Verb Tense

Verb tenses allow us to express time in the English language. There are three main tenses: the past tense, the present tense and the future tense, but these three can be themselves broken down into many categories. Let’s take a closer look at the most commonly used verb tenses.

Past tense

These are the different types of past tense verbs:

  1. Simple Past

We danced all night.

She ate her dinner.

I went to work.

  1. Past Continuous

This takes the form of “was/were” + present participle

I was watching a film when she called.

What were you doing when the doorbell rang?

They were not sleeping very well.

  1. Past Perfect

This takes the form of “had” + past participle

I had never seen such a lovely sunset before.

Had Naomi spoken English before?

Present tense

These are the different types of present tense verbs:

  1. Simple Present

She is happy.

Peter writes a quick email.

Rain falls over the town.

  1. Present Continuous

This takes the form of “am/is/are + present participle

Are you going to the shop?

We are not watching a movie tonight.

Why aren’t you cooking the dinner?

  1. Present Perfect

This takes the form of “has/have” + past participle

I have heard that song ten times today.

There have been many accidents on this road.

We have visited Spain many times.

Future tense

These are the different types of future tense verbs:

  1. Simple Future

Simple future has two different forms: “will” and “be going to”.

I will send you that letter next week.

He will help you later.

She is going to meet Julie later.

We are going to have a great time at the party.

  1. Future Continuous

This takes the form of “will be” + present participle

We will be waiting for you.

I will be eating dinner at 6pm.

They will be going to the beach tomorrow.

  1. Future Perfect

This takes the form of “will have” OR “be going to” + past participle

You will have completed that jigsaw by bedtime.

We will have perfected our technique by the end of this class.

They are going to have completed a lot of tasks by Tuesday.

I am going to have eaten too much by the end of this holiday.

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