Tenses in English grammar are one of the most important topics you should study thoroughly to become an expert in the English language.

In English Grammer, Tenses express time reference. Tenses are used to define the time of a verb.

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 Present Indefinite Tense. Present simple tense is used when an action occurs in the present or happens regularly.

Structure: 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.

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

Example :
I am drinking beer right now.
We are having a party.
It is raining.

Present Perfect Tense

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

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

I have visited India four times.
We have seen three Bollywood movies this week.

Present Perfect Continuous Tense

The present perfect continuous tense is used when something started in the past but is still in continuation.

Structure: 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 the past.

Structure: 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 ongoing for a certain period of time in the past.

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

The children were shouting when the teacher came in.
It was raining when I left for work.
My mother was cooking food for me.

Past Perfect Tense

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

Structure: 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 the past perfect continuous tense, the first past action is a continuous one.

Structure: 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.

Structure: 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 is ongoing in the future.

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

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

Future Perfect Tense

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

Structure: 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 the past and still going to the present and also will continue in future.

Structure: 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

Related Topics:

Parts of SpeechNounPronoun
Phrasal VerbsSynonymsAntonyms