Well, for a review, a verb is a word that shows action or a state of being.
- action: sing, dance, hop
- state of being: feel, seem, appear
Now that we're reminded of what a verb is, here are the tips:
1) Be consistent with tenses.
Examples:2) With regard to infinitives (a verb with the word "to" ahead of it), remember not to put lots of words between the "to" and the verb, otherwise you risk confusing your reader.
- Paolo stood up and drops his sandwich. (WRONG: stood - past tense; drops - present tense)
- Paolo stood up and dropped his sandwich. (CORRECT: stood - past tense; dropped - past tense)
Examples:3) Use the active voice most of the time. You could use the passive voice when:
- Genevieve wants to quickly and rapidly, without loss of precious and valuable time, finish the race. (CONFUSING)
- Genevieve wants to quickly and rapidly finish the race without loss of precious and valuable time. (BETTER)
- the doer of the action is not important or is not known4) Gerunds (verbs ending in "ing") are usually used with possessive nouns or pronouns.
- Example: Classes are cancelled today! (Students don't usually bother to know who made the announcement.)
- you want to be polite
- Example: Your request was not granted. (Instead of saying, "We did not grant your request.")
- emphasis should be given on the thing being talked about
- Example: A check will be given to the winner of the Megalotto. (Instead of saying, "The winner will receive the check.")
- writing in an impersonal, scientific manner
- Example: The test samples were organized into three groups. (Instead of saying, "My classmate and I organized the test samples into three groups.)
5) Use the subjunctive mood in "what if" or "if only" sentences, or for suggestions, commands, urgency, and recommendations.
- Example: Bea likes my eating spicy food. ("Bea likes me eating spicy food." is not correct).
Examples:6) Be careful of irregular verbs. While some follow a pattern, others do not.
- If Angel were to win the Lotto, what do you think she would buy?
- I humbly suggest that we take the second option immediately.
Examples of those that follow a pattern:There are many other similarly situated irregular verbs, That's why we have to be careful of these things in the IELTS.
- blow - blew - blown
- grow - grew - grown
Examples of those that don't follow a pattern:
- drink - drank - drunk
- sink - sank - sunk
- BUT for "think"... it's not "think" - "thank" - "thunk"; it's rather think - thought - thought
Attribution to Rebecca Elliot and her book Painless Grammar (c) 2006, 1997
Adverb and Adjective Pointers are next.