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Inflexion of the Verb.

§ 46. Any statement made by a transitive verb (84) may be put in two forms; e.g.

1. The wind drives the ship.
2. The ship is driven by the wind.

A verb is said to be in the Active Voice when (as in 1) the nominative does something, and in the Passive Voice when (as in 2) the nominative has something done to it.

8 47. When a statement is turned from the active to the passive voice, three changes take place.

1. The object becomes the nominative.
2. The verb takes the corresponding passive form.

3. The nominative is made to follow the preposition “by”; but more often, in the passive voice, the agent is suppressed.

$ 48. Only transitive verbs can be put in the passive voice, for intransitive verbs have no objects.

The passive voice is always a compound consisting of the verb “to be” and the past participle of a transitive verb.

$ 49. Sometimes a preposition, adhering to an intransitive verb, gives it the force of a transitive. e.g. Such sentences as :

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and then they may be put in the passive voice; e.g. Freedom is longed-for by captives;I was looked-at by him."


$ 50. There are four moods or manners in which verbs convey their meanings.

The Indicative Mood makes a statement of fact.

The Subjunctive Mood makes a statement not of fact, but a hypothetical statement, or a statement under supposition.

The Imperative Mood gives command or makes entreaty.

All these have relations of time, number, person; but the Infinitive Mood simply conveys a notion without any such relation. e.g. The wind drives the ship. (Indicative.)

If the wind drive the ship, &c. (Subjunctive.)
O wind ! drive the ship. (Imperative.)
The wind must drive the ship. (Infinitive. $69.)

$ 51. The Infinitive Mood, or Infinite parts of a verb-i.e. such as are not limited by the number and person of the nominative case (8 65)—serve in sentences as nouns, adjectives, or adverbs.

I. Those serving as nouns are :

Verbal Nouns (two forms, e.g. to see, seeing); Gerunds (one form, seeing); Complementary Infinitives (one form, see).

To distinguish Verbal nouns ending in -ing from Gerunds in -ing :

(1) Verbal nouns have the characteristics of nouns. They are qualified by adjectives, and take case and number.

e.g. We heard loud wailings.

The pruncings of their mighty ones. (2) Gerunds have more the nature of verbs. They denote the carrying on of some action, have no inflexion, and such as are transitive govern an object.

e.g. Punished for not learning his lesson. To make a complete verb, such words as may, can, shall, will, and must, require to be followed by complementury infinitives.

e.9. The heir shuull have his own again. II. Serving as adjectives :

The Participles—Imperf., seeing, e.y. Men seeing their way; Perf., seen, e.y The way seen by the men. The Infinitive —to see, e.g. A promise to see about it.

There is a necessary distinction between the gerund preceding a noun as an adjective, and the participle in -ing e.g. A walking stick ( = a stick for walking.–Gerund.)

A walking doll (= a doll that walks.—Participle.) III. Serving as adverbs :

The Infinitive-to see, e.g. Easy to see. A telescope (constructed) to see twenty miles. They came to see him.


· $ 52. Two tenses only are expressed by simple verbs :

The Present

(we) walk (we) write


The Past (we) walked (we) wrote By the method in which the past tense is formed, two kinds of verbs are distinguished. Those that express past time by a change of vowel are called Strong Verbs, and those which need an added syllable are Weak Verbs.

Sometimes the added syllable is found to have become dropped by quick speaking.

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said (=sayed) swept (=sweeped) lent (=lended)

$ 53. The natural division of time is into Past, Present, and Future, and statements may be made with relation to any one of these tenses.

Again, in past, present, or future time an action may be spoken of as Imperfect or Perfect. So far then there result six tense-forms; but in each of these cases we may further represent an action as continuous or not. Hence in full conjugation there are twelve tense-forms.


Imperfect, I wait.

I am waiting.
Perfect, I have waited. I have been waiting.

| Imperfect, I waited. I was waiting Past

Perfect, I had waited. I had been waiting.
Imperfect, I shall wait.

I shall be waiting. Future Perfect, I shall have I shall have been



Many verbs, especially intransitive verbs with an idea of motion, frequently form their present-perfect and past-perfect tenses with is and was, instead of have and had. e.g. The minstrel boy to the war is gone (= has gone).

The robin and the wren are flown ( = have flown). $ 54. Each tense has two numbers, singular and plural, and each number three persons. The number and person of a verb correspond with the number and person of the subject of the sentence. $ 55. The eight verbs—be, do, have, may, can, shall

, will, must, are called auxiliary, because they assist in making those compound forms which serve, instead of inflected forms, to express relations of voice, mood, tense. (SS 50–53.)

$ 56. When auxiliary to some other verb,

be with its forms is used in the passive voice and in the subjunctive mood.

do with its forms is used in asking questions and in emphatic assertions.

have with its forms is used in the perfect tenses.

shall and will with their forms are used in the future tenses.

should, would, may, might, can, could, are used in the subjunctive mood.

$ 57. It must be particularly observed that these eight verbs are less frequently used as relational or auxiliary than as notional verbs. In the latter case they retain their original meaning, or have acquired new power through idiom. e.g. The heir shall have his own again ( = is bound to have).

Sorrow should be dumb ( = ought to be).
The storm could lift the waves no higher ( = was able).

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