Tenses in English Grammar

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Tenses are used to define the time of a verb.

In English grammar, there are three basic tenses; present, past and future. And these three tenses have four aspects (simple, continuous, perfect, perfect continuous) which express how an action relates to time.


SimpleContinuousPerfectPerfect Continuous
PresentPresent SimplePresent ContinuousPresent PerfectPresent Perfect Continuous
PastPast SimplePast ContinuousPast PerfectPast Perfect Continuous
FutureFuture SimpleFuture ContinuousFuture PerfectFuture Perfect Continuous

Present Simple Tense

Present simple tense is also called as Present Indefinite Tense.

Present simple tense is used when an action is happening right now in present or happens regularly.


Subject + Verb(V1/V5) + Object


I live in America.

He works there.

Does he work there?

Why do you study English?

Present Continuous Tense

We use present continuous tense when any work/action is still going on.


Subject + am/is/are + Verb(V4) + ing + Object


I am drinking beer right now.

We are having a party.

It is raining.

Present Perfect Tense

We use present perfect tense when any work/action is completed but the time period is uncertain.


Subject + has/have + verb(V3) + Object


I have visited India four times.

We have seen three Bollywood movies this week.

Present Perfect Continuous Tense

We use present perfect continuous tense when something started in the past but it is still in continuation.


Subject + has been/have been + verb + ing + Object


I have been living here for one year.

She has been learning English for 6 months.

It has been raining since 5 p.m.

Past Simple Tense

Any work/action completed in past.


Subject + V2 + Object


I played cricket with John last Sunday.

I visited Paris every year.

Past Continuous Tense

Past continuous tense is used when any work/action was on-going for a certain period of time in the past.


Subject + was/were + verb(V4) + ing + Object


The baby was crying despite I gave her a chocolate.

It was raining when I left for work.

Past Perfect Tense

Any work/action happened/completed before another action/work in the past.


Subject + had + verb(V3) + Object


When we got to the stadium, the match had started.

The train had left before they arrived.

Past Perfect Continuous Tense

Past perfect continuous tense tells us about any work/action started in the past and ended with a specific time clause.

In past perfect continuous the first past action is a continuous one.


Subject + had been + verb + ing + Object


She had been waiting for two hours when her lover finally arrived.

Future Simple Tense

Future simple tense is used when any work/action will happen in future.


Subject + shall/will + verb + Object


I am going to buy a cricket bat.

John is going to open a liquid shop.

Future Continuous Tense

Future continuous tense expresses a work/action that on-going in the future.


Subject + shall be/will be + verb + ing + Object


At 10 a.m. tomorrow, I will be going to the office.

Future Perfect Tense

Future perfect tense is used when any work/action will be completed within a specific time in future.


Subject + shall have/will have + verb(V3) + Object


By June, I will have saved $1000.

Future Perfect Continuous Tense

We use future perfect continuous tense when any work/action started in past, and still going to the present and also will continue in future.


Subject + shall have been/will have been + verb + ing + Object


I shall have been living in this house for 5 years when I get married.

Construction of Tenses

Here is the different construction of the three tenses (present, past, future) using various aspects.


SimpleContinuousPerfectPerfect Continuous
Presentdo(es)am/is/are doinghave/has donehave/has been doing
Pastdidwas/were doinghad donehad been doing
Futurewill dowill be doingwill have donewill have been doing

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