Verbs and tenses

Learning focus

To revise verbs and use the past, present and future tenses in your own writing.

This lesson includes:

  • a video to help you revise verbs

  • a video to help you understand past tense verbs

  • four activities


It's important to understand what verbs are before you start writing in different tenses. Watch this short clip to revise verbs.

Learn about verbs.

A verb is a word used to describe an action, state or occurrence.

  • Verbs can be used to describe an action (doing something).

For example, like the word ‘jumping’ in this sentence:

The rabbit was jumping in the field.

  • Verbs can be used to describe a state (being or feeling something).

For example, the word ‘likes’ here:

The monster likes rollercoasters.

  • Verbs can also be used to describe an occurrence (something happening).

For example, the word ‘became’ in this sentence:

The caterpillar became a butterfly.

When writing, make sure every sentence includes a verb.

Now, watch the following clip to learn how past tense verbs are different to present and future verbs.

Learn about verb tenses.

When you are writing, the verbs you use show if the events have already happened, are happening now or will happen in the future.

  • The past tense is used for things that have already happened. Past tense verbs often end in –ed but not always.

For example: I walked to the shop.

  • The present tense is used when something is happening now or when something happens regularly.

For example: I am walking to the shop.

  • The future tense is used to talk about things that haven't happened yet.

For example: I will walk to the shop.


You may need paper and a pen or pencil for some of these activities.

Activity 1: verbs

Highlight all the verbs in the sentences.

Remember: Verbs can be a word used to describe an action, state or occurrence.

Activity 2: present tense

Look at the picture below closely, then write five sentences in the present tense about what the children in the picture are doing.

Try to make your sentences interesting by adding in some impressive vocabulary such as adjectives and adverbs.

Top tip!

To use present tense you should write as if it is happening now.

For example: The child is carefully throwing the ball into the air.

Activity 3: past tense

When verbs are written in the past tense they often end in -ed.

If the word already ends in an e then you just need to add a -d.

For example: free = freed, agree = agreed

However, this is not always the rule. Sometimes the word completely changes.

For example: run = ran

Read the paragraph below and change all the words in bold to the past tense. You can write them out in a list.

Top tip!

Think carefully about how to change the verbs to the past tense. Do you need to add -ed or change the word?

Charlie usually wakes up at 6am on school day. As she is a creature of habit, she always opens the window to see what the weather is like. Then, she races to the bathroom, brushes her teeth and makes her way downstairs to eat her breakfast. She eats her cereal quickly and then drinks her fresh juice. Once she is finished, she runs back upstairs to get dressed. Sometimes it takes her a long time to style her hair. When she is satisfied, she picks up her packed lunch and walks to school.

See how well you did by checking this answer sheet.

Activity 4: future tense

Imagine something you are going to do in the future. It could be going to see a friend, going on a bike ride or going out to play.

Write five sentences in the future tense about what you will do.

For example: I will ride my bike down the hill.

Top tip!

If something is in the future it means you haven't done it yet, but you will someday.

Where next?

In this lesson you have revised verbs and used past, present and future tenses.

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