100 Basic Rules for the Correct Form of Verbs: Examples and Explanations

Mastering the correct form of verbs is essential for effective communication in English. This comprehensive guide outlines 100 basic rules with examples and explanations to help you understand and apply the appropriate verb forms in various contexts. Whether you are a beginner or an advanced learner, these rules will be a valuable reference for enhancing your grammar skills.

Which of the following sentences has correct subject-verb agreement?

a) The team of players are practicing hard. b) The team of players is practicing hard.

c) The team of players were practicing hard. d) The team of players am practicing hard.

Choose the sentence that has the correct tense.

a) I was going to the gym yesterday. b) I is going to the gym tomorrow.

c) I will be going to the gym last week. d) I will be going to the gym tomorrow.

Which of the following sentences has the correct use of the present perfect tense?
a) She has seen that movie yesterday.
b) She saw that movie yesterday.
c) She had seen that movie yesterday.
d) She has seen that movie before.


Choose the sentence that has the correct verb form.
a) The dog barks loudly.
b) The dog bark loudly.
c) The dog barked loudly.
d) The dog is barking loudly.

Here are 100 basic rules for the correct form of verbs with examples and explanations:

Rule: Use the base form of a verb after ‘to.’
Example: I want to eat pizza.
Explanation: ‘To’ is followed by the base form ‘eat.’

Rule: Use the past simple form for completed actions in the past.
Example: She finished her work yesterday.
Explanation: ‘Finished’ is the past simple form of ‘finish.’

Rule: Use the present perfect form for actions that started in the past and continue in the present.
Example: He has lived here for five years.
Explanation: ‘Has lived’ is the present perfect form of ‘live.’

Rule: Use the past perfect form to describe an action completed before another action in the past.
Example: She had left before I arrived.
Explanation: ‘Had left’ is the past perfect form of ‘leave.’

Rule: Use the future simple form to express actions that will happen in the future.
Example: I will call you tomorrow.
Explanation: ‘Will call’ is the future simple form of ‘call.’

Rule: Use the present continuous form for actions happening now or in the near future.
Example: She is studying for the test.
Explanation: ‘Is studying’ is the present continuous form of ‘study.’

Rule: Use the past continuous form to describe ongoing actions in the past.
Example: He was watching TV when the phone rang.
Explanation: ‘Was watching’ is the past continuous form of ‘watch.’

Rule: Use the present perfect continuous form for actions that started in the past and continue until now.
Example: They have been working on this project since January.
Explanation: ‘Have been working’ is the present perfect continuous form of ‘work.’

Rule: Use the past perfect continuous form to describe ongoing actions completed before another action in the past.
Example: She had been waiting for two hours when he finally arrived.
Explanation: ‘Had been waiting’ is the past perfect continuous form of ‘wait.’

Rule: Use the future continuous form to express actions that will be ongoing at a specific time in the future.
Example: I will be traveling to Paris next week.
Explanation: ‘Will be traveling’ is the future continuous form of ‘travel.’

Rule: Use the future perfect form to describe actions that will be completed before a specific time in the future.
Example: By next year, she will have graduated from college.
Explanation: ‘Will have graduated’ is the future perfect form of ‘graduate.’

Rule: Use the future perfect continuous form to describe ongoing actions that will be completed before a specific time in the future.
Example: By the end of the week, he will have been working on this project for a month.
Explanation: ‘Will have been working’ is the future perfect continuous form of ‘work.’

Rule: Use modal verbs (e.g., can, could, should, might, must, etc.) followed by the base form of a verb.
Example: You should go to the doctor.
Explanation: ‘Should’ is a modal verb followed by the base form ‘go.’

Rule: Use the base form of a verb after ‘do,’ ‘does,’ or ‘did.’
Example: Did you finish your homework?
Explanation: ‘Did’ is followed by the base form ‘finish.’

Rule: Use the present simple form for regular actions or general truths.
Example: The sun rises in the east.
Explanation: ‘Rises’ is the present simple form of ‘rise.’

Rule: Use the present simple form for third-person singular subjects (he, she, it) with the addition of ‘s’ or ‘es.’
Example: She plays the piano.
Explanation

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Explanation: ‘Plays’ is the present simple form of ‘play’ with an added ‘s’ for the third-person singular subject ‘she.’

Rule: Use the infinitive form after auxiliary verbs like ‘be,’ ‘have,’ or ‘had.’
Example: I have to buy groceries.
Explanation: ‘Have to’ is followed by the infinitive form ‘buy.’

Rule: Use ‘been’ as the past participle form of ‘be.’
Example: She has been to Paris twice.
Explanation: ‘Has been’ is the present perfect form of ‘be.’

Rule: Use the gerund form (-ing) after prepositions.
Example: I’m thinking about going on vacation.
Explanation: ‘About’ is a preposition followed by the gerund form ‘going.’

Rule: Use the gerund form (-ing) for activities that are the subject of a sentence.
Example: Swimming is my favorite sport.
Explanation: ‘Swimming’ is the subject of the sentence and is in the gerund form.

Rule: Use the base form of a verb for imperatives (commands).
Example: Sit down, please.
Explanation: ‘Sit’ is the base form used as an imperative.

Rule: Use the past participle form of a verb after ‘have’ or ‘has.’
Example: They have visited Rome.
Explanation: ‘Have’ is followed by the past participle form ‘visited.’

Rule: Use the past participle form of a verb after ‘had.’
Example: We had planned a trip, but it was canceled.
Explanation: ‘Had’ is followed by the past participle form ‘planned.’

Rule: Use the past participle form for passive voice sentences.
Example: The cake was baked by Mary.
Explanation: ‘Was baked’ is the past participle form used in the passive voice.

Rule: Use the past participle form after ‘being’ in the passive voice.
Example: The car is being repaired.
Explanation: ‘Is being’ is followed by the past participle form ‘repaired.’

Rule: Use ‘will’ or ‘won’t’ with the base form of a verb for simple future actions.
Example: I will study tonight.
Explanation: ‘Will’ is followed by the base form ‘study.’

Rule: Use ‘going to’ with the base form of a verb for future actions with prior plans.
Example: She is going to apply for a new job.
Explanation: ‘Is going to’ is followed by the base form ‘apply.’

Rule: Use ‘shall’ or ‘shall not’ with the base form of a verb for future actions in formal situations (mostly with ‘I’ and ‘we’).
Example: We shall overcome this challenge.
Explanation: ‘Shall’ is followed by the base form ‘overcome.’

Rule: Use ‘would’ or ‘would not’ with the base form of a verb for hypothetical situations or polite requests.
Example: If I had the money, I would travel the world.
Explanation: ‘Would’ is followed by the base form ‘travel.’

Rule: Use the gerund form (-ing) after ‘like,’ ‘love,’ ‘hate,’ and ‘prefer’ to express general preferences.
Example: I love reading books.
Explanation: ‘Love’ is followed by the gerund form ‘reading.’

Rule: Use the infinitive form after ‘like,’ ‘love,’ ‘hate,’ and ‘prefer’ to express specific preferences.
Example: I’d like to read that book.
Explanation: ‘Like’ is followed by the infinitive form ‘to read.’

Rule: Use the gerund form (-ing) after ‘stop,’ ‘

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finish,’ ‘quit,’ and ‘begin’ to describe the action being stopped or started.
Example: He stopped smoking last year.
Explanation: ‘Stopped’ is followed by the gerund form ‘smoking.’

Rule: Use the infinitive form after ‘stop,’ ‘finish,’ ‘quit,’ and ‘begin’ to describe the purpose or reason for the action.
Example: He stopped to buy some groceries.
Explanation: ‘Stopped’ is followed by the infinitive form ‘to buy.’

Rule: Use the gerund form (-ing) after ‘start,’ ‘continue,’ and ‘begin’ to describe an ongoing action.
Example: She started working on the project.
Explanation: ‘Started’ is followed by the gerund form ‘working.’

Rule: Use the infinitive form after ‘need,’ ‘want,’ ‘expect,’ ‘hope,’ ‘plan,’ ‘decide,’ and ‘intend’ to describe an action that is required, desired, or anticipated.
Example: I need to study for the exam.
Explanation: ‘Need’ is followed by the infinitive form ‘to study.’

Rule: Use the past participle form after ‘have’ or ‘has’ to create the present perfect tense.
Example: They have traveled to Spain.
Explanation: ‘Have’ is followed by the past participle form ‘traveled.’

Rule: Use the past participle form after ‘had’ to create the past perfect tense.
Example: She had finished her work before leaving.
Explanation: ‘Had’ is followed by the past participle form ‘finished.’

Rule: Use the past participle form after ‘will have’ to create the future perfect tense.
Example: By next week, I will have completed the project.
Explanation: ‘Will have’ is followed by the past participle form ‘completed.’

Rule: Use the gerund form (-ing) after ‘suggest,’ ‘recommend,’ ‘admit,’ ‘deny,’ and ‘consider’ to describe the recommended or considered action.
Example: She suggested visiting the museum.
Explanation: ‘Suggested’ is followed by the gerund form ‘visiting.’

Rule: Use the infinitive form after ‘allow,’ ‘permit,’ ‘encourage,’ ‘advise,’ and ‘invite’ to describe the action being allowed, permitted, or encouraged.
Example: They allowed us to enter the building.
Explanation: ‘Allowed’ is followed by the infinitive form ‘to enter.’

Rule: Use the gerund form (-ing) after ‘can’t help,’ ‘can’t stand,’ ‘mind,’ and ‘avoid’ to describe the action being done.
Example: I can’t help laughing at his jokes.
Explanation: ‘Can’t help’ is followed by the gerund form ‘laughing.’

Rule: Use the infinitive form after ‘agree,’ ‘arrange,’ ‘decide,’ ‘deserve,’ ‘offer,’ ‘promise,’ ‘refuse,’ and ‘threaten’ to describe the action being agreed, arranged, or decided.
Example: She agreed to help us with the project.
Explanation: ‘Agreed’ is followed by the infinitive form ‘to help.’

Rule: Use the infinitive form without ‘to’ after modal verbs like ‘can,’ ‘could,’ ‘may,’ ‘might,’ ‘must,’ ‘shall,’ ‘should,’ ‘will,’ and ‘would.’
Example: You must arrive on time.
Explanation: ‘Must’ is followed by the base form ‘arrive’ without ‘to.’

Rule: Use the infinitive form after ‘had better,’ ‘would rather,’ and ‘would sooner’ to describe a preference or advice.
Example: You had better study for the test.
Explanation: ‘Had

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better’ is followed by the infinitive form ‘study.’

Rule: Use the base form of the verb after the auxiliary ‘do,’ ‘does,’ or ‘did’ in questions and negative sentences.
Example: Do you like ice cream?
Explanation: ‘Do’ is followed by the base form ‘like.’

Rule: Use the base form of the verb after ‘let,’ ‘make,’ and ‘help’ in active voice sentences.
Example: She let him borrow her car.
Explanation: ‘Let’ is followed by the base form ‘borrow.’

Rule: Use the infinitive form after ‘let,’ ‘make,’ and ‘help’ in passive voice sentences.
Example: He was made to clean the room.
Explanation: ‘Was made’ is followed by the infinitive form ‘to clean.’

Rule: Use the gerund form (-ing) after ‘appreciate,’ ‘enjoy,’ ‘imagine,’ ‘involve,’ ‘postpone,’ ‘quit,’ and ‘risk’ to describe the action being done or considered.
Example: They enjoyed playing soccer together.
Explanation: ‘Enjoyed’ is followed by the gerund form ‘playing.’

Rule: Use the infinitive form after ‘appear,’ ‘claim,’ ‘demand,’ ‘expect,’ ‘fail,’ ‘hesitate,’ ‘hope,’ ‘intend,’ ‘learn,’ ‘manage,’ ‘pretend,’ and ‘seem’ to describe the action being done or expected.
Example: She appears to know the answer.
Explanation: ‘Appears’ is followed by the infinitive form ‘to know.’

Rule: Use the gerund form (-ing) or the infinitive form interchangeably after ‘start,’ ‘begin,’ ‘continue,’ and ‘like’ without a significant change in meaning.
Example: He started to work. / He started working.
Explanation: Both ‘to work’ and ‘working’ can be used after ‘started’ without changing the meaning.

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Rule: Use the gerund form (-ing) after ‘keep,’ ‘keep on,’ and ‘go on’ to describe an ongoing or repetitive action.
Example: She keeps practicing every day.
Explanation: ‘Keeps’ is followed by the gerund form ‘practicing.’

Rule: Use the infinitive form after ‘would like,’ ‘would love,’ ‘would prefer,’ and ‘would hate’ to describe a preference or desire.
Example: I would like to visit Japan someday.
Explanation: ‘Would like’ is followed by the infinitive form ‘to visit.’

Rule: Use the gerund form (-ing) after ‘feel like’ to describe a preference or inclination.
Example: I feel like going for a walk.
Explanation: ‘Feel like’ is followed by the gerund form ‘going.’

Rule: Use the gerund form (-ing) after ‘can’t bear’ to describe an intolerable action or situation.
Example: I can’t bear listening to loud music.
Explanation: ‘Can’t bear’ is followed by the gerund form ‘listening.’

Rule: Use the infinitive form after ‘ask,’ ‘expect,’ ‘want,’ ‘would like,’ ‘need,’ ‘require,’ ‘prefer,’ and ‘tell’ when referring to a specific action or request.
Example: She asked me to bring the documents.
Explanation: ‘Asked’ is followed by the infinitive form ‘to bring.’

Rule: Use the gerund form (-ing) after ‘think about,’ ‘worry about,’ ‘complain about,’ ‘talk about,’ and ‘dream about’ to describe the action or situation being considered or discussed.
Example: We often dream about traveling the world.
Explanation: ‘Dream about’ is followed by the gerund form ‘traveling.’

Rule: Use the gerund form (-ing) after ‘look forward to,’ ‘be used to,’ and ‘get used to’ to describe anticipation, familiarity, or adaptation to an action or situation.
Example: I look forward to meeting you in person.
Explanation: ‘Look forward to’ is followed by the gerund form ‘meeting.’

Rule: Use the base form of the verb after ‘rather than’ when comparing actions or preferences.
Example: She decided to study rather than go to the party.
Explanation: ‘Rather than’ is followed by the base form ‘go.’

Rule: Use the gerund form (-ing) after ‘instead of’ when comparing actions or preferences.
Example: They chose to watch a movie instead of going to the park.
Explanation: ‘Instead of’ is followed by the gerund form ‘going.’

Rule: Use the gerund form (-ing) after ‘be worth’ to describe the value or benefit of an action.
Example: Learning a new language is worth the effort.
Explanation: ‘Is worth’ is followed by the gerund form ‘learning.’

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Rule: Use the infinitive form after ‘too’ and ‘enough’ when expressing the degree of an action or situation.
Example: She is too young to drive.
Explanation: ‘Too’ is followed by the infinitive form ‘to drive.’

Rule: Use the infinitive form after ‘so that’ and ‘in order to’ when expressing the purpose or intention of an action.
Example: He studied hard in order to pass the exam.
Explanation: ‘In order to’ is followed by the infinitive form ‘pass.’

Rule: Use the gerund form (-ing) after ‘in spite of’ and ‘despite’ when expressing contrast or contradiction.
Example: In spite of feeling tired, she continued working.
Explanation: ‘In spite of’ is followed by the gerund form ‘feeling.’

Rule: Use the infinitive form after ‘to be’ when expressing obligation or necessity.
Example: You are to complete this assignment by tomorrow.
Explanation: ‘Are to’ is followed by the infinitive form ‘complete.’

Rule: Use the infinitive form after ‘it’s time,’ ‘it’s high time,’ and ‘it’s about time’ when expressing that something should happen or be done.
Example: It’s high time to start your own business.
Explanation: ‘It’s high time’ is followed by the infinitive form ‘to start.’

Rule: Use the past subjunctive form after ‘wish,’ ‘if only,’ and ‘as if’ when expressing a hypothetical situation, regret, or unreal condition.
Example: I wish I knew the answer.
Explanation: ‘Wish’ is followed by the past subjunctive form ‘knew.’

Rule: Use the past participle form after ‘have,’ ‘has,’ or ‘had’ in passive voice sentences.
Example: The cake has been baked by her.
Explanation: ‘Has been’ is followed by the past participle form ‘baked.’

Rule: Use the gerund form (-ing) after ‘by’ when expressing the means or method by which an action is done.
Example: By practicing daily, he improved his skills.
Explanation: ‘By’ is followed by the gerund form ‘practicing.’

Rule: Use the base form of the verb after ‘had better,’ ‘would rather,’ and ‘would sooner’ when expressing advice or preference.
Example: You had better leave now to avoid traffic.
Explanation: ‘Had better’ is followed by the base form ‘leave.’

Rule: Use the base form of the verb after the word ‘why’ when forming a question.
Example: Why take the risk?
Explanation: ‘Why’ is followed by the base form ‘take.’

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Rule: Use the infinitive form after ‘try’ when expressing an attempt to do something different or a new approach.
Example: She tried to change her study habits.
Explanation: ‘Tried’ is followed by the infinitive form ‘to change.’

Rule: Use the gerund form (-ing) after ‘try’ when expressing an attempt to see the outcome of an action.
Example: Try adding some spices to the dish.
Explanation: ‘Try’ is followed by the gerund form ‘adding.’

Rule: Use the gerund form (-ing) after ‘regret’ when expressing a past action that one wishes had not happened.
Example: She regrets leaving her job.
Explanation: ‘Regrets’ is followed by the gerund form ‘leaving.’

Rule: Use the infinitive form after ‘regret’ when announcing bad news or expressing sorrow for a future action.
Example: We regret to inform you that your application has been rejected.
Explanation: ‘Regret’ is followed by the infinitive form ‘to inform.’

Rule: Use the gerund form (-ing) after ‘remember’ when expressing a recollection of a past action.
Example: I remember visiting that museum when I was a child.
Explanation: ‘Remember’ is followed by the gerund form ‘visiting.’

Rule: Use the infinitive form after ‘remember’ when expressing the need to perform a future action.
Example: Remember to call your parents tonight.
Explanation: ‘Remember’ is followed by the infinitive form ‘to call.’

Rule: Use the gerund form (-ing) after ‘forget’ when expressing a past action that was not performed.
Example: She forgot returning the book to the library.
Explanation: ‘Forgot’ is followed by the gerund form ‘returning.’

Rule: Use the infinitive form after ‘forget’ when expressing the need to perform a future action.
Example: Don’t forget to lock the door before you leave.
Explanation: ‘Forget’ is followed by the infinitive form ‘to lock.’

Rule: Use the gerund form (-ing) after ‘deny’ when expressing a refutation of a past action or accusation.
Example: He denied stealing the money.
Explanation: ‘Denied’ is followed by the gerund form ‘stealing.’

Rule: Use the infinitive form after ‘afford’ when expressing the ability or means to perform an action.
Example: They can’t afford to buy a new car.
Explanation: ‘Afford’ is followed by the infinitive form ‘to buy.’

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Rule: Use the gerund form (-ing) after ‘admit’ when acknowledging a past action or behavior.
Example: He admitted making a mistake.
Explanation: ‘Admitted’ is followed by the gerund form ‘making.’

Rule: Use the infinitive form after ‘agree’ when expressing consent or approval of a future action.
Example: They agreed to help us with the project.
Explanation: ‘Agreed’ is followed by the infinitive form ‘to help.’

Rule: Use the gerund form (-ing) after ‘anticipate’ when expressing expectation or prediction of a future action.
Example: We anticipate receiving the package next week.
Explanation: ‘Anticipate’ is followed by the gerund form ‘receiving.’

Rule: Use the gerund form (-ing) after ‘avoid’ when expressing the prevention or evasion of an action or situation.
Example: He avoids using public transport during rush hour.
Explanation: ‘Avoids’ is followed by the gerund form ‘using.’

Rule: Use the infinitive form after ‘choose’ when expressing a decision or selection of a future action.
Example: She chose to pursue a career in medicine.
Explanation: ‘Chose’ is followed by the infinitive form ‘to pursue.’

Rule: Use the gerund form (-ing) after ‘consider’ when expressing a thought or deliberation about an action or situation.
Example: They are considering moving to another city.
Explanation: ‘Considering’ is followed by the gerund form ‘moving.’

Rule: Use the infinitive form after ‘decide’ when expressing a resolution or determination to perform a future action.
Example: He decided to start his own business.
Explanation: ‘Decided’ is followed by the infinitive form ‘to start.’

Rule: Use the gerund form (-ing) after ‘delay’ when expressing the postponement or deferment of an action or event.
Example: She delayed submitting her application.
Explanation: ‘Delayed’ is followed by the gerund form ‘submitting.’

Rule: Use the infinitive form after ‘expect’ when expressing a belief or anticipation of a future action.
Example: They expect to arrive by 8 pm.
Explanation: ‘Expect’ is followed by the infinitive form ‘to arrive.’

Rule: Use the gerund form (-ing) after ‘forgive’ when expressing the act of pardoning or excusing a past action.
Example: She forgave him for lying to her.
Explanation: ‘Forgave’ is followed by the gerund form ‘lying.’

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Rule: Use the infinitive form after ‘hope’ when expressing a desire or aspiration for a future action or event.
Example: We hope to see you at the party.
Explanation: ‘Hope’ is followed by the infinitive form ‘to see.’

Rule: Use the gerund form (-ing) after ‘imagine’ when expressing the formation of a mental image or concept of an action or situation.
Example: Can you imagine living in a world without technology?
Explanation: ‘Imagine’ is followed by the gerund form ‘living.’

Rule: Use the infinitive form after ‘intend’ when expressing a plan or purpose for a future action.
Example: She intends to study abroad next year.
Explanation: ‘Intends’ is followed by the infinitive form ‘to study.’

Rule: Use the gerund form (-ing) after ‘mention’ when referring to a previously stated or implied action.
Example: He mentioned seeing you at the concert last night.
Explanation: ‘Mentioned’ is followed by the gerund form ‘seeing.’

Rule: Use the infinitive form after ‘offer’ when expressing a proposal or suggestion for a future action.
Example: They offered to help us with the project.
Explanation: ‘Offered’ is followed by the infinitive form ‘to help.’

Rule: Use the gerund form (-ing) after ‘postpone’ when expressing the act of rescheduling or deferring an action or event.
Example: They postponed making a decision until next week.
Explanation: ‘Postponed’ is followed by the gerund form ‘making.’

Rule: Use the infinitive form after ‘promise’ when expressing a declaration or assurance of a future action.
Example: He promised to visit her soon.
Explanation: ‘Promised’ is followed by the infinitive form ‘to visit.’

Rule: Use the gerund form (-ing) after ‘suggest’ when proposing or recommending an action or idea.
Example: She suggested reading the book before watching the movie.
Explanation: ‘Suggested’ is followed by the gerund form ‘reading.’

Rule: Use the infinitive form after ‘threaten’ when expressing an intention or warning of a future action or event.
Example: He threatened to call the police if they didn’t leave.
Explanation: ‘Threatened’ is followed by the infinitive form ‘to call.’

Rule: Use the gerund form (-ing) after ‘enjoy’ when describing the act of deriving pleasure or satisfaction from an action or experience.
Example: They enjoy hiking on weekends.
Explanation: ‘Enjoy’ is followed by the gerund form ‘hiking.’

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