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English Grammar Syntax: Concepts


The Verb is a word or phrase that expresses existence (I am strange), action (Johnny runs fast), occurrence (It is raining) or state (I like something). It expresses that the subject is (You are a woman), does (I study English) or suffer (America was discovered) something. It can express a statement (We study English), an order (Close the door), a question (What did you do?), a wish (I wish I had money; May you be happy) or a condition (If it rains tomorrow, Ill stay in bed; Had I been there, I would have helped too) . A Verb can be used as an auxiliary ( be, do, have, etc.), or as a main verb (travel, arrive, overcome, etc.), which is the main element of a predicate because it determines the end. A Verb can also be any word or phrase used as it (elbowed, man, horse, etc.)

Conjug ation

The conjugation is the way in which the verb changes its form because of different ideas (person, tense, aspect, voice and mood).


It is the expression of the identity of the subject. There are three types, which can be in plural or singular form: a) First Person: The person who speaks about him/herself. b) Second Person: The person who is spoken to. c) Third Person: The person or thing which is spoken about.


It is the expression of time. There are four tenses: a) b) c) d) The Present Tense, in which the action happens now (You are teaching nothing). The Past Tense, in which the action already happened ( They played a lot). The Future Tense, in which the action will happen (I will go anyway). The Conditional Tense, in which the action can or cannot happen (You would read many texts).

The tenses are formed using an auxiliary plus an infinitive or a participle, except in two cases, the Present Simple and the Simple Past.


It is the expression of the manner in which the speaker considers the action. There are four aspects: Simple (does not express duration or time), Continuous (it is in progress), Perfect (it is over), and PerfectContinuous (it is over but has duration). The Simple aspect does not have any special formation ( I dance cumbia once a week); the Continuous aspect is made using to be + -ing (You were drinking all night long); The Perfect aspect is made using to have + past participle (She has smoked too much for today) ; The Perfect-Continuous is made using to have + been + -ing (We have been partying a lot!).


It is the expression of the relation between the subject and the verb in respect of whether the subject performs the action or not. There are two types: a) The Active Voice, with which the subject performs the action (Columbus (subject) invaded (verb phrase) America (Direct Object)) b) The Passive Voice, with which the subject suffers the action (America (Subject) was invaded (verb phrase with to be + past participle) by (preposition) Columbus (Agent Adverb)).


The mood is the expression of the speaker in front of the action in respect of whether it is real or not. There are four moods: a) b) c) d) Indicative: it is considered real or likely (She is a quite beautiful woman). Subjunctive: it is considered doubtful, unreal or desirable ( We wish it were summer). Imperative: express an order, an advice, a suggestion, an invitation, etc. ( Save him, please). Infinitive: names the action (being remembered).

The mood is shown by means of the conjugation, or by means of auxiliaries, or by both.