Posted by: episystechpubs | January 21, 2015

Editor’s Corner: The “Will” Test for Verbs

Let’s continue from where we left off yesterday. I think it was the swamp of verbs and The McGraw-Hill Handbook of English Grammar and Usage definition and examples:

The defining characteristic of all verbs is that verbs (and only verbs) have tenses: present, past, and future. Unless a word can be used in the present, past, and future tense, it is not a verb—no exceptions. Verbs come in two flavors: regular and irregular. Regular verbs form their past tenses in an absolutely regular way by adding –ed (sometimes just –d if the verb already ends in an e). Irregular verbs form their past tense in some other irregular way, often by changing the vowel of the verb.

Examples:

Present: Wilbur always remembers his mother’s birthday.

Orville always forgets his mother’s birthday.

Past: Wilbur remembered his mother’s birthday this year.

Orville forgot his mother’s birthday this year.

Future: Wilbur will remember his mother’s birthday this year.

Orville will forget his mother’s birthday this year.

The Will Test for Verbs

If you can put will in front of a word and the result is grammatical, then that word must be a verb.

Ah-ha! Another handy test to see what part of speech a word is being used for. Let’s test some examples:

Initial sentences:

· He planted a row of strawberries.

· I row to Bainbridge Island every morning.

Applying the Will Test for Verbs:

· He planted a (will) row of strawberries. (Sounds horrible. In this case, row is a noun.)

· I (will) row to Bainbridge Island every morning. (That works! In this case, row is a verb.)

http://www.gocomics.com/nonsequitur/2015/01/13 Thanks for sending this, Kathy S.!

Kara Church

Technical Editor, Advisory


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