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Mastering the Mechanics: Common Verb Errors

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Mastering the Mechanics: Common Verb Errors

Last updated 5/31/2016


Visual: Walden logo at bottom of screen along with notepad and pencil background.

Audio: Guitar music.


Visual: “Walden University Writing Center. Your writing, grammar, and APA experts” appears in center of screen. Background changes to a close up of a dictionary page and a bright green box that reads: “Mastering the Mechanics: Common Verb Errors.” Slide changes to a mostly gray slide with the heading: Verb Tips.

Below the text reads:

  • Keep your tenses consistent

Wrong: I wrote my paper after I watch the webcast

Correct: I wrote my paper after I watched the webcast

  • Be careful with progressive tenses

Rather than this: I am wanting to earn my degree

Try this: I want to earn my degree

  • Make sure your subject and verbs agree

Wrong: The high school have three choirs

Right: The high school has three choirs.

Audio: A couple of tips to help you with your tenses in your sentences. And the first is you want to keep your tenses consistent. Instead of saying "I wrote my paper after I watch the webcast,” in this sentence, it's not clear when I did these things because the tenses just aren't telling the same story. Instead I want to be consistent: “I wrote my paper after I watched the webcast."

Another tip, and this is something that I see quite frequently in student papers, is that you want to be very careful with those progressive tenses. Progressive tenses are tenses that use some form of the verb "to be" and then a verb in the "ing" form. For example, "Right now I'm presenting this webinar." I'm doing it right at this moment. Now you want to be careful with these progressive tenses because sometimes they just don't make a whole lot of sense. For example, "I am wanting to earn my degree." That makes it sound like well, right at this particular moment, I'm wanting to earn my degree. That doesn't quite sound natural. It's better to say "I want to earn my degree."--that's a fact.

So be careful with those progressive tenses and then finally, just as you want your noun and pronouns to agree, you want your subject and verbs to agree in terms of number: "The high school have three choirs." The high school is a singular noun, "have" is a plural verb. You just want to make sure that your subject and verb agree: “The high school has three choirs."


Visual: “Walden University Writing Center. Questions? E-mail” appears in center of screen.