Topic: Verb phrase

These resources cover verb phrases: phrases with a verb as the Head word. A verb phrase can have a main verb on its own (e.g. He gobbled the chocolate), or a main verb together with one or more helping verbs called auxiliary verbs (e.g. He is gobbling the chocolate; He has been gobbling chocolate all morning).

Building verb phrases

In this resource we’ll look at how verb phrases can be built up by putting auxiliary verbs and main verbs together.

Building verb phrases: Activity

In this activity, use the interactive whiteboard to build verb phrases. Can you use all the words and make every verb phrase grammatical?

Encourage your students to explore the meaning of the verb phrases they construct: how does the use of modal verbs affect the meaning of the main verb, for example? What about the tense?

Drag words next to each other and they will 'snap' together. Double-click to 'unsnap'.

Passives with 'get'

Goals

  • Identify the difference between a get-passive and a standard passive.
  • Describe some of the differences between get-passives and standard passives in terms of grammar, semantics, and pragmatics.

Lesson Plan

The teacher explains that today, we will look at passives.

First, let's briefly review our understanding of actives, and of passives and get-passives. 

Passives with 'get': Activity

Uncle Ahmed was bitten by the snake.
Uncle Ahmed got bitten by the snake.

A large house was demolished on Westmoreland Hill.
A large house got demolished on Westmoreland Hill.

These temples were abandoned in medieval times.
These temples got abandoned in medieval times.

Tense and aspect in fiction

In this activity we will examine some short extracts from novels. The idea is to look at the tense and aspect forms used, and think about how they are used to unfold the action of the story.

Tense and aspect in fiction: Activity

It was after supper, and I was reading and smoking at the table. Algie was playing patience and drumming a tattoo with his fingers, and Gus was outside checking on the dogs. Suddenly he burst in. 'Chaps! Outside, quick!'

Verb images

This lesson asks students to think about tense and aspect, what they mean, and how else we can communicate those meanings.

Goals

  • Identify verb tense and aspect. 
  • Explain the meaning of verb tense and aspect. 
  • Use multimodal literacy skills to present information from words as pictures. 

Lesson Plan

The teacher explains that today, we will be describing some pictures using language, and then drawing some pictures to describe language.

Verb images: Activity

The girls are rehearsing a song.

Several boys were playing football.

Sally has studied French for three years.

John has been studying French for one hour.

 

Aspect and tense

Look at the highlighted verb phrase in each example, then decide which category of tense and aspect to place it in.

Identify the type of phrase

Identify the type of phrase (noun phrase, preposition phrase, etc.) in each of the examples. Although we have included verb phrases as an option, remember that the National Curriculum calls these clauses.

 

Identify the verb phrase Head

Identify the Head in each of the following bracketed verb phrases. Click on the word (or words) that comprise the Head of each verb phrase to select or deselect them.

Remember that the National Curriculum refers to verb phrases as clauses.

 

Perfect or progressive aspect?

Decide whether the highlighted verb phrase is perfect aspect or progressive aspect?

Clauses

Clauses are considered to be very important units in the study of language. But what is a clause? What makes it different from a word, a phrase, or a sentence? Why are clauses so important?

A clause is a powerful structure because it can express a whole situation. Here’s an example:

Phrasal verbs

What is a phrasal verb? Phrasal verbs consist of a combination of a verb and another word, which we’ll call a preposition. Some examples are come over, look (something) up. The first word in a verb-preposition combination can be just about any verb. The verbs that most commonly appear in such combinations are listed below:

Phrasal verbs: New phrasal verbs

There are many phrasal verbs that you won’t find in any dictionary. This is because we commonly create new phrasal verbs based on the meanings of existing phrasal verbs. Usually, new phrasal verbs are either transparent or aspectual – new idiomatic phrasal verbs would usually be too difficult for listeners to decode. Perhaps you’ve heard examples like the following:

Phrasal verbs: Three categories

Non-native speakers are often told that their only option is to memorise each phrasal verb individually. Is it really necessary to do all that work? No. Not only is it unnecessary, it’s inefficient. And it’s inefficient for three reasons:

Phrases

phrase consists of one or more words that belong together. It takes one of the major word class elements (noun, adjective, etc.) as its Head.

Verb phrases

The National Curriculum does not recognise verb phrases as such. Instead, the notion of clause is defined as "a special type of phrase whose head is a verb".

Here at Englicious we use the term 'verb phrase' in a slightly different way. For us verb phrases are phrases whose Head word is a verb, called the main verb (sometimes also called a lexical verb).

A verb phrase includes a single main verb, either:

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