Subjects, Inversions, and Verb Tenses

Understanding subjects, inversions, and verb tenses will help you to improve your language use. Improving your language use helps you to score higher on the speaking and writing sections of the TOEFL exam. Scoring higher on the TOEFL exam helps you to get admitted into that top-tier university. Getting admitted into that top-tier university will help you to get that high-paying job. Having a job with high salary will help you a high-quality standard of life for you and your family. Do you need any other reasons for learning the important grammar on this web page?

subjects, inversions, and verb tenses

Seven different types of subjects

First of all, using a variety of subjects when you speak and write will help you to more fully express your ideas without grammar limitations. Below are of seven examples subjects that you should be using in your speaking and writing practice.

  • Noun: The rose smells sweet.
  • Pronoun: It is a new car that John bought.
  • Noun clause: What the students said surprised the professor.
  • Gerund: Hiking the Grand Canyon fatigued the scouts.
  • Gerund phrase: Completing the assignment before the end of the semester showed that the students could follow instructions.
  • Infinitive: To run stretches the cardiac tissue of the heart.
  • Infinitive phrase: To get eight of sleep every night requires discipline.
  • Adjectives: The poor need more assistance from the government.

Subject-Verb Inversions

Second of all, try not to always use “subject + verb + object/preposition phrase” word order. Observe the word order changes in the following sentences.

  • Wh-question: Where is the rest of the class?
  • Yes/no qestion: Have you finished the assignment?
  • Signal phrase in the middle of a quoted sentence: “Students should cooperate in groups,” directed the professor, “so that they can get the necessary feedback they need to make substantive revisions.”
  • Signal phrase at the end of a quotation: “All students must complete the research paper by Thursday,” warned Professor Jones at the end of his lecture on photosynthesis.
  • Prepositional phrase of location: At the edge of a lake was a rusty cabin with two vintage cars parked in the tall grass.
  • Fronted almost negative adverbs: Seldom does my ESL teacher come to class late.
  • Fronted negative adverbs: Never has Duaa cheated on a test.
  • Fronted present and past participle phrases: Located on the table is my book.
  • Omission of “if” in conditional clauses using “had,” “should,” or “were.”

Had I not studied, I wouldn’t have received a score of 97% on my algebra test.

Should you call, I will make sure that I am home.

Were I rich, I would buy a new Mercedes.

Third of all, using the appropriate verb tense indicates to TOEFL iBT human raters that you have no limitations with your grammar. In the next 12 sentences, pay attention to the verb tenses used.

  • Simple present: My teacher lives in North Carolina.
  • Present progressive: Oscar is running a marathon right now.
  • Simple past: The Amazon package came early this morning.
  • Past progressive: I was talking to my friend when someone knocked on the door.
  • Future: Most students will pass my class so they needn’t worry.
  • Future progressive: At noon tomorrow, I will be having lunch with Angela.
  • Present perfect: She has never climbed Mount McKinley.
  • Present prefect progressive: I have been studying for three hours now.
  • Past perfect: Grandma had already left by the time we arrived.
  • Past perfect progressive: They had been playing tennis before the storm arrived.
  • Future prefect: By next March, we will have been married for fifty years.
  • Future perfect progressive: Mohammed will have been working at Nissan for five years.

Subjects, Inversions, and Verb Tenses

Now that you have learned about subjects, inversions, and verb tenses, let’s see how well you can control your grammar as your complete a free TOEFL Speaking and free TOEFL writing evaluation.  Your speaking and writing mentor will give you specific feedback to help you pinpoint your grammar limitations.

Good luck!

Michael Buckhoff, mbuckhoff@aol.com

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