Learning tenses is one of the most important tasks in learning English.
The label tense refers to a verb form which shows the time of an action or event. At perfectyourenglish.com you will find a number of resources for learning the tenses. There are also exercises to test your knowledge of tenses.
Tense rules – overview
Here is an overview of tenses which students can use for quick reference.
Simple present tense
A present tense form made without any auxiliary verb. The simple present tense is used to talk about permanent situations or about things that happen regularly.
The sun rises in the east.
Water boils at 100 degree Celsius.
John works at a factory.
I get up at 7 am.
Present continuous tense
The present continuous tense is used to talk about temporary actions and situations that are going on ‘around now’. It is made with is / am / are + -ing form.
They are playing.
Present perfect tense
The baby is sleeping now.
I am working.
The present perfect tense is used to talk about actions and events which are in some way connected with the present. It is a verb form made with has / have + past participle form of the verb.
I have finished.
Present perfect continuous tense
She has arrived.
The present perfect continuous tense is used to talk about actions and events which started in the past, has continued up to the present and is still continuing. It is made with has / have + been + -ing form.
It has been raining.
Simple past tense
She has been working all day.
The simple past tense is used to talk about many past events. These could be short, quickly finished actions, longer situations or repeated events. The simple past tense is made without any auxiliary verbs.
Past continuous tense
The child cried.
A verb form made with was / were + -ing form of the verb. The past continuous tense is used to talk about actions and situations that were going on around a particular past time.
She was reading.
Past perfect tense
I was knitting.
It was raining.
The past perfect tense is used to talk about things that had happened before the saying or thinking took place. It is made with had + past participle form of the verb.
She had come.
Past perfect continuous tense
The children had arrived.
I had finished.
It is a verb form made with had been + -ing form of the verb.
She had been working.
Simple future tense
It had been raining.
A verb form made with the auxiliary verb will / shall. The simple future tense is simply used to give information about the future.
He will come.
Future continuous tense
I shall go.
The future continuous tense is used to say that something will be going on at a particular moment in the future. It is made with will / shall + be + -ing form of the verb.
I shall be working.
He will be playing.
Future perfect tense
The future perfect tense is made with will / shall + have + past participle form of the verb.
I will have finished.
They will have arrived.
Use is and has with singular subjects in the present tense. Use are and have with plural subjects in the present tense. Use am with I. Use was with singular subjects in the past tense. Use were with plural subjects in the past tense.
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