Ultimate Guide To The Verb Tenses Of English

English is a unique language. It did not grow to form a single language family. It took influence from German, Scandinavian, French, Latin roots. Some experts say English has only two tenses. Present and Past. It has been said so because of the uses of the auxiliary verb in English.

The present and past tense in English are morphological. All the other tenses are created by adding “be”, “do” and “have”. Root verbs don’t seem to change in other tenses. But according to the modern linguists, morphology does not matter.

According to them, there are three tenses in the English language. They are present, past and future. Let us have some sentences as examples.

  • Present: I eat fruits in the evening.
  • Past: I ate fruits in the evening.
  • Future: I will eat fruits in the evening.

All the tenses:

There are almost 30 tenses in the English Language. But for modern literature, we use 12 tenses altogether.

They are- 

  • Present Simple.
  • Present Continuous.
  • Present Perfect.
  • Present Perfect Continuous.
  • Past Simple.
  • Past Continous.
  • Past Perfect.
  • Past Perfect Continuous.
  • Future Simple.
  • Future Continuous.
  • Future Perfect.
  • Future Perfect Continuous.

Present Tense:

Present tense represents incidents that are habitual or true.

Present Simple:

Rule: Subject+ verb


  • I eat Rice.
  • Every morning I play football with my friends.
  • I visit my uncle’s home in every Durga Puja.
  • He plays cricket in the School team.
  • She always cooks delicious food when we go to her house.

Present Continuous:

Rule: Subject+ are/am/is + verb(+ing)

This tense is used to describe incidents or actions that are still in progress. It is created by using “to be” with the present participle. This tense is used when someone is in the middle of doing something.


  • He is using his new phone.
  • They are giving the exam.
  • My father is doing his work now.
  • I am now going to school.
  • She is leaving the town now for her reasons.

Present Perfect:

Rule: Subject+ Auxiliary verb + Past participle

It is an interesting verb form of the English language. It is mainly used to describe an incident which started in the past, and still in process. It is created by using “to have” with the past participle.


  • I have just started this new book.
  • He has gone to his aunt’s place to spend the vacation.
  • She has cleared his CAT exam with good percentile.
  • I have just arrived at the station.
  • My brother has just gone to his tuition class.
  • How long have played in the team?

Present perfect Continuous:

Rule: Subject+ Auxiliary verb + been + verb(+ing)

It is used to describe some incident or action which started in the past which has either effect in the present or still going on.


  • He has been playing for quite a long time now.
  • He hasn’t been going to that particular shop after the incident.
  • I have been doing all the project work since last semester.
  • She has been eating her dinner for one hour.

Past Tense:

Simple Past:

Rule: Subject + Verb-ed

Some may find that it is similar to present perfect tense but it is not. Simple past tense means something that is done. It is as simple as that.


  • I ate the apple pie in the morning.
  • He went to the hospital to do his regular checkup.
  • Despite heavy rain, I went to the school for the annual fest.
  • He wanted a big remote-controlled car for his birthday.
  • They gifted me a digital watch on my birthday.

Past Continuous:

Rule: Subject + Auxiliary verb + verb(+ing)

You can say that it is somehow similar to the present continuous. It describes an action which was going on in the past. 


  • I was going to college when they encountered me.
  • I was eating a hamburger that day.
  • Yesterday, you were having lunch around this time.
  • My friends and I were having a good time that day.

Past Perfect:

Rule: Subject+ HAD + past participle

It is used to indicate an incident that was completed sometimes before another incident took place.


  • My dad had invested huge money in the investment fund before the company itself gone bankrupt.
  • We had come a long way when they decided to start their journey.
  • I had become completely distant when she realized something is wrong.

Past perfect continuous:

Rule: Subject+ HAD + BEEN + Verb(+ing)

Some students may find it difficult to understand because of its complexity. It is used to describe an action which started in the past and continued until a point in the past.


  • He had been doing his regular work when the new boys came into his room.
  • I had been doing all the work for a whole year when the company decided to give me a partner.
  • They had been doing all the research about the job for two hours.

Future Tense:

Simple Future:

Rule: Subject+ will/shall + verb

It indicates an action or incident that will happen in the future.


  • I will go to church.
  • She will come to my house tomorrow.
  • Will you play with me?
  • The teacher will conduct the class on Monday instead of today.
  • I will not tolerate any mistakes form you.

Future Continuous:

Rule: Subject+ will/shall be + verb(+ing)

It is used to indicate an action or incident that is still going, in the future.


  • She will be performing his art in the cultural fest.
  • I will be going to my friend’s home for the holidays.

Future Perfect:

Rule: Subject+ will have + verb-ed

It is used to indicate something that will complete before a certain point in the future.


  • She will have finished her homework.
  • I will have played football.
  • He will have eaten his lunch.
  • I will have left my home.

Future Perfect Tense:

Rule: Subject+ will have been + verb(+ing)

It is used to describe something that will complete before a specific time in the future. It usually gives importance to the length of the time here.


  • I will have been studying five hours before the last exam.
  • They will have been eating before you reach.

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