The tense of the verb tells the time of the action.

There are three main tenses in English: Present Tense, Past Tense, Future Tense.



Present tense has four forms:

( a) Simple Present Tense

Simple Present Tense is used to express habitual actions, universal facts, scheduled future actions and actions that are happening now.


Structure of Sentence:

In Simple Present Tense, we use subject + verb s / es with singular subjects such as he/she/it and singular noun.


My sister speaks English very well.


  • Simple Present Tense is used to express universal facts.

E.g. The Sun rises in the East.

  • Simple Present tense is used to express a habitual action.

E.g. He goes for a walk every morning.

  • The Simple Present tense is used to express scheduled future actions.

E.g. The next train is at 9 am.


( b) Present Continuous Tense

Present Continuous tense is used for an action going on at the time of speaking.

Structure of Sentence

Subject + is / am / are + verb – ing + object.


I am writing a letter.

He is reading a book.

They are cleaning the room.

We are going to the park.

( c) Present Perfect Tense

Present Perfect Tense tells that the action has just been completed. It is also used to express past actions whose time is not given and not definite.

Structure of Sentence

Subject + has / have + 3rd form of the verb.

If the subject of the sentence is (I, we, they, you) or a plural noun, then the auxiliary verb 'have' is used in the Present Perfect Tense.


He has worked in a school for seven years.

She has just gone out.

Richard has taken my pen.

They have achieved the target.

( d) Present Perfect Continuous Tense

Present Perfect Continuous Tense is used for an action which began at some time in the past and is still continuing.

Structure of Sentence

Subject + has / have been + verb + ing + object.

He/she/it + has

I / we/ you / they + have


He has been living in Singapore since 1992.

Riya has been sleeping for three hours.

Ram has been waiting there.

They have been digging the well for several weeks.



There are four past tense forms in English.

( a) Simple Past Tense

Simple Past Tense is used to indicate an action completed in the past.

Structure of Sentence

Subject + 2nd form of verb + object


She wrote a letter to her mother.

He posted the letter yesterday.

He permitted me to go for the picnic.

He bought a laptop.


( b) Past Continuous

Past Continuous Tense is used to denote an action going on at some time in the past. The time of the action may or may not be indicated.

Structure of Sentence

Subject + was / were + verb - ing.


When I saw her, she was singing a song.

They were travelling whole day.

He was waiting for you.

I was speaking to her.


( c) Past Perfect Tense

Past Perfect Tense is used to denote that an action was completed before a certain moment in the past or another action took place in the past.

Structure of Sentence

Subject + had + verb 3rd form


Tom had helped me.

He had locked the door.

When I reached the bus stop, the bus had started.

They had gone to New York.


( d) Past Perfect Continuous Tense

The Past Perfect Continuous is used for an action that began before a certain point in the past and continued up to that time.

Structure of Sentence

Subject + had been + verb + ing + object


He had been swimming in the pool.

They had been studying at home.

They had been playing basket ball.

He had been teaching her.



( a) Simple Future Tense

Simple Future Tense is used to denote actions that will take place in the future.

Structure of Sentence

Main verb: Base or 1st form of verb

Auxiliary Verb: Will / shall


He will go to Mumbai tomorrow.

She will perform her duty.

I shall be sixty next week.

He will come to my home.


( b) Future Continuous Tense

Future Continuous tense is used to denote actions which will be in progress at a time in the future.

Structure of Sentence

Subject + shall/will + be + verb - ing


He will be washing the clothes tomorrow.

John will be cleaning his room.

Mary will be writing a story.

I shall be preparing for exams.


( c) Future Perfect Tense

The Future Perfect Tense is used to talk about an action that will be completed by a certain future time.

Structure of Sentence

Subject + will/shall/+ have + Verb 3rd form (Past Participle).


He will have taken his book.

She will have left this place by next week.

I shall have completed my homework.

They will have finished the task.


( d) Future Perfect Continuous Tense

Future Perfect Continuous tense is used for an action which will be in progress over a period of time that will end in the future. It is generally used with a time expression.

Structure of Sentence

Shall / will + have been + verb + ing (present participle).


They will have been watching television for three hours.

He will have been enjoying holidays.

You will have been studying at home.


Read the table given below to understand the different tenses:

Present tense

Past Tense

Future Tense

Simple Present Tense

I /They write

He/she writes


Simple Past Tense

I wrote

Simple Future Tense

I shall/will write

Present Continuous Tense

I am writing

He/she is writing

They are writing


Past Continuous Tense

I was writing

They were writing

Future Continuous Tense

I shall / will be writing.

Present Perfect Tense

I have written

He / she has written


Past Perfect Tense

I had written

He / she / you had written

Future Perfect Tense

I shall / will have written


Present Perfect Continuous

I / we have been writing

He / she has been writing

Past Perfect Continuous

I had been writing.


Future Perfect Continuous

I will / shall have been writing.




  • Chinese and Indonesian verbs do not show tense. They use other words in the sentence to show when the verb happens.
  • ‘Burned’ and ‘burnt’, both are used as the Past tense and past participle of burn. In American English, burned is usually the past tense.