Tenses Table in English
The tense of a verb shows the time of an action or event.
|take / takes; read / reads|
The simple present tense is used in the following contexts.
To express a general truth
- Birds fly
- Animals run.
- Trains go very slowly uphill.
To express some habitual actions
- My father goes for a walk in the evening.
- I get up at six o’clock every day.
To denote a universal truth
- Honesty tastes sweet.
- The sun rises in the east.
Note: When the subject is third person singular we add ‘s’ or ‘es’ to the main verb for simple present tense.
- I (we/you/they) walk quickly.
- He (she/it) walks quickly.
Keywords: generally, usually, often, hardly, rarely, every day.
|took / ate|
We use the past simple to refer to actions, throughts or feelings finished before the time of speaking.
- I saw a thrilling football match yesterday.
- My uncle came here last Monday.
|will take / shall talke / will see / shall see|
It is used to express a simple future action.
- I shall see you tonight.
- The flight will take two hours.
Keywords : tomorrow, next week, next month.
|is / am / are verb+ing|
I am eating. She (he/it) is eating. You (we/they) are eating.
1.The present continuous tense is used to denote an action which is going on at the time of speaking.
- She is writing a letter now.
- Please don’t shout. The baby is sleeping.
2.It is also used to denote a future action.
- The Governor is leaving for the States on Sunday.
- Are you playing for the Free Birds this year?
Keywords : now, at present.
|was / were verb+ing|
- I (she / he / it) was running fast.
- They (you / we) were running fast.
The past continuous is used to indicate an action going on at some past time.
- They wre working in the field when the lightning struck.
- Rosy fell down while she was climbing the stairs.
|will be verb+ing / shall be verb+ing|
The future continuous is used to denote an action which will be going on at some future period.
- She will be lecturing at the college auditorium tomorrow.
- By this time tomorrow we shall be writing the English test.
|have + past participle / has + past participle|
- I (we / you / they) have finished the work.
- He (she / it) has finished the work.
The present perfect tense is used to indicate an action just completed and the consequence of which are still present.
- I have already seen this film. I have been to Ceylon.
Keywords : just, yet, already, so far.
|had + past participle|
1. It is used to describe a time before the past time being discussed.
- I had spoken to the Secretary before the meeting began.
2. When two past actions happened, the action that took place first is denoted by past perfect.
- The thief had escaped before the police came.
- When we reached the airport the plane had alrady left.
|will have + past participle / shall have + past participle|
The furure perfect denotes that a certain action will have been completed at some future period.
- They will have finished the work before sunset.
- I shall have completed all the assignments by the end of this month.
|Present Perfect Continuous|
|have been verb +ing / has been verb+ing|
The present perfect continuous tense expresses an action that began sometime ago and is still going on without break and is not yet completed.
- She has been writing means ‘She was writing before and she is writing still’.
- I have been working here since 1988.
Keywords : since, for.
|Past Perfect Continuous|
|The past perfect continuous tense is used to express an action that had been going on for sometime previous to the point of time mentioned.|
- Mr Joe had been working in a school before he came to this college.