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Base Form of the Verb - English Grammar

Base Form of the Verb

The base form of the verb is simply the form of the verb that you would see in an English dictionary.

A more traditional explanation of the base form of the verb is this: the base form of the verb consists of the infinitive (e.g., to do, to see, to excel, to pass, to test, etc.) without the to. For more information about infinitives, click here:

Examples of the base form of the verb

Let's look at some examples.

These are verbs in the base form:

  • leave
  • want
  • excel
  • pass

Notice how there is no s, ed, or other part attached to the end of the verb.

These are not verbs in the base form:

  • leaves, left, leaving
  • wants, wanted, wanting
  • excels, excelled, excelling
  • passes, passed, passing

Discussion about the term "Base Form"

Some teachers use different terms to refer to the infinitive without the to. Some of these terms include:

  • bare infinitive
  • root of the verb
  • verb root
  • dictionary form

These terms are also acceptable ways to refer to the base form.

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