Tense Intro


Tense tells us about the time of an action or event.

Consider the following sentences:

  1.  We make toys in our factory.
  2. We made toy cars last year.
  3. We will make bigger toys for the exhibition.

In sentence 1, the verbmake’ denotes present time, the verb ‘made’ in the second sentence refers to the past time and in the third sentence, the verb ‘will make’ refers to future time.

On the bases of the above examples, there are three tenses- the Present Tense, the Past Tense, and the Future Tense which refers to the present time, the past time and the future time respectively.

Now read the sentence below:

  1. I play football.    (Simple Present)
  2. I am playing football.   (Present Continuous)
  3. I have played football.    (Present Perfect)
  4. I have been playing since 2006 (Present Perfect Continuous)

In all the sentences above, the verb talks about the present tense(present time).

In the first sentence, however, the verb simply mentions the action or event without giving any idea about the completeness or incompleteness of the action or the event.

The verb in the second sentence denotes that the action is still going on or incomplete.

In the third sentence, the verb indicates that the action is completed or finished at the time of speaking.

The verb in the fourth sentence shows that an action that was started sometime in the past is still going on continuously and is not completed or finished at the time of speaking.

From the above four sentences and the analysis of these sentences, it is clear that the tense of a verb tells us not only about the time of an action or an event but also the state(completeness, incompleteness or continuity) of an action.

Just like the Present, the Past and the Future tenses also have the following four forms:

  1. Simple or Indefinite
  2. Continuous
  3. Perfect
  4. Perfect Continuous

Past tense:

Past tense is used to talk about an action that happened in the past and continued for some time in the past.

  1. I played football.   (Simple Past)
  2. I was playing football.  (Past Continuous)
  3. I had played football.   (Past Perfect)
  4. I had been playing football for six years.  (Past Perfect Continuous)

Future Tense:

This tense refers to future events or something that will happen in the future.

  1. I will/shall play football.  (Simple Past)
  2. I will/shall be playing football.   (Past Continuous)
  3. I will/shall have played football.   (Past Perfect)
  4. I will/shall have been playing football.    (Past Perfect Continuous)

Formation of sentence

A sentence has a basic form which includes Subject, Verb, and the object.
Structure – Subject + Verb + Object or can be expressed as S + V + O.

Verb includes both the main verb and the helping verbs(is, am, are, was, were, do, does, did, has, have, shall, will etc.).

A simple chart of the structure is shown below:


This was the Tenses at a glance, each tense will be explained in the next posts.

Thanks for reading:)

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