Grammar Rules: Present Perfect Tense

Written by Leny Ortega
Like simple tenses, perfect or sometimes called compound tenses have three categories namely: Present Perfect, Past Perfect, and Future Perfect. Each of these has a corresponding usage depending on the time of action is completed or intended to be done.


Present Perfect Tense is used to express an action happened at an unspecific time before now. The exact time is not important.  Unlike the simple past tense, the action is done at a particular time. Hence, time expression such as yesterday, last month, etc. must be stated. The only time expressions accepted in this tense are: ever, never, once, many times, several times, before, so far, already, yet, etc.

FORM: for singular subject =Has + past participle of the given verb
                For plural subject   = Have + past participle of the given verb

Example 1: I have seen the movie Serendipity more than ten times.
Present perfect tense is also used to talk about change that has happened over a period of time.

Example 2: My English has improved since I migrated to America.
We also use the present perfect tense of the verb to tell an action that began in the past but continues up to the present.

Example 3: I have been in Japan since October.

Exercise: Choose the correct form of the present perfect tense in the following sentences.

  1. My friend Claire (has been, have been, was) in England for six months.
  2. Many policemen (have died, has died, died) in the Mindanao siege.
  3. The army (has attacked, have attacked, attacked) that city five times.
  4. The principal (has been, have been, was) in the meeting since this morning.
  5. The baby (has grown, have grown, grew) so fast!


1.) The correct answer to this number is Has been for the following reasons: first, the subject, Claire is singular that is why we use HAS not HAVE. Second, the exact time she moved to England was not stated. But, the action began six months ago and until now she is still in England.

2.) The answer here is Have died. The subject is plural (policemen) therefore, have must be used together with the past participle of the verb die. We cannot use the simple past tense here (died) because the specific time is not mentioned.

3.) The answer is has attacked. Again, there is no specific time when the attacked happened. But the idea here is that from the first time the city was attacked until now it happened only six times.

4.) The correct answer is Has been. The subject (principal) is singular so, has been is used. This sentence means that the meeting started in the morning until the time of speaking the meeting is still on-going.

5.) The sentence tells us that the change happened for a period of time (but unspecified).

October 2014 Civil Service Exam Topnotchers

The Civil Service Commission has now released the top 10 of the October 2014 Civil Service Exam Topnotchers, both Professional and Subprofessional levels. There are 140, 906 Professional Examinees, 19, 344 (11.93%) passed. Out of the 22, 334 examinees,2,537 (11.36% passed).

Mark Allen Galope of NCR bested the almost 141,000 examinees garnering a score of 90.52%, while Richedlhyne Orbeta topped the 22,000 examinees for the Subprofessional Exams. Below are the list of topnotchers in both levels.

Civil Service Professional Level Topnotchers

1. Mark Allen Galope, 90.52 (NCR)
2. Jose Maria Hizon, 89.85 (NCR)
3. Anna Clarita Sangkal, 89.62 (Region 4)
4. Bea Czarina Bartolome, 89.56 (Region 4)
5. Ervin Balili, 89.45 (NCR)
6. John Mark Tayona, 89.33 (NCR)
6. Nina Johanna Pedrosa, 89.33 (Region 6)
7. Nathaniel Barretto, 89.32 (NCR)
8. Rose Anne Padillo, 89.29 (Region 6)
9. Ma. Paola Francesca Lizares, 89.28 (NCR)
9. Rochelle Ann Labina, 89.28 (Region 12)
10. Rachel Mae Panganiban, 89.12 (Region 4)

Civil Service Subprofessional Level Topnotchers

1. Richedlhyne Orbeta, 88.64 (Region 4)
2. Kristine Anne Bernadette Tumlad, 88.58 (NCR)
2. Feli Jan Wenson Bagares, 88.58 (Region 10)
3. Eloiza Marie Manglugay, 87.91 (CAR)
4. Joanna Cristina Balasbas, 87.83 (NCR)
5. Jamie Paul Medrano, 87.79 (NCR)
6. Jenelyn Malayo, 87.58 (Region 4)
7. Olive Artillaga, 87.21 (Region 4)
7. Mark Vincent Delos Santos, 87.21 (Region 4)
8. Mary Joy Padilla, 87.18 (NCR)
9. Kristian Mark Sueta, 87.06 (Region 8)
10. Prince Nikko Parrilla, 86.87 (Region 6)

Congratulations to all the topnotchers as well as the passers.

Grammar Rules: Past Tense

Written by Leny Ortega

In the last post, we talked about Present Tense. In this post, we continue our series on tenses with Past Tense.

Past tense is used to denote actions that are completed in the definite past time. This tense of the verb generally uses definite time expression when the action really took place or happened. These time expressions are: yesterday, last night, last month, two years ago, etc.

To form the verb in the past tense the following are observed:

  • For regular verbs you just add d or ed for example: talk = talked, walk = walked, etc
  • For irregular verb a change of spelling is necessary. Examples: Write= wrote, eat =ate
  • For auxiliary verb the following are the forms:

Singular = was, had, did

Plural = were, had, did


  1. Pope Francis visited the typhoon victims at Palo Leyte yesterday.
  2. The principal asked the teachers to submit their lesson plans for checking last Tuesday.
  3. He visited Davao last month.
  4. The Pope waved his hands at the people waiting for his arrival at the airport last Thursday.
  5. She had a bad encounter with the students last night.


Choose the correct form of the verb in the following sentences:

  1. News anchors (has, had) a hard time covering the Papal Visit in the Philippines last week.
  2. Strict security measures (was, were) implemented to secure the safety of Pope Francis.
  3. Filipinos (feels, felt) blessed with Pope’s visit in the country.
  4. The President (declares, declared) the entire NCR holiday for the coming of the Pope last month.
  5. Many families (take, took) time to have a glimpse of the Pope yesterday.


  1. The answer is Had because the subject is plural (news anchors) and the action happened last week.
  2. The correct answer is were.  Again, the subject is plural (security measures). Thus, it is wrong to use the verb was although it is in the past tense.
  3. In sentence number 3 the verb in the choices differs in tenses. Feels is in the present tense while the other one, Felt is past tense. Therefore, the correct answer is Felt.
  4. Likewise in sentence number 4, choices are in the present (declares) and Past tense (declared) respectively. So, the verb declared is the correct answer
  5. Number 5[i] options comprise of present and past tense of the verb. Here, the correct answer is took.

Grammar Rules: The Present Tense

Written by Leny Ortega

Tense of the verb indicates the time when the action is done or completed. Tenses are classified as Simple Tenses and Compound Tenses.  Each classification has three tenses. Present tense, Past Tense and Future Tense comprise the Simple Tense while the Compound Tenses have the Present Perfect Tense, Past Perfect Tense and the Future Perfect Tense.

Let us first discuss the Simple Tenses.

The Basic Forms


The present tense is used to express an action presently or habitually done. It is also used to state a fact or general truth.

The Verb forms are:

S-form = watches, listens, eats, etc. for singular subject ( noun or pronoun)
Base form = watch, listen, eat, etc. for plural subject (noun or pronoun)
Auxiliary Verbs = is (singular), are (plural)
          Has (singular), have (plural)
          Does (singular), Do (plural)
  • He plays basketball.  (present time)
  • Honesty is the best policy. (generally accepted truth)
  • I check my e-mails in the morning before going to school. (habitual action)
Pop Quiz
Answer the following sentences then, check your answer/s below.
  1. The earth (revolve, revolves, revolved) around the sun.
  2. Manny Pacquiao (is, am, been) a popular boxer worldwide.
  3. Maegan Young (is, am, was) the first Filipina to win the Miss World in 2013.
  4. The Philippines (has, have, had) more than seven thousand islands.
  5. Vigan City (is, am , been) one of the most popular tourist destinations in Ilocos, Norte.
  1. The earth revolves around the sun.
The answer uses the s-form of the verb because this is a statement of fact. In addition, the s-form is used when the subject is singular and is in the present time.
  1. Manny Pacquiao is a popular boxer worldwide.
The correct answer is the verb is because Manny Pacquiao is indeed a famous boxer not only in the Philippines but also internationally. Therefore, this is also a statement of fact.
  1. Maegan Young is the first Filipina to win the Miss World in 2013.
Again, this is a statement of fact that’s why the correct form of the verb is, is. Historically speaking, Maegan Young is indeed the only Filipina so far to win the Miss World Title.
  1. The Philippines has more than seven thousand islands.
The subject Philippines is singular. The auxiliary verb Has should be used. This is also a statement of fact.
  1. Vigan City is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Ilocos province.
This number has also singular subject – Vigan City which is located in Ilocos province.This is not  an opinion but a fact.

Grammar Rules on Apostrophe and Possessive Forms

One of the uses of apostrophe or the ‘ sign is to show possession. Apostrophe are usually placed before or after an s at the end of a noun or pronoun to show possession. Below are the simple rules that you should remember in using apostrophe in possessive form.

Rule 1

Apostrophe + s or ‘s is used with singular nouns and plural nouns not ending in s.
Examples: men’s wear, girl’s dress, teacher’s key

Rule 2

For singular nouns ending in s, some writers add ‘ afters (e.g. Chris’ bag) while others add ‘s (e.g. Chris’s bag). Both of them are correct.

Rule 3

For plural nouns, form the plural first and then add ‘ after s.
Examples: girls’ room, students’ records

Note that student’s record means record of one students, while students’ records means records of many students.

Rule 4

In compound nouns, the last word takes the ‘s
Example: My sister-in-law’s car

Rule 5

Add ‘s to the last noun to show join possession of an object.
Example: Marie and Jay’s house

Uses of the Possessive Case

1.) The possessive case is chiefly used by people, countries or animals.
Examples: Mutua’s, Kenya’s, the elephant’s tusk e.t.c

2.) It can also be used by planes, ships, trains, cars and other vehicles — though the ‘of’ construction is safer.
Example: the train’s wagon’s  (preferably the wagons of the train)

3.) Possessive is also used in time expressions.
Examples:  an hour’s drive,  tomorrow’s assignment
4. The possessive case is also used in expressions of money + worth
Example: ten pesos’ worth of candy

A few expressions such as ‘a stone’s throw’, ‘a journey’s end’ e.t.c will use the possessive. Nouns in certain occupations can have the possessive without the second noun.
Examples: the chemist’s, the baker’s, the butcher’s e.t.c

In the next post, we will have a quiz on possessive nouns.

Grammar Rule on Double Negatives

Double negative occurs when two forms of negation are used in the same sentence. Just like in mathematics, double negative words in a sentence, transform it into a positive one. However, it should be noted that double negatives are not encouraged in English in general, especially in formal English, because they are considered poor grammar, and can sometimes be confusing. Below are examples of double negatives with the negative words underlined and the corrections followed by the correct sentence in italic font.

Double Negative: It won’t do you no good.
Correct: It won’t do you any good.

Double Negative: I can’t find my keys nowhere.
Correct: I can’t find my keys anywhere.

Double Negative: She never goes with nobody.
Correct: She never goes with anybody.

Double Negative: You can’t see no one in this crowd.
Correct: You can’t see anyone in this crowd.

Double Negative: There aren’t no presents left to open.
Correct: There are no presents left to open.

All the witnesses claimed that they didn’t see nothing.

Sometimes a negative can be formed by attaching the prefixes ir-, in-, non- and un-. Here are some examples:

Double Negative: His death is certainly not irrefutable.
Correct: His death is certainly not refutable

Double Negative: This car is not uncommon.
Correct: This car is not common

Double Negative: The results are not inconclusive.
Correct: The results are not conclusive

Short Quiz: Correct the following sentences by eliminating double negatives

  1. His rebuttal was clearly not nonsensical.
  2. The driver can’t find no place to park.
  3. We haven’t never seen a tsunami that big.
  4. You shouldn’t do nothing to the car .
  5. The hospital won’t allow no more visitors.
  6. I don’t have nobody to mow my lawn.
  7. That attitude won’t get you nowhere.
  8. The price of the car is not insignificant.
  9. It is not unnecessary to tell the truth all the time.
  10. The new disease wasn’t non-infectious.


  1. His rebuttal was clearly not sensical.
  2. The driver can’t find any place to park.
  3. We have never seen a tsunami that big.
  4. You shouldn’t do anything to the car .
  5. The hospital won’t allow any more visitors.
  6. I don’t have anybody to mow my lawn.
  7. That attitude won’t get you anywhere.
  8. The price of the car is not significant.
  9. It is not necessary to tell the truth all the time.
  10. The new disease wasn’t infectious.

The Difference Between ITS and IT’S

ITS is the contracted possessive form that modifies or describes the subject of the sentence.

Sample sentence:
She will talk to you about its natural habitat in a few minutes.

IT’S is simply a contracted form of “it is” and is used as a helping verb; it is used to show ownership or possession of specific qualities.

Sample sentence:
It’s only proper to greet older people with a smile.

There is no such word as ITS’.

Practice Test: ITS or IT’S

1.) The ostrich is also known for (its, it’s) inability to fly.

2.) Do you think (its, it’s) going to be easy?

3.) (Its, It’s) outstanding qualities give competing cars a run for their money.

4.) I think (its, it’s) going to rain.

5.) This pillow is too big for (its, it’s) case.

Short answer key: (1) its, (2) it’s, (3) its (4) it’s (5) its.

For more exercises about its and it’s, take this grammar quiz.

The Solving Consecutive Number Problems Series

The Solving Consecutive Number Problems Series is a series of post discussing how to solve consecutive number word problems in Algebra. Consecutive number problems are very common in many exams including the Subprofessional and Professional Civil Service Exams. Below is the list of posts including their descriptions.

How to Solve Consecutive Number Problems Part 1 is an introduction to the concept and algebraic representation of numbers. This post discusses the difference between consecutive integers, consecutive odd integers, and consecutive even integers. Two sample problems with complete and detailed solutions were discussed in this post.

How to Solve Consecutive Number Problems Part 2 discusses more examples about consecutive numbers and consecutive odd numbers.

How to Solve Consecutive Number Problems Part 3 discusses examples about consecutive odd numbers and consecutive even numbers.

Each of this posts has a video from Youtube that you can watch if you are not fond of reading.

I hope you enjoy these posts.

If you want me to discuss a particular topic, please comment them below.

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