Self Teaching Unit:

THE VERB EXPANSION RULE

2006 Margaret L. Benner   All rights reserved.

The verb expansion rule provides a formula that covers every predicate verb possibility in the English language.

The entire formula looks like this:

                        T + (M) + (have + en) + (be + ing) + (be + en) + MV

The items in parentheses are optional items. 
The items not in parentheses are necessary for every verb.

MV = main verb

Every verb must have a main verb.

    For example:   

       

T = tense

Every verb must indicate a time.  Simple tenses are present and past.

    For example:    

                                                

Thus, the simplest form of every verb could be written using only the essential parts of the verb expansion rule

                                  T + MV    (Tense + Main Verb)

To illustrate the specific verb, we designate the tense and the main verb:

                                            

The tense (present or past) is applied to what follows it -- in this case, the main verb.

Try Exercise 1 to see whether you understand this basic part of the verb expansion rule.

Expanding the rule

The rule begins to expand when we add the items in parentheses.  They may be used or not used in any combination.  When used together, however, they must always be used in the order given in the rule.

This addition expands the smallest form of the verb rule to

                            T + M + MV

There are four  modal auxiliary verbs with  both present and past tenses.

                   

The modal auxiliary must has no tense designations.

Each part of the verb expansion rule influences what follows it.  Thus, with the modal addition, the tense marker (T) will designate the tense of the modal auxiliary.

To add a modal auxiliary to the verb, indicate present or past tense, write the base (present) modal form and follow it with the base form of the main verb. (When writing the rule, always use the base form of the main verb and any auxiliary verbs.)

       

       

Do Exercise 2 now to make sure that you understand modal auxiliary verbs.

To add has / have  to the verb,  change the form of the verb:  Add the -en ending to the main verb.

Thus, the present verb eat becomes has eaten or have eaten, depending on the subject.

      

Because adding the auxiliary verb have to the main verb always requires adding the -en ending to the main verb,  the  + - en is included inside the parentheses with have.

                                     (have + -en)

Notes:
        1.  The verb expansion rule always uses the generic have, even if the final form will appear
              as has or  had.
         2. 
The -en ending may not look like -en in the final verb.The -en ending is used to designate
                all endings that are used with the auxiliary verb have. (e.g. has sat, have thought, had
                drawn, have talked)

Now  the rule expands to include have + en:

                                    T + have + -en + MV

As before, the tense designation (T)  is applied to whatever follows it.  In this case, that will be the auxiliary verb have. 
In addition, now the -en ending (have + -en) will apply to whatever follows it.  In this case, that will be the main verb.

        

Click on Exercise 3, where you will add have + -en to the main verb.

If  both a modal auxiliary and have + en are used with the main verb, the verb expansion rule expands to

                                    T + M + have + -en + MV

The tense designation is applied to whatever follows it -- in this case the modal auxiliary.

   Examples:

       

Do Exercise 4 to check your understanding.

To add be to the verb,  change the form of the verb:  Add -ing to the main verb.

Thus, the present verb eat becomes is eating, are eating, was eating, or were eating.

       

Because adding the auxiliary verb be to the main verb always requires adding the -ing ending to the main verb,  the  + - ing is included inside the parentheses with be.

                                     (be + ing)

Note: The verb expansion rule always uses the generic be, even if the final form will appear as is, are, was, or were.

Now the  rule expands to include be + ing:

                                    T + be + ing + MV

As before, the tense is applied to whatever follows it.  In this case, that will be the auxiliary verb be.
In addition, now the -ing will apply to whatever follows it.  In this case, that will be the main verb.

            

Do Exercise 5 to see how well you understand the addition of be + -ing to the main verb..

If  both a modal auxiliary and be + ing are used with the main verb, the verb expansion rule expands to

                                    T + M + be + -ing + MV

The tense designation, along with the -en and -ing endings, should be applied to whatever follows each one.

   Examples:

        

If  a modal auxiliaryhave + en, and be + -ing are used with the main verb, the verb expansion rule expands to

                                    T + M + have + -en + be + ing + MV

Again, the tense designation, along with the -en and -ing endings, should be applied to whatever follows each one.

   Examples:

       

Go to Exercise 6 to check your understanding so far.

Adding be + -en to the main verb will make the verb passive.
This change will mean that the subject of the sentence will not do the action of the verb; instead,
  the subject will be acted upon.

Now the rule expands to include be + -en:

                                    T + be + -en + MV

Here too, the tense designation and the -en ending apply to whatever follows them.

       

Try Exercise 7 to check your understanding of the passive be + -en addition.

The passive be + -en option may be used with any other optional part of the verb expansion rule.

   Examples

        

       

       

Now do Exercise 8.

If all of the other optional parts of the verb expansion rule are used with be + -en, the verb expansion rule expands to its full potential.

  Examples           

These examples show the full expansion rule at work:

             T + (M) + (have + en) + (be + ing) + (be + en) + MV    

Click on the Post Test  to see how well you understand the Verb Expansion Rule.