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Your Ultimate Guide to English Verb Conjugations

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Conjugation enables you to speak and write English properly, in a way that other English-speakers will easily understand. It’s an essential aspect of the language, and learning how to properly conjugate verbs will fine-tune your English skills. 

While you can technically use English without conjugation, it won’t sound very professional and will make communication more difficult. 

In this article, you’ll learn all the basics of English verb conjugation so that you can make the most of every conversation!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Useful Verbs in English Table of Contents
  1. What is Conjugation?
  2. Conjugation Examples
  3. Conjugating Irregular Verbs
  4. English Verb Conjugation Quiz
  5. Some Parting Words…

1. What is Conjugation?

Top Verbs

Learning English conjugations can be difficult, but there’s a bit of good news for you: Verbs are the only part of speech that you conjugate!

Conjugation is how a verb changes to properly fit in a sentence. Each verb has an infinitive form, which is the most basic form of that verb (to think, to cry, to explain). But these infinitive verbs don’t work in all sentences, so they must be changed according to the following factors:

  • Person (1st, 2nd, 3rd)
  • Number (singular, plural)
  • Tense (simple past, simple present, simple future)
  • Aspect (simple, progressive, perfect)

In English, this is usually done by adding the most appropriate suffix: -ed (past participle) or -ing (present participle, also called a gerund). 

Further, there are various subcategories of verb conjugations based on their tense and aspect. These subcategories are:

  • Indicative: Indicative conjugation is done to imply a statement of a true thing that happened, is happening, or will happen. 
  • Subjunctive: Subjunctive conjugation is done to imply what one wishes had happened, or how a result might differ if that thing had happened.
  • Conditional: Conditional conjugation is done to imply that something would happen or would have happened, in different circumstances.
  • Imperative: Imperative conjugation is done to imply a command. Only the first person plural, second person singular, and second person plural forms use the imperative.

And because English verb conjugation is unnecessarily difficult and complex, these subcategories are further divided into the nominal form and the progressive/continuous form. The progressive/continuous form is easy to spot because the verb conjugations end in -ing.

Before you move on to the examples below, you may find it helpful to brush up on your English verb knowledge. Be sure to read the article I wrote on the topic, where I also explain the most basic conjugation.

2. Conjugation Examples

More Essential Verbs

That was a lot to take in, so here I’ll include some examples using common English verbs. There’s a lot of information in the following English conjugation tables, so just take it easy and don’t expect to master these right away! 

1- To walk

  • Infinitive: To walk
  • Participle: Walked
  • Gerund: Walking
Family Out Walking in Field

A. Nominal Form

Indicative
PresentSimple pastFuturePerfectPast perfectFuture perfect
IWalkWalkedWill walkHave walkedHad walkedWill have walked
You [s]WalkWalkedWill walkHave walkedHad walkedWill have walked
He / SheWalksWalkedWill walkHave walkedHad walkedWill have walked
WeWalkWalkedWill walkHave walkedHad walkedWill have walked
You [p]WalkWalkedWill walkHave walkedHad walkedWill have walked
TheyWalkWalkedWill walkHave walkedHad walkedWill have walked
Subjunctive
PresentPerfectImperfectPast perfect
IWalkHave walkedWalkedHad walked
You [s]WalkHave walkedWalkedHad walked
He / SheWalkHave walkedWalkedHad walked
WeWalkHave walkedWalkedHad walked
You [p]WalkHave walkedWalkedHad walked
TheyWalkHave walkedWalkedHad walked
Conditional
PresentPerfect
IWould walkWould have walked
You [s]Would walkWould have walked
He / SheWould walkWould have walked
WeWould walkWould have walked
You [p]Would walkWould have walked
TheyWould walkWould have walked
Imperative – Present
I
You [s]Walk
He / She
WeLet’s walk
You [p]Walk
They

B. Progressive / Continuous Form

Indicative
PresentSimple pastFuturePerfectPast perfectFuture perfect
IAm walkingWas walkingWill be walkingHave been walkingHad been walkingWill have been walking
You [s]Are walkingWere walkingWill be walkingHave been walkingHad been walkingWill have been walking
He / SheAre walkingWas walkingWill be walkingHave been walkingHad been walkingWill have been walking
WeAre walkingWere walkingWill be walkingHave been walkingHad been walkingWill have been walking
You [p]Are walkingWere walkingWill be walkingHave been walkingHad been walkingWill have been walking
TheyAre walkingWere walkingWill be walkingHave been walkingHad been walkingWill have been walking
Conditional
PresentPerfect
IWould be walkingWould have been walking
You [s]Would be walkingWould have been walking
He / SheWould be walkingWould have been walking
WeWould be walkingWould have been walking
You [p]Would be walkingWould have been walking
TheyWould be walkingWould have been walking

2- To listen

  • Infinitive: To listen
  • Participle: Listened
  • Gerund: Listening
Man Holding Hand to Ear

A. Nominal Form

Indicative
PresentSimple pastFuturePerfectPast perfectFuture perfect
IListenListenedWill listenHave listenedHad listenedWill have listened
You [s]ListenListenedWill listenHave listenedHad listenedWill have listened
He / SheListenListenedWill listenHave listenedHad listenedWill have listened
WeListenListenedWill listenHave listenedHad listenedWill have listened
You [p]ListenListenedWill listenHave listenedHad listenedWill have listened
TheyListenListenedWill listenHave listenedHad listenedWill have listened
Subjunctive
PresentPerfectImperfectPast perfect
IListenHave listenedListenedHad listened
You [s]ListenHave listenedListenedHad listened
He / SheListenHave listenedListenedHad listened
WeListenHave listenedListenedHad listened
You [p]ListenHave listenedListenedHad listened
TheyListenHave listenedListenedHad listened
Conditional
PresentPerfect
IWould listenWould have listened
You [s]Would listenWould have listened
He / SheWould listenWould have listened
WeWould listenWould have listened
You [p]Would listenWould have listened
You [p]Would listenWould have listened
Imperative – Present
I
You [s]Listen
He / She
WeLet’s listen
You [p]Listen
They

B. Progressive / Continuous Form

Indicative
PresentSimple pastFuturePerfectPast perfectFuture perfect
IAm listeningWas listeningWill be listeningHave been listeningHad been listeningWill have been listening
You [s]Are listeningWere listeningWill be listeningHave been listeningHad been listeningHad been listeningWill have been listening
He / SheIs listeningWas listeningWill be listeningHave been listeningHad been listeningWill have been listening
WeAre listeningWere listeningWill be listeningHave been listeningHad been listeningWill have been listening
You [p]Are listeningWere listeningWill be listeningHave been listeningHad been listeningWill have been listening
TheyAre listeningWere listeningWill be listeningHave been listeningHad been listeningWill have been listening
Conditional
PresentPerfect
IWould be listeningWould have been listening
You [s]Would be listeningWould have been listening
He / SheWould be listeningWould have been listening
WeWould be listeningWould have been listening
You [p]Would be listeningWould have been listening
TheyWould be listeningWould have been listening

3- To move

  • Infinitive: To move
  • Participle: Moved
  • Gerund: Moving
Man Moving a Box

A. Nominal Form

Indicative
PresentSimple pastFuturePerfectPast perfectFuture perfect
IMoveMovedWill moveHave movedHad movedWill have moved
You [s]MoveMovedWill moveHave movedHad movedWill have moved
He / SheMovesMovedWill moveHas movedHad movedWill have moved
WeMoveMovedWill moveHave movedHad movedWill have moved
You [p]MoveMovedWill moveHave movedHad movedWill have moved
TheyMoveMovedWill moveHave movedHad movedWill have moved
Subjunctive
PresentPerfectImperfectPast perfect
IMoveHave movedMovedHad moved
You [s]MoveHave movedMovedHad moved
He / SheMoveHave movedMovedHad moved
WeMoveHave movedMovedHad moved
You [p]MoveHave movedMovedHad moved
TheyMoveHave movedMovedHad moved
Conditional
PresentPerfect
IWould moveWould have moved
You [s]Would moveWould have moved
He / SheWould moveWould have moved
WeWould moveWould have moved
You [p]Would moveWould have moved
TheyWould moveWould have moved
Imperative – Present
I
You [s]Move
He / She
WeLet’s move
You [p]Move
They

B. Progressive / Continuous Form

Indicative
PresentSimple pastFuturePerfectPast perfectFuture perfect
IAm movingWas movingWill be movingHave been movingHad been movingWill have been moving
You [s]Are movingWere movingWill be movingHave been movingHad been movingWill have been moving
He / SheIs movingWas movingWill be movingHave been movingHad been movingWill have been moving
WeAre movingWere movingWill be movingHave been movingHad been movingWill have been moving
You [p]Are movingWere movingWill be movingHave been movingHad been movingWill have been moving
TheyAre movingWere movingWill be movingHave been movingHad been movingWill have been moving
Conditional
PresentPerfect
IWould be movingWould have been moving
You [s]Would be movingWould have been moving
He / SheWould be movingWould have been moving
WeWould be movingWould have been moving
You [p]Would be movingWould have been moving
TheyWould be movingWould have been moving

3. Conjugating Irregular Verbs

Woman

In English, irregular verbs have conjugations that don’t follow the rules. Here are a few of the most common examples of irregular verbs with their conjugations. For this section, we’re not going to worry too much about the more complex conjugations that you saw above. I’ll keep this section simple by only including the verb tenses/aspects that are irregular.  

Let’s start with the English conjugations of “to be.”

1- To Be

  • Infinitive: To be
  • Participle: Been
  • Gerund: Being
IndicativeSubjunctive
PresentPastImperfect
IAmWasWere
You [s]AreWereWere
He / SheIsWasWere
WeAreWereWere
You [p]AreWereWere
TheyAreWereWere

2- To Have

  • Infinitive: To have
  • Participle: Had
  • Gerund: Having
IndicativeSubjunctive
PresentPastImperfect
IHaveHadHad
You [s]HaveHadHad
He / SheHasHadHad
WeHaveHadHad
You [p]HaveHadHad
TheyHaveHadHad

3- To Feel

  • Infinitive: To feel
  • Participle: Felt
  • Gerund: Feeling
IndicativeSubjunctive
PastImperfect
IFeltFelt
You [s]FeltFelt
He / SheFeltFelt
WeFeltFelt
You [p]FeltFelt
TheyFeltFelt

4- To Eat

  • Infinitive: To eat
  • Participle: Eaten
  • Gerund: Eating
Woman Eating Chocolate Bar
IndicativeSubjunctive
PastImperfect
IAteAte
You [s]AteAte
He / SheAteAte
WeAteAte
You [p]AteAte
TheyAteAte

5- To Bite

  • Infinitive: To bite
  • Participle: Bitten
  • Gerund: Biting
IndicativeSubjunctive
PastImperfect
IBitBit
You [s]BitBit
He / SheBitBit
WeBitBit
You [p]BitBit
TheyBitBit

6- To Sleep

  • Infinitive: To sleep
  • Participle: Slept
  • Gerund: Sleeping
IndicativeSubjunctive
PastImperfect
ISleptSlept
You [s]SleptSlept
He / SheSleptSlept
WeSleptSlept
You [p]SleptSlept
TheySleptSlept

7- To Tell

  • Infinitive: To tell
  • Participle: Told
  • Gerund: Telling
IndicativeSubjunctive
PastImperfect
IToldTold
You [s]ToldTold
He / SheToldTold
WeToldTold
You [p]ToldTold
TheyToldTold

As you can see, the majority of these irregular verbs tend to repeat, making them easier to memorize. Further, most of them only conjugate irregularly in the past tense. 

The downside is that these are only the beginning of irregular verbs. There are many more that you’ll have to memorize as you come across them. But you can do it! 

4. English Verb Conjugation Quiz

Woman Uncertain of Answer

Now, it’s time to test your knowledge. Don’t fret too much, though; this quiz will only focus on the simpler conjugations. 

1) Bob [talk] with Dana yesterday.

Choices:
A) Talk
B) Talks
C) Talking
D) Talked

2) Phil [to be] in love with Valerie.

Choices:
A) Are
B) Is
C) Am
D) Were

3) Lily is [finish] her assignment right now.

Choices:
A) Finished
B) Finish
C) Finishing
D) Finishes

4) Mary always [act] like she [know] everything.

Choices:
A) Acts/knows
B) Acted/knows
C) Acted/knew
D) Acting/knows

5) I [eat] oatmeal with peanut butter this morning.

Choices:
A) Eaten
B) Eat
C) Eats
D) Ate

The correct answers are: 

D – The word “yesterday” implies that the conversation happened the day before. Thus, the past tense conjugation is used.

B – Because Phil is a singular individual and currently in love, “is” is the most appropriate choice.

C – Lily is currently doing the action (indicated by the to be verb “is”), so the present form is used.

A – The word “always” implies that Mary currently does these things. Thus, the present form is used.

D – “Ate” is the past tense form of the word “eat,” and because the sentence doesn’t have a “to be” verb (to make it “I have eaten”), the correct conjugation must be “ate.”

5. Some Parting Words…

English verb conjugation is pretty terrible. But you’ve made it this far, and you’re going to make it even farther! 

Congratulations Card with Ribbon

If the English verb conjugation charts in this article seem daunting to you, don’t worry—they’re daunting for native English-speakers too. Before you try learning all of this information, you may find it easier to learn the infinitive, participle, and gerund forms of verbs first. These forms play into the more complex ones, and from there, it’s as easy as plugging-and-chugging your way through. 

For more information on this topic, be sure to check out more practical resources on EnglishClass101

Better yet, if you want to make a game out of learning conjugation, visit Verbix.com. Here, you can simply type in the infinitive form of any English verb, hit Enter, and see all of its different conjugations! Sometimes just playing around with new information can help you retain it better. 🙂

Before you go, let us know in the comments if you learned something new today! Do you feel more confident using English language conjugations? We hope that English conjugation is clearer to you now, and that you have a strong basis for future learning. Feel free to reach out with any questions, and we’ll do our best to answer them.

Until next time, happy learning!

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