Tenses

Tenses play an important role in sentence formation. The tense of a verb shows the time of an event or action. The concept of time can be split into the present (What you are currently doing), the past (What you did some time back) and the future (What you will do later).

There are four main types of tenses - Simple, Perfect, Continuous and Present Perfect Continuous and each of these has a present, past and future form. Thus in total there are 12 types of tenses.

Simple Present Tense

In Simple Present, the action is simply mentioned and there is nothing being said about its completeness.   Example:

  • I eat.
  • I sleep.
  • I play.

Present Continuous Tense

In Present Continuous, the action is on-going or still going on and hence continuous. Example:

  • I am eating.
  • I am sleeping.
  • I am playing.

Present Perfect Tense

In Present Perfect, the action is complete or has ended and hence termed Perfect. Example:

  • I have eaten.
  • I have slept.
  • I have played.

Present Perfect Continuous Tense

In Present Perfect Continuous, the action has been taking place for some time and is still ongoing. Example:

  • I have been eating.
  • I have been sleeping.
  • I have been playing.

Simple Past Tense

In Simple Past, the action is simply mentioned and understood to have taken place in the past. Example:

  • I ate.
  • I slept. 
  • I played.

Past Continuous Tense

In Past Continuous, the action was ongoing till a certain time in the past. Example:

  • I was eating.
  • I was sleeping. 
  • I was playing.

Past Perfect Tense

Past Perfect is used to express something that happened before another action in the past. Example:

  • I had eaten. 
  • I had slept. 
  • I had played.

Past Perfect Continuous Tense

Past Perfect Continuous is used to express something that started in the past and continued until another time in the past. Example:

  • I had been eating. 
  • I had been sleeping. 
  • I had been playing.

Simple Future Tense

Simple Future is used when we plan or make a decision to do something. Nothing is said about the time in the future. Example:

  • I will eat.
  • I will sleep.
  • I will play.

Future Continuous Tense

The future continuous tense is used to express action at a particular moment in the future. However, the action will not have finished at the moment. Example:

  • I will be eating at 9 am.
  • I will be sleeping when you arrive.
  • I will be playing at 6 pm.

Future Perfect Tense

Future Perfect expresses action that will occur in the future before another action in the future. Example:

  • I will have eaten before 9 am.
  • I will have slept before you arrive.
  • I will have played before 7 pm.

Future Perfect Continuous Tense

Future Perfect Continuous is used to talk about an on-going action before some point in the future. Example:

  • I will have been sleeping for three hours when you arrive.
  • I will have been playing for an hour when it is 7 pm.