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  1. JSS2: English Language 2nd Term | Week 1
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  8. JSS2: English Language 2nd Term | Week 8
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Verbs are used to express actions or a state of being. There is always a verb in a sentence.


Ade slaps his friend

She goes to school everyday

Titi likes her teacher

Verbs in the Present Tense:

Present tense expresses a habitual action or general truth or action going on as at the time of speaking:

Examples are:

  • Daddy travels to Enugu every day
  • The ministers go to church on Sundays.
  • God is everywhere
  • Akin spends her holidays in Enugu
  • Dogs have four legs.

Verbs in the Past Tense:

It expresses an action which took place at some time in the past

  1. Musa went to Abuja yesterday
  2. The boy sang a song this afternoon
  3. I bought my socks from the school store
  4. She killed the goat last night.

The present tense form usually adds “s” or “es” to the verb after “he” or “she”, “it” or after the nouns that these pronouns can stand for e.g.

Know + s knows

Sing + s = sings

Spend + s = spends

Note that “es” is added to verb such as do, go, when a third person noun/pronoun is used with the present simple tense of the verb e.g. goes, does

Using the Present Tense forms 

With the singular present forms.

  • The students start their examinations tomorrow.
  • The Ministers meet tomorrow morning
  • Ade and Erica never obey their teacher.

Forms of the verbs in the present and past tense.

BaseThird Person Singlar Present TensePast Tense

The verb “be” is a very unusual verb.  Verb “BE” has two forms:  was (singular) and plural – “were”.

And every other verb has two present tense forms.

The singular present tense form “was” is used with singular subjects e.g.

Erik was in my school.

The plural present tense form is are and the past tense form is were.

Sola and Erik are wonderful

The Principal and the Teachers were present.

First person singular (Present and Past)

I am a teacher  –  I was a teacher

We are teachers  –  We were teachers.

Second Person 

You are in Abuja nowYou were in Abuja last year
You are a TailorYou were Pupils

Third Person

He is a friendHe was a friend
She is her sisterShe was her sister
It is a bookIt was a paper


The rules about using these verbs to be – am, is, are, was and were.  The verb form am always goes with the pronoun I.  –  I am a dove.

The verb are is the plural of the present tense form of the verb be“Are” goes with plural pronouns we and they; and plural nouns. “Are” also goes with the second person singular and plural pronoun “you”.

We/They/You – The girls are here.  The verb was is the third person, singular – past tense form of the verb to be. Was goes with singular pronouns he, she, it and singular nouns:  he/she/it.

She was a singer.

The verb were is the plural past tense form of the verb to be. “Were” goes with the plural pronouns we, they, and plural nouns. “Were” also goes with the second–person singular and plural you:  We/They/You. – The girls were outside.

Sometimes we use action verbs with other verbs known as helping verbs e.g. 

  1. I am preaching Christ
  2. She is walking down
  3. Tolu is dancing outside.

The examples above are examples of verb phrases.  The main verb ends with “_ing”.  The verb phrases in the above examples are said to be in the present participle form.  That is to say, walking, dancing, and preaching are present participle forms of the verbs dance, preach, write, walk.

We use the _ing form of a verb when we want to indicate that an action is/was in progress.  This is the reason BE + the present participle verb phrase is said to be in the progressive.


  1. She is preaching
  2. They were walking
  3. He is dancing

When we use the past tense forms of BE as an auxiliary we know that the event was in progress at some point in the past.

  1. She was preaching in class then.
  2. They were walking home when I arrived
  3. The robbers were coming before your arrival.

When a present tense form of HAVE (have/has) is used with the past participle of the main verb, the verb phrase is in the present perfect form.  And when the past tense form of have (had) is used with the past participle of the main verb, the verb phrase is in the past perfect form e.g.

Present Perfect Tense

  1. I have already spent the money on books.
  2. The girl has shut the door
  3. He has written a song
  4. The students have eaten their meals
  5. Chika has recently been married.

Past Perfect Tense:

  1. The robbers had escaped before the police arrived
  2. After the girl had posted she went home
  3. When I got to the airport, the plane had taken off.
  4. The lessons had started before I got to school.


The regular verb in the past participle ended with “en” or “d” like the simple past e.g.

Verb Simple past Past Participle

Verb Simple pastPast Participle

Evaluation:  Write out the past tense and past participle of the following verbs:  Sow, Swing, Swell, Upset, Rise, Pay, Wind, Fling

Reading Assignment:  Comprehensive English Language Page 89 by Martins Izuchukwu Amaechi


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