There are 12 Tenses in English. They are as follows :


  • Simple Present Tense.
  • Simple Past Tense.
  • Simple Future Tense.


  • Present Continuous Tense.
  • Past Continuous Tense.
  • Future Continuous Tense.


  • Present Perfect Tense.
  • Past Perfect Tense
  • Future Prefect Tense.


  • Present Perfect Continuous Tense
  • Past Perfect Continuous Tense
  • Future Perfect Continuous Tense

1. Simple Present Tense

a) Almost all sentences that make use of one of the following words or phrases take this tense: usually, generally, regularly, often, daily, everyday, (morning, evening), now-a-day, seldom, rarely, always, nearly, frequently, hardly ever, scarcely ever, once a week etc.

b) Do not use Future Tense after the following adverbs of time and some expressions, but Simple Present Tense can be used to express the Future action: if, unless, until, till, as, as soon as, when, shile, after, before, as long as etc.
» When he arrives, the band will play the National Anthem.
» What shall I do if it rains?
» Until you learn to obey you will not know how to command.
» Unless you work hard, you will not succeed.

c) It is used to describe Universal Truth and Proverbs.
» The Sun rises in the East.
» Health is wealth.
» Salt dissolves in water.
» Absence makes the heart grow fonder.

2. Simple Past Tense

I watch television every evening. (Present Simple)
I wathed television yesterday evening. (Past Simple)
Watched is the past simple.

Noun / SubjectPast Tense Verb
I / We / You / They / He / She / It / Antonywatched

a) The following are the adverbs of time showing this tense: yesterday, last year, a few minutes ago, in 1982, once etc.

  • Last week I bought a pen.
  • Yesterday my father came.
  • Kamal met his friend a few days ago.
  • Anna died in 1969.

b) Simple Past Tense is used in Conditional Sentences:

  • If I met your father, I would tell the news.
  • If he had money, he would help me.
  • If she worked hard, she would come off with flying colours.

c) Past Tense can be used after the following expressions: as if, as through, it is time, wish, would rather, would sooner etc.

  • Kamal talks as if he knew all things.
  • John behaved as though he owned the house.
  • I wish I knew. (I‘m sorry that I do not know)
  • I would rather he went.

3. Simple Future Tense

a) The words showing the future tense are: tomorrow, next week (year, month), later, soon, shortly, in a little time, in this years to come etc.

SubjectAuxiliary VerbPresent Verb
I / Weshallgo
You / He / She / It/ Theywillgo
  • I shall arrive tomorrow.
  • Go on now and I shall follow you later.
  • She will probably send her application next week.

4. Present Continuous tense
This tense can be used to describe the actions that are incomplete, still going on at the moment of speaking or writing.

SubjectAuxiliary VerbPresent Verb + ingPerson
IamgoingFirst Person Singular
He / She / ItisgoingThird Person Singular
We / You / TheyaregoingPlural

a) The following are the important adverbs of time showing Present Continuous Tense: now, always, at present, at this moment, all the time, continuously, continually etc.  

  • She is always talking in the class.
  • I’m reading a novel at present.
  • They are going to church now.

5. Past Continuous tense

Now it is 7 O’clock Kapil is at home.
He is watching television.
At 4 O’clock he wasn’t at home.
He was at the sports club.
He was playing tennis.
He wasn’t watching television.

He began playingHe was playingHe stopped playing
a) This tense is used to express an action that was going on when another action happened.
Adverbs of time while, when
SubjectAuxiliary VerbPresent Verb + ingPerson
IwasgoingFirst Person Singular
He / She / ItwasgoingThird Person Singular
We / You / They weregoingPlural

  • While she was writing, the phone rang.
  • While she was crossing the bridge, she met with an accident.
  • When he was sleeping, his friend came.
6. Future Continuous Tense
a) This tense is used to indicate a future activity that will begin before a point of time in future and continue after it.
SubjectAuxiliary VerbPresent Verb + ingPerson
I / Weshall begoingFirst Person
You / He / She / It / Theywill begoingSecond / Third Person
  • She will be singing songs then.
  • They will be holding a meeting at 5 p.m. tomorrow.
  • When will you be putting on another performance?
b) This tense can be used when an action starts before the time mentioned and will probably continue after it.
  • He’ll be finishing his work tomorrow by this time.
  • She’ll be travelling to England by the end of next week

7. Present Perfect Tense
This tense is used to describe a past event the effect of which is not in the past but in the present.
SubjectAuxiliary VerbPast Participle Verb
I / We / You / They / any Plural havegone
He / She / It / any Singularhasgone
His shoes are dirtyHe is cleaning his shoesHe has cleaned his shoes

a) It is used to describe an action which was completed in the very recent past just a while ago.

  • George has just gone out.
  • I have finished my supper.

b) The following adverbs of time take the Present Perfect Tense: already, just now, ever, never, today, recently, so far, up to now, upto the moment, yet, lately, during the last week, during the last few days, this morning year, month, for a long time since monday, since 1947 etc.

  • I have never seen anyone like her.
  • He hasn’t eaten anything since Monday.
  • I have posted a letter this morning.
  • Sheela has been ill since last Friday.

8. Past Perfect Tense

Sarah went to a party last week. Paul went to the party too but they didn’t see each other. Paul went home at 10:30 and Sarah arrived at 11 O’clock So:

When Sarah arrived at the party. Paul wasn’t there. He had gone home.
Had gone is the past perfect. (Simple)

a) This tense is used whenever we wish to say that some action had been completed before another was commenced. That is, when there are two past actions, we use the Past Perfect to refer to the earlier action.

Adverbs of time: when, after before, as soon as
SubjectAuxiliary VerbPast Participle Verb
I / We / You / They / any Plural / He / She / It / any Singular hadgone

  • I had reached the station before the train left.
  • When I met him, John had lived in England for two years.
  • He went home after he had finished his work.

b) This tense can be used in the conditional sentences.

  • If I had met you, I would have told the news.
  • If Anand had had money, he would have helped me

9. Future Perfect Tense:
a) It is used to indicte that certain action will be completed into future time. The following are the adverbs of time: by the end of nex week (year, month), tomorrow, by this time, by 1980, by noon, by tomorrow evening (morning), by June etc.

SubjectAuxiliary VerbPast Participle Verb
I / We shall havefinished
You / He / She / It / Theywill havefinished

  • I shall have finished this work by the end of next week.
  • He will have learnt to swim next month.

10. Present Perfect Continuous Tense
a) This tense is used to refer to an action which began indefinitely in the Past and is still continuing at the present moment.

SubjectAuxiliary VerbPresent Participle Verb
I / We / You / They / any Plural have beenfinishing
He / She / It / any Singular has beenfinishing

  • It has been raining for two hours
The following adverbs of time taken this tense: since then, since 1947, all the years, since two years, for two years, since early in the morning etc.
  • My uncle has been living in England since 1990.
  • We have been learning English for three years.
  • It has been raining since early in the morning.

for” refers to a period of time.
“Since” refers to a definite point of time.

11. Past Perfect Continuous Tense:
This tense is used in the reported speech or indirect speech.
SubjectAuxiliary VerbPresent Participle Verb
I / We / You / They / any Plural / He / She / It / any Singularhad beenworking

  • He had been working hard since early in the morning.
  • He said that he had been studying his lessons for three hours.

12. Future Perfect Continuous Tense:
This tense indicates an action represented as being in progress over a period of time that will end in the future.
SubjectAuxiliary VerbPresent Participle VerbPerson
I / Weshall have beengoingFirst Person
You / He / She / It / Theywill have beengoingSecond / Third Person

  • By next December we shall have been living here for five years.
  • When she gets her degree, she will have been studying at London.

Tense forms in Conditional Clauses

Uses of tenses in conditional clauses:

First Conditional (Probable)
If, unless + Present tense form
1. If you practise regularly.
2. Unless you work hard.
Future tense form [will, shall, may, might, can]
you will improve your bowling,
you’ll not make it.

Second Conditional (Improbable)
If + Past simple / continuous
1. If they won the match.
2. If you were really concentrating.
would, could
I would be very happy
you would not be disturbed by the noise.

Third Conditional (Impossible)
If + Past Perfect
1. If India had won.
2. If she had fallen.
would / should / could / might + have + pp
it would have gone up in ranking.
would / should / could / might + have been + pp
she would have been hurt seriously.

Rewrite the following sentences with the correct tense forms of the verbs given in the brackets :

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