANISH RUSSIAN
ich fahre yo hablo x tirpato
du fährst tu hablas tu urpaeiub
er fährt el habla oh nrpaeT
wir fahren nosotros hablamos Mbi nrpaeM
ihr fährt vosotros habláis Bbi nrpaeTe
sie fahren ellos hablan ohm nrpaiOT
With most English verbs there is only one ending (-s or -es) in the third person singular of the present tense. The only exception to that rule is the verb to be:
|TO SPEAK||TO BE|
|I speak||I am|
|you speak||you are|
|he speaks||he is|
|we speak||we are|
|you speak||you are|
|they speak||they are|
But English has other complexities. For example, there are three ways to express the present tense:
- The simple conjugation of the verb means that the action of the verb is a habit or is repeated. For example: “We speak.”
- When the verb is conjugated with a form of to be (am, is, are, was, were), the verb will have an -ing ending. It means that the action is continuing or not yet completed. For example: “We are speaking.”
- The third present tense form uses a conjugation of to do (do, does) with the verb and has three uses:
(1) It is used to ask a question with most verbs except to be or certain auxiliaries (can, must, should, and so on).
(2) It is used as an emphatic response.
(3) It is used to negate the verb with not. Let’s look at some examples with the verb to speak:
I speak English. (This is my habit. I speak English all the time.)
I am speaking English. (I usually speak Spanish. At the moment I am speaking English.)
Do you speak English? (A question with the verb to speak.)
I do speak English. (This is your emphatic response to someone who has just said, “You don’t speak English.”)
I do not speak English. (Negation of the verb to speak with not.)
Conjugating English verbs is not difficult. But choosing the correct tense form from the three just described requires practice. The exercises that follow will help you to use English verb forms and tenses with accuracy.