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.
These are the different types of past tense verbs:
- Simple Past
We danced all night.
She ate her dinner.
I went to work.
- 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.
- Past Perfect
This takes the form of “had” + past participle
I had never seen such a lovely sunset before.
Had Naomi spoken English before?
These are the different types of present tense verbs:
- Simple Present
She is happy.
Peter writes a quick email.
Rain falls over the town.
- 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?
- 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.
These are the different types of future tense verbs:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.