Verb Conjugation

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Meaning of Verb Conjugation

The conjugation of a verb refers to the simple arrangement of a verbOpens in new window into the categories of personOpens in new window, genderOpens in new window, and numberOpens in new window.

Basically, this is what it means to conjugate a verb.

The moodsOpens in new window and tensesOpens in new window are formed partly by inflections, or variation of verb forms, and partly by the combination of the verb or its participle, with a few short verbs known as auxiliaries (also called Helping VerbsOpens in new window).

The present tense is usually the same in all the moods, and is the part from which all the rest are formed.

The following chart contains examples, showing the conjugations of the present, past, and future tenses in the simple form of the verb “to run.”

Person/NumberPresent TensePast TenseFuture Tense
1st Person singular (CG)I runI ranI will run
2nd Person singular (CG)you runyou ranyou will run
3rd Person singular
(Gender: M/F/N)
he/she/it runhe/she/it ranhe/she/it will run
1st Person Plural (CG)we runwe ranwe will run
2nd Person Plural (CG)you runyou ranyou will run
3rd Person Plural (CG)they runthey ranthey will run

Observing the chart carefully, you will notice in terms of person, the verbs are arranged in the order of first, second, and third person. In terms of number, the first set of three forms is singular, and the second set of three forms is plural.

When it comes to gender it can be a little tricky. In the first and second person, as well as in the third person plural, the gender category is specified as common gender (CG), being that those forms of the conjugation can be used for either masculine or feminine subjects.

In other words, the pronouns “I,” “we,” “you,” and “they” are used with reference to both male and female.

In the third person singular, however, the indication of gender is specific. In this category, the verbal constructions indicate masculine (he ran), feminine (she ran), and neuter (it ran) genders.

The conjugation of a verb in the active form is called the Active voiceOpens in new window, and that in the passive form is called the Passive voice.

Because English verbs change so little, it isn’t necessary to learn “to conjugate a verb;” that is, to list all its possible forms. For most verbs, it is much simpler to say that the verb adds an “-s” in the 3rd person singular.

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