tenses

Tenses in English Grammar

Tenses

In Grammar, we use ‘Tenses’ to define the time of occurring of the action. The tenses in a sentence show the time of an action or state of being as shown by a verb. Actions can take place in Past state, Present state or
future state. So there are 3 main types of tenses which are defined as follows:
Present Tense: The actions which are doing presently are classified into ‘Present tense’. For example:
• He is eating Pasta. (Presently he is doing this action of eating)
Past Tense: The actions which we have already done are classified into ‘Past tense’.
• He ate Pasta (He has already done the action of eating)
Future Tense: The actions which we are going to do/will do/planning to do are termed as ‘Future tense’
sentences.
• He will eat Pasta (He is going to do the action of eating)
These 3 tenses are split into 4-4 parts, resulting in total 12 types of Tenses, which are described as following:

Present Tense

Simple Present Tense:
This tense is used when we want to describe an action that is happening at present. But this tense does not indicate when that action is expected to end. Simple present tense is used when:
• If an action has regularity, which means if an action happens every day/every time/every week/every month/every year, then we use ‘Simple Present tense for such actions.
• To indicate facts that are universally true.
• Habitual action that happened in past, happening in present and will happen in future

Simple Present Tense
Affirmative Sentence
For Singular Subject: This train
leaves at eight in the morning.

Negative Sentence This train does not leave at eight in the morning.

Interrogative Sentence Does this train leave at eight in the
morning ?

For Plural Subject: These girls go
dancing class everyday

Negative Sentence These girls do not go to dance class
everyday

Interrogative Sentence Do these girls go to dance class everyday ?

Catchwords for Simple Present Tense: usually, often, sometimes, seldom, always, rarely, never, every day, every week , every time , on Mondays, etc

2) Present Continuous Tense:

If an action that is going on at the time of speaking means if an action is in continuation or progression at present then we use Present Continous Tense. This is also known as present progressive tense Present continous tense are used when:
• Some action is happening now while speaking and has a definite end as well.
• When some action or plan is already decided and arranged as well to perform it at some time.

Present Continuous Tense

Affirmative Sentence

For Singular Subject : She is
doing her homework now

For Plural Subject: They are doing
their homework now.

Negative Sentence She is not doing her homework NOW

They are not doing
their homework now.

Interrogative Sentences she doing her homework now?

Are they doing
their homework now?

Catchwords for Present continous tense : now, right now, this quarter, etc.
3) Present Perfect Tense:
This tense explains the incident/action that has happened in the past and still it has relevance.

Present Perfect Tense
Affirmative Sentence
For Singular Subject: He has
completed his graduation in 2014.

Negative Sentence He has not completed his
graduation in 2014.

Interrogative Sentence Has he completed his graduation in
2014?
For Plural Subject: They have
completed their graduation in 2014.

Negative Sentence They have not completed their
graduation in 2014.

Interrogative Sentence Have they completed the graduation in 2014?

Catchwords for Present Perfect Tense: just, ever, never, already, yet,
4)Present Perfect Continous Tense :
Present Perfect Continuous Tense is used for a situation that has occurred in the past and which continues until
that moment.

Present Perfect Continous Tense
Affirmative Sentence

For Singular Subject: Riya has
been going to dance class since
March.

Negative Sentence Riya has not been going to dance
class since March.

Interrogative Sentence Has Riya not been going to dance
class since March ?
For Plural Subject: I have been
reading this awesome novel for two
months.

Negative Sentence I have not been reading this
awesome novel for two months.

Interrogative Sentence Have you been reading this
awesome novel for two months?

Catchwords for Present Perfect Contionous tense : for, since, lately
Past Tense
5) Simple Past Tense :

To describe an action of the past , we use Simple past tense. In this tense the verb ends with an ‘-ed’ . Also some verbs end differently , for example for ‘eat’ , we use ‘Ate’ in simple past tense.

Simple Past Tense
Affirmative Sentence

For Singular Subject: Raman
went for the movie yesterday.

Negative Sentence Raman did not go for the
movie yesterday.

Interrogative Sentence Did Raman go for the movie
yesterday?
For Plural Subject: They went for
the movie yesterday.

Negative Sentence They did not go for the movie
yesterday.

Interrogative Sentence Did they go for the movie
yesterday?

Catchwords for Simple Past Tense : yesterday, last week, last month, this morning (when meaning is past), etc.
6) Past Continous Tense :
Past contionus tense is used in those sentences in which the actions that have already happened in the past and have been completed before the time of mention.These sentences are formed with the help of an auxiliary
verb and giving the main verb an ‘ing’ ending.

Past Continuous Tense
Affirmative Sentence

For Singular Subject: She was
watching TV when he called her

Negative Sentence She was not watching TV when he
called her.

Interrogative Sentence Was she watching TV when you
called her?
For Plural Subject: They were
watching the match together.

Negative Sentence They were not watching the match
together.

Interrogative Sentence Were they watching the match
together?

Catchwords for Past Continous Tense : while
7) Past Perfect Tense :
This tense refers to a noncontinuous action that was already completed in the past. Such sentences are formed by using the Simple Past form of the auxiliary verb ‘to have’, followed by the past participle form of the verb.

Past Perfect Tense
Affirmative Sentence

For Singular Subject: He had
read this book.

Negative Sentence He had not read this book. Had he read the book?
For Plural Subject: They had
done their work.

Interrogative Sentence They had not done their work. Had they not done their work?


Catchwords for Past Perfect Tense: already, before. by the time
8) Past Perfect Continous Tense :
A continuous action that was completed sometime in the past falls under Past Perfect Continuous tense. Such sentences are framed by using the modal, ‘had’ + ‘been’ + the present participle of the verb (-ing).

Past Perfect Continuous Tense
Affirmative Sentence

For Singular Subject: He had
been playing the chess all morning.

Negative Sentence He had not been playing the chess all
morning.

Interrogative Sentence Had he not been playing the chess
all morning.
For Plural Subject: They had been
surfing net all night .

Negative Sentence They had not been surfing net all
night.

Interrogative Sentence Had they been surfing net all night?


Catchwords for Past Perfect Continous Tense : for, since
Future Tense
9) Simple Future Tense :
This tense is used for those sentences which refer to the actions which will occur later, in future. This requires a future tense auxiliary verb even though the verb would be unmarked.

Simple Future Tense
Affirmative Sentence
For Singular Subject
: She will cook tomorrow.

Negative Sentence She will not cook tomorrow.
Interrogative Sentence Will she cook tomorrow?
For Plural Subject: All the girls
will take part in cooking classes
tomorrow.

Negative Sentence All the girls will not take part in
cooking classes tomorrow.

Interrogative Sentence Will All the girls take part in cooking
classes tomorrow?

10)Future Continous Tense:
This tense defines those acts which will be continued at a future point of time. In order to form a future continuous tense sentence, a future auxiliary verb is required followed by a main verb that ends with -ing.

Future Continous Tense
Affirmative Sentence
For Singular Subject: He will be
going to Shimla next week.

Negative Sentence He will not be going to Shimla next
week .

Interrogative Sentence Will he be going to Shimla next
week ?
For Plural Subject: They will be
celebrating her birthday on coming
Monday.

Negative Sentence They will not be celebrating her
birthday on coming Monday.

Interrogative Sentence Will they be celebrating her birthday
on coming Monday ?

11) Future Perfect Tense:
This tense is used to express an act that is predicted to be finished within a certain span of time in the future. Such sentences are formed by ‘will’ + ‘have’ + ‘past participle of the verb’.

Future Perfect Tense
Affirmative Sentence

For Singular Subject : She will
have gone by the time you reach
her home.

Negative Sentence
She will not have gone by the time
you reach her home.

Interrogative Sentence Will she have gone by the time you
reach her home ?
For Plural Subject: She will have
gone by the time you reach her
home.

Negative Sentence They will not have gone by the time
you reach her home.

Interrogative Sentence
Will they have gone by the time you
reach her home?


Catchwords for Future Perfect Tense : when, by the time
12) Future Perfect Continous Tense:
This tense form indicates an action that is continuous and, at some point in the future, it will be completed. It is formed using the modal ‘will/shall’ + ‘have’ + ‘been’ + ‘the past participle of the verb (-ing)’.

Future Perfect Continous Tense
Affirmative Sentence

For Singular Subject : Riya will
have been studying English for two
hours by the time you arrive here.

Negative Sentence Riya will not have been
studying English for two hours by
the time you arrive here.

Interrogative Sentence Riya will have been studying English
for two hours by the time you arrive
here.
For Plural Subject: Students will
have been playing cricket since
morning at this time tomorrow.

Negative Sentence Students will not have been playing
cricket since morning at this time
tomorrow.

Interrogative Sentence Will students have been playing
cricket since morning at this time
tomorrow?

Catchwords for Future Perfect Continuous Tense: for, by the time

Important Rules of Tenses:

Below mentioned are some important rules and most common errors of Tenses in English

Grammar:
1) Do not get confused between use of Present continuous tense and resent perfect continuous Tense. To indicate an action which started in the past has gone on till the present and is still continuing, We use the present perfect continuous tense. Using ‘Present continuous tense in such sentences is incorrect. For example:
• Incorrect: It is raining for two days.
• Correct: It has been raining for two days.
• Incorrect: The baby is sleeping for three hours now.
• Correct: The baby has been sleeping for three hours now.

2) Do not get confused between present perfect tense/the past perfect tense and simple past tense. In a sentence, With adverbs of past time like, ‘last
week’, ‘last Monday’, ‘yesterday’, ‘last night’ etc, always use simple past tense. Using Present perfect tense is incorrect in these sentences. Present
perfect tense is to denote an action that continued in present too. Past perfect tense is only used to talk about the earlier of two past actions. For
example:
• Incorrect: I have seen him yesterday.
• Incorrect: I had seen him yesterday.
• Correct: I saw him yesterday.
• Incorrect: He has returned from Paris last week.
• Incorrect: He had returned from Paris last week.
• Correct: He returned from Paris last week.

3) When in a sentence, the verb in the main clause is in the future tense, then the verb in the subordinate clause must be in present tense and not in the future tense.
• Incorrect: I will call you when the dinner will be ready.
• Correct: I will call you when the dinner is ready.
• Incorrect: He will help if you will ask him.
• Correct: He will help if you ask him.

4) If something has happened sometime ago , then always use ‘Simple Past tense’ to indicate such action. Often students use past perfect tense in such cases, which is incorrect. For example:
• Incorrect: I had been to New York recently.
• Correct: I went to New York recently.
• Incorrect: I had written to him last week.
• Correct: I wrote to him last week.
• Incorrect: We had gone to the pictures last night.
• Correct: We went to the pictures last night.

5) The sentences which indicate that something started in the past and continued up until another time in the past, always use Past perfect continuous tense. Many students often use past continuous or Simple past in such sentences, which is incorrect to use. For example:
• Incorrect: He said that he was suffering from fever for three days.
• Correct: He said that he had been suffering from fever for three days.
• Incorrect: The man complained that his watch was stolen.
• Correct: The man complained that his watch had been stolen.
• Incorrect: The doctor concluded that the man died twelve hours ago.
• Correct: The doctor concluded that the man had died twelve hours ago.

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