Tense is an English grammar concept. It represents the form taken by the verb to comprehend the situation referred to in time. For example, in the sentence, Yash walked for 2 hours and then he went to sleep, the past tense verb form, walk(+ed) signals the time of the walk in the past. Tense is used to ass a time factor to the sentence. Tenses just like time are divided into 3 parts-

  • Past tense - I swam

  • Present Tense - I swim

  • Future Tense - I will swim

Before we start with the More complicated divisions there are three rules we should keep in mind-

  • Only indicative forms of verbs are tensed.

  • All the tenses have progressive and non-progressive forms for eg, I work here/I am working here, are both Present tense. 

  • when a verb form is a complex, which involves more than one auxiliaries, it is the first auxiliary that is marked for tense, not the main verb. 


Present Tense

SImple Present Tense

It is used to express daily tasks, facts and universal truths. The present tense is used to express what is happening or happens daily or is a fact in itself. Adding the letter s or es makes a simple present tense.

Like- Likes

You, We, They: Like to play outside.

He, She, It: likes to play outside

for example-

  • She writes a book.

  • Moon comes out at night.

  • New Delhi is the capital city of India.

Present Continuous Tense

It is used to express an action or an event happening at the time of speaking the sentence.

for example- Watching

  • I:  am watching the movie right now.

  • You, We, They: are watching the movie right now.

  • He, She, It: is watching the movie right now.

Present Perfect Tense

The present perfect tense is used to describe actions which are completed.

I, You, We, They: have killed time.

He, She, It: has killed time.

for example-

  • I have seen the movie you love the most.

  • He has been to India 


Present Perfect Continuous Tense

We use the present perfect continuous when the focus is on an action that is not yet finished or completed.

I, You, We, They: have been playing for a day.

He, She, It: has been playing for a day.

for example-

  • I have been waiting for the car for an hour.

  • It has not been raining since last Friday.


Past Tense

Simple Past Tense

Used to indicate an action which happened in the past. It often comes with an adverb of time. Sometimes it can be used without an adverb of time. Used for past habits. 

for example-

  • I went to school.

  • You worked very hard in exams.

  • She did not

Past Continuous Tense

The past continuous tense is a very important tense in English. We use it to express what we were in the middle of doing at a particular moment in the past. 

I, she, he, it- was playing in the garden.

They, We - were playing in the garden

for example-

  • I was cooking last night for my sister’s children.

  • They were not playing scrabble when I checked on them.

Past Perfect Tense

The past perfect tense is easy to understand and to use in a sentence. This tense talks about the event which happened in past in past. If two actions happened in the past, the past perfect tense is used to display the action that took place earlier.

I, he, she, it, we, they  - had arrived at the station

for example-

  • We were too late the movie had started. 

  • I thought I had seen the movie before but I was wrong.

Past Perfect Continuous Tense

Used to denote an event that started before a certain point in the past and continued up to some time in past.

I, he, she, we, it, you, they - had been sleeping on the couch when I arrived.

for example-

  • Sita was very tired. She had been dancing.

  • Had the student been roaming outside the classroom?

Future Tense

Simple Future Tense

The period of time after speaking a sentence is considered future tense.

This tense is used to express future events and happenings.

Rule – Will/Shall + Verb (Ist form)

I, He, she, it, we, you, they - will/shall play the piano tomorrow.

for example-

  • Sita will ask the questions tomorrow.

  • They will never speak about this.

Future Continuous Tense 

It is used to express an action which is going or continuing in the future. e.g. He will be distributing promotion letters in the office tomorrow at 12 o'clock. In the example, the action will commence in future (tomorrow) and action is assumed to be continued till sometime in future.

I, he, she, you, it, they, we- will be arriving at the airport tomorrow. 

 for example-

  • I will be playing football on the ground tomorrow.

  • She will be writing a letter.

Future Perfect Tense

It is used to express an action which will happen/occur in future and will be completed by a certain time in future. We use the future perfect to say that something will be finished by a particular time in the future.

I, he, we, she, they, it - will have dinner at 10 pm

for example-

  • She will have forgotten him by then. 

  • She will not have written a letter.

Future Perfect Continuous Tense

It is used to talk about actions that will start at a fixed point of time in future and will go on for some time in future. 

The future perfect continuous focus on the duration of an activity that will be in progress before another time or event in the future. 

E.g. .Tomorrow at 4 pm, I will be on my way to Kolkata. 

It is also used to talk about planned actions or actions expected to happen.

 e.g. Relatives will be staying at Aunt Mina’s house.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. How Do We Form the Future Perfect Tense? 

Ans. subject + auxiliary verb (WILL) + auxiliary verb (HAVE) + main verb

2. What is the Example of the Past Perfect Continuous Negative Sentence?

Ans. I could tell from the report card that Henry had not been studying.  

3. When Do We Use Present Perfect Tense?

Ans. We use this tense for three reasons-

           1.  Any Experience

           2.  A change 

           3.  For a continuing situation