Transitive and Intransitive Verbs: Spot the Difference

Got Zombie? by April McGuire
Before you say anything, yes, I know. I’ve been a bad blogger. It’s been nearly two weeks since my last post. But I have a really good excuse. In addition to being swamped with editing work, I was also putting together the first issue of The Ghouls’ Review for my other, other job over at Grammar Ghoul Press. If you have some time, you should check out the magazine. There are some really awesome writers featured in the issue. Continue reading

The Copious Configurations of the Future Tense

headless_horseman_by_adamguzowski-d30oq2oWelcome, dear readers, to the fourth and final installment of my posts about verb tenses. I know I’ve been slacking off lately, but things have been a bit hectic, what with setting up Grammar Ghoul Press and dealing with a variety of other real world commitments. Continue reading

The Many Manifestations of the Present Tense

bride_of_frankenstein_by_abigaillarson-d5mm0b5Goodness! September is proving to be a very busy month, brimming with change.

Before I get to the topic of today’s post, I’d like to let you know that I have a new ultra-secret project in the works. I can’t say too much, but I can tell you that it will be a unique space for writers—and for readers too. Sometime in the next couple of weeks, I will unveil my secret project here, as well as announcing it to my email list. Keep your eye on this space for some exciting news!

Okay, moving on to today’s topic. Recently, I gave you an overview of verb tenses. And I promised to delve into each one in more detail. Today, we’re going to look at the Present Tense and its different forms.

Simple Present I ooze.
Present Progressive I am oozing.
Present Perfect I have oozed.
Present Perfect Progressive I have been oozing.

Simple Present

The simple present tense is typically used to express one of the following things:

  1. Regular or repeated actions in the present.
  2. Facts and general truths.
  3. Habitual actions.
  4. Scheduled events.

However, you’ll notice that we also used the simple present to express actions that happened in the past when we talk to each other (Amy says you snuck out last night; Franz tells us you howled at the moon).

Present Progressive

The present progressive tense is used to express an ongoing action that is happening right now. It is formed by combining the helping verb “be” (am, is, are) with the present participle (verb ending in –ing) of the action verb.

  • Steve! Your ghoul is oozing all over my clean floors!

Note: Typically, only action verbs (and not stative verbs) use the present progressive form.

Present Perfect

The present perfect tense is used to express an action that finished (or was perfected) at an unspecified time in the past, or an action that started in the past and continued to the present.

  • The zombies have eaten six brains.

It’s confusing, right? The tense is present perfect, but sometimes the action it describes takes place only in the past. Well, I didn’t name the tenses. But, for the record, we generally use present perfect to express past actions that have happened more recently (George has transmogrified at every full moon this year.), while we use simple past for events that happened in the more distant past (George’s father transmogrified one hundred years ago.).

Present Perfect Progressive

The present perfect progressive tense is used to express an ongoing action that started in the past, continues in the present, and may continue into the future. It is formed by combining has been/have been with the present participle (verb ending in –ing) of the action verb.

  • Frankenstein’s bride has been primping for hours.

As with present perfect, the present perfect progressive form is often used to express past actions that happened more recently—and this use is often indicated by adding just (Igor has just been cleaning cobwebs from the bridal suite.).

Note: Typically, only action verbs (and not stative verbs) use the present perfect progressive form.

Okay, so that is the present tense and all its forms. We’ll look at past tense in the not-too-distant future.

Image credit: AbigailLarson @ deviantART

The Scary World of Verb Tenses

dalek_by_ilmarinenn-d2y51xmGoodness, I’ve been a bad blogger lately! Between a mountain of work, and getting my son ready to go back to school, I’ve barely had time to sleep, let alone blog. But I’m here now. So let’s jump right into the deep end and tackle English verb tenses!

Wait! Don’t hit the back button! I promise to be gentle.

If you’ve ever googled English verb tenses, you know how crazy the results are. I bet you quickly closed your browser and walked away from your computer. Heck, maybe you even ran screaming from the room.

Well, despite what the Internet might try to tell you, verb tenses aren’t so scary. First of all, they exist for a reason. Most importantly, they tell us when something happens (or happened, or will happen). And there are only three options: the present, the past, or the future.

  • Present: He invokes.
  • Past: He invoked.
  • Future: He will invoke.

Makes sense, right?

Okay, so where people get tripped up is when we start talking about forms. The forms above are known as Simple. In addition, there is also Perfect, Progressive (or Continuous), and Perfect Progressive (or Perfect Continuous).

But why?

Well, the different forms tell us more about the timing of something AND they also tell us if something is (or was, or will be) ongoing or complete. In the charts below, I walk you through each of the three tenses and their four different forms.

Present Tense:

Simple present: I exterminate. This is happening now.
Present progressive: I am exterminating. This ongoing thing is in the process of happening.
Present perfect: I have exterminated. This started in the past and continued to happen until now.
Present perfect progressive: I have been exterminating. This ongoing thing started in the past, continues to the present, and may continue to happen in the future.

Past Tense:

Simple past: I exterminated. This happened in the past and is complete.
Past progressive: I was exterminating. This ongoing thing happened in the past over a period of time.
Past perfect: I had exterminated. This happened in the past before something else that also happened in the past.
Past perfect progressive: I had been exterminating. This ongoing thing happened in the past and is complete.

Future Tense:

Simple future: I will exterminate. This will happen in the future.
Future progressive: I will be exterminating. This ongoing thing will start to happen in the future and continue for some time.
Future perfect: I will have exterminated. This will happen in the future and will be finished by a specific time, also in the future.
Future perfect progressive: I will have been exterminating. This ongoing thing will happen in the future and will be finished by a specific time, also in the future.

If you made it this far, pat yourself on the back (and let me know in the comments)! Next time, I’ll break down the present tense and its forms in more detail. Then I’ll do the same for past and future.

In the meantime, I encourage you to read through the examples above and ask questions, if you have any.

Linking up with the moonshine grid over at yeah write.
It’s the place to be!


Image credit: Ilmarinenn @ deviantART

W is for…

Wizard-warlockHappy July, my dear readers! If you celebrated your country’s birthday or independence or something similar in the last week or so, I hope you had a great time. My Canada Day celebrations began with a tornado warning and ended with fireworks, which I think sums up my country pretty nicely. Wild and beautiful.

Okay, so it’s time for the next instalment of my Vocabulary Series. Today, I warmly welcome the wise and the whatnot to allow the letter W to wash over your wonderfully whimsical selves.

This first word is a verb that makes me think of soft summer days at the beach.

Waft (verb)

Etymology:   First appears around 1500, meaning to move gently through the air. Likely comes from the Middle Dutch/Middle Low German word wachten, meaning to guard. It might also be related to the Scottish/Northern English word waff, meaning to make something move to and fro.

Definition:  To float or glide gently through the air (can also refer to scents).

Example:   Wanda the werepup wept as she watched her balloon waft away on the warm summer breeze.


My second word choice started out with one meaning and evolved to mean something a little different but a whole lot more interesting!

Warlock (noun)

Etymology:   First appears in the 1680s in Scotland, meaning the male equivalent of a witch. Comes from the Old English word wærloga, meaning traitor, liar, enemy, or devil. Wærloga comes from wær, which refers to faith and fidelity or an agreement or covenant, and in turn comes from the Proto-Germanic wera– and the Proto-Indo-European wereo-, meaning true or trustworthy. Loga comes from the early Old English word leogan, meaning to lie. Its use to describe someone in league with the devil dates to around 1300, while its use to describe a male witch or sorcerer appears in the 1560s.

Definition:   A man who practices witchcraft; a wizard or sorcerer.

Example:  The kindly neighbourhood warlock took pity on Wanda; with a wave of his wand, Wanda’s wayward balloon was returned to her waiting hands.


And my final word choice is one that is loaded with meaning, both socially and politically. I was pleasantly surprised to discover its innocuous origins.

Wife (noun)

Etymology:   Comes from the Old English word wif, meaning woman, female, lady, and occasionally wife. Wif comes from the Proto-Germanic wiban, a word with unknown origins that also means woman. A number of other old European languages have similar words for woman (Old Norse vif, Danish and Swedish viv, Middle Dutch wiif, Old High German wib, and the German Weib). One possible Proto-Indo-European root is weip-, meaning to twist, turn, or wrap, which could suggest a veiled person.

Wif evolved into wifman, which is where the modern English word woman comes from. The modern meaning to refer to a female spouse started to emerge in Old English, but the original meaning is still preserved in a number of other words, like midwife and fishwife—and also in expressions like old wives’ tale.

Definition:   A married woman, especially in relation to her spouse.

Example:  Once Wanda’s balloon was securely tied to her wrist, the warlock’s wife whisked Wanda home.


As always, etymological information and definitions come from a combination of the Oxford Dictionary of Etymological English, the Oxford Dictionaries Online, and the Online Etymology Dictionary.


Image credit:  Guro deviantART

Allude, Elude, and Illude: What’s the Difference?

1967 black Chevrolet ImpalaI was reading an article earlier today and noticed the writer had used allude instead of elude, so I thought I’d write about the difference between those two words—and figured I might as well include the lesser-known illude while I was at it.

Unlike anyhow and anyway, which are interchangeable under certain circumstances, none of these words are interchangeable. Here’s why:

Allude is a verb. It is used to refer to, or call attention to, something or someone indirectly.

  • “You know, the annoying demon with the receding hairline and the smug smile.” Sam alluded to Crowley so as not to summon the King of Hell by mistake.

Elude is also a verb. But it means to escape or avoid capture, usually in a skillful way. It can also be used to indicate a failure to achieve or understanding something.

  • Dean made sure the trap was secure while Sam made the call. That sneaky demon had eluded the Winchesters for the last time.

Illude is a verb too. But it’s one you won’t see very often. It means to trick or deceive.

  • Dude, if you think you can illude me into lending you my car, you better have another think coming.

The interesting thing is that all three words share a common root, which might explain the tendency to confuse them. Allude, elude, and illude all come from the Latin word ludere, meaning to play. The difference is all in the prefix, which just goes to show how important the little things really are.

I’ll leave you with an example that includes all three words:

  • Your minion alluded to how you planned to elude us, so we illuded you by letting you think you were getting away with it.


FYI, etymological information and definitions come from a combination of the Oxford Dictionary of Etymological English, the Oxford Dictionaries Online, and the Online Etymology Dictionary.

Linking up with the moonshine grid over at yeah write again this weekend. It’s the weekend and anything goes, so come join us!


Image credit: Google Images