Tenses

Tense is a form of a verb that is used to indicate the time of action or state of being. Time can be categorized into present, past and future. Therefore, there are three basic types of Tenses:

  1. Present Tense
  2. Past Tense
  3. Future Tense

The aspect of a verb indicates whether the action is ongoing or completed. Each of these tenses is further classified into four sub types based upon the start, continuity or completion of an action or event in the specified or extended time frame.

  1. Simple
  2. Continuous
  3. Perfect
  4. Perfect Continuous

Present

When verb is used to express any action that takes place on a regular basis or describe an event of the present time, it is called Present Tense. Present Tense can be expressed in four forms:

1. Simple Present Tense

We use Present Simple when the action is repeated or usual or general. The action can be a habit, a hobby, a daily event, a scheduled event.

Structure

  • I/We/You/They + Verb (base form) + Object
  • He/She/It + Verb (base form + s/es/ies) + Object

Example

  • I drink tea.
  • He drinks tea.

2. Present Continuous Tense

We use this Tense for something is happening now or at this very moment. Or we use this tense for ongoing actions. We can also use this for temporary actions.

Structure

  • I + am + Verb (ing form) + Object
  • We/You/They + are + Verb (ing form) + Object
  • He/She/It + is + Verb (ing form) + Object

Example

  • I am drinking tea.
  • They are drinking tea.
  • He is drinking tea.

3. Present Perfect Tense

We use this tense to tell that an action happened at unspecified time before now. In this tense we should not discuss the exact time. We also use this tense to tell that something started in the past and has continued up until now.

Structure

  • I/We/You/They + have + Verb (Past Participle) + Object
  • He/She/It + has + Verb (Past Participle) + Object

Example

  • I have drunk tea.
  • He has drunk tea.

4. Present Perfect Continuous Tense

We use this tense to tell that an action started in the past and has continued up until now.

Structure

  • I/We/You/They + have + been + Verb (ing form) + Object
  • He/She/It + has + been + Verb (ing form) + Object

Example

  • I have been drinking tea.
  • He has been drinking tea.

Past

Verbs that are used to express actions or happenings that started and ended in some specified or unspecified time in the past is said to be in the Past Tense.

1. Simple Past Tense

We use this tense for the finished action at a specific event or time in the past. Sometimes, the speaker may not mention the specific time, but they do have one specific time in their mind.

Structure: I/We/You/They/He/She/It + Verb (Past Simple) + Object

Example: I drank tea.

2. Past Continuous Tense

We use this tense for an action that was happening at a specific event or time in the past.

Structure: I/We/You/They/He/She/It + was / were + Verb (ing form) + Object

Example: I was drinking tea.

3. Past Perfect Tense

We use this tense for an action that occurred before another action or time in the past.

Structure: I/We/You/They/He/She/It + had + Verb (Past Participle) + Object

Example: I had drunk tea.

4. Past Perfect Continuous Tense

We use this tense for an action started in the past and continued up until another event or time in the past.

Structure: I/We/You/They/He/She/It + had + been + Verb (ing form) + Object

Example: I had been drinking tea.

Future

Future Tense expresses actions that have not yet taken place but will or is anticipated to take place at some time in the future.

1. Simple Future Tense

We use this tense for the action that happens at a specific event or time in the future. We also use the Simple Future tense for voluntary actions, instant decisions and promises.

Structure: I/We/You/They/He/She/It + will + Verb (Base form) + Object

Example: I will drink tea.

2. Future Continuous Tense

We use this tense for an action that will be happening at a specific event or time in the future.

Structure: I/We/You/They/He/She/It + will be + Verb (ing form) + Object

Example: I will be drinking tea.

3. Future Perfect Tense

We use this tense for an action that will be happening at a specific event or time in the future.

Structure: I/We/You/They/He/She/It + will have + Verb (Past Participle) + Object

Example: I will have drunk tea.

4. Future Perfect Continuous Tense

We use this tense for an action will continue up until a particular event or time in the future.

Structure: I/We/You/They/He/She/It + will have been + Verb (ing form) + Object

Example: I will have been drinking tea.

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