Tenses

Contents

3.Tenses                                                                                                                                 

3.1      Classification of Tenses

3.1.1       Present Tense

3.1.2       Past Tense

3.1.3       Future Tense

3.2      Summary of Rules with Examples in Tabular Form

3. TENSE

Tenses denote time of action. Time can be divided into three parts: Present Past and Future.

3.1 Classification of Tenses 

3.1.1 Present Tense

  • Simple Present Tense:

The Simple Present is a tense that expresses action in the present time, habitual actions, or general truths.

Example: Pearl defends herself very tactfully.

                He reads the newspaper daily.  

                The sun rises in the east.

  • Present Continuous Tense:

It describes an incomplete ongoing present action that is in the middle of happening, but will finish at some point. This tense is formed by using the auxiliary verb be (am/is/are) with the present participle verb form ending in “ing”.

Example: Social workers are trying to help the victims of earthquake.

  • Present Perfect Tense:

It signifies that an action started in the past and continued to present time, in which it is completed. This tense is formed by using the auxiliary verb have (have/has) with the past participle form of the verb.

Example: She has crossed all the limits of humanity.

Note: Present perfect is never used with adverbs of past time.

  • Present Perfect Continuous Tense:

It describes an action that began in the past and continued up to present time, in which it is (or most of it) is completed. This tense is formed by using the auxiliary verb have (have/has) together with the auxiliary verb been and the present participle form of the verb ending with “ing”.

Example: They have been trying to solve that technical problem since Eight o’clock.

3.1.2 Past Tense

  • Simple Past Tense:

It is an action or situation that was finished in the absolute past and has no connection with the present. Most past Simple verbs end in “ed” (regular verbs).

Example: Our team defeated the West Indies team yesterday.

  • Past Continuous Tense:

It describes an action which went on during a stretch of time in the past and finished. This tense is formed by using the verb be (was/were) with the present participle form of the verb ending in “ing”.

Example: He was robbed when he was returning from a late night party.

  • Past Perfect Tense: 

It describes an action completed in the past before certain point in time or an action which happened in the very distant past. This tense is formed by using the auxiliary verb have (had) with the past participle form of the verb.

Example: They had been building that bridge since 1980.

  • Past Perfect Continuous Tense:

It describes an action that began before a certain point in the past and continued up to that time in past. This tense is formed by using the auxiliary verb have (had) together with the auxiliary verb been and the present participle form of the verb ending with “ing”.

Example: She had been working at that company for three years when it went out of business.

3.1.3 Future Tense

  • Simple Future Tense:

It describes an action or situation that has still to take place. This tense is usually formed by using the auxiliary verb will with the base form of the verb.

Example: I expect our business will improve this year. 

  • Future Continuous Tense:

It describes an ongoing action that will be in process around a point of time in the future. This tense is usually formed by using the auxiliary verb will together with the auxiliary verb be and the present participle form of the verb ending in “ing”.

Example: He will be waiting for her when she arrives home tonight.

  • Future Perfect Tense:

It describes that a future action will be completed before a point in time or before another action in the future. This tense is formed by using the auxiliary verb will together with the auxiliary verb have (have) and the past participle form of the verb.

Example: By next November, I will have received my promotion.

  • Future Perfect Continuous Tense:

It describes an ongoing future action that will continue and will be completed before a point in time or before another action in the future. This tense is formed by using the auxiliary verb will, the auxiliary verb have (have), and the auxiliary verb been together with the present participle form of the verb ending in “ing”.

Example: They will have been talking for over an hour by the time Madam arrives.

3.2 Summary of Rules with Examples in Tabular Form:

 

Tense

 

Simple

 

Continuous

 

Perfect

 

Perfect Continuous

 

Present

 

Form:

S+V in the Present

He+reads+a book

 

Form:

S+am/is/are+ing form

He+is+reading

a book

 

Form:

S+has/have+P.P

He+has+read+a book

 

Form:

S+has/have+been

+ing form

He+has+been+

reading+a book

 

 

Past

 

Form:

S+V in the

Past

He+read+

a book

 

Form:

S+was/were+

Ing form

He+was+reading

+ a book

 

Form:

S+had+P.P

He+had+read

+a book

 

Form:

S+had+been+

Ing form

He+had+been+

reading+a book

 

Future

 

Form:

S+will/shall

+verb root

He+will+

read+a book

 

Form:

S+will/shall

+be+ing form

He+will+be

reading+a book

 

Form:

S+will/shall

+have+P.P

He+will+have+

read+a book

 

Form:

S+will/shall+

Have+been+ing form

He+will+have+ been +reading+a book