Tenses Table in English

The tense of a verb shows the time of an action or event.

Present Simple
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.
 

Past Simple
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.

Future Simple
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.
 

Present Continuous
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.
 

Past Continuous
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.

 

Future Continuous
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.

 

Present Perfect
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.
 

Past Perfect
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.

 

Future Perfect
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.