THE VERB TENSES – A SHORT REFERENCE GUIDE

The English verb tenses

The Verb Tenses

There are three main verb tenses: present, past and future.

Present verb tenses:

1.Present simple – we form it with the base form of the verb and add the suffix -s for third person singular – he, she or it.

Example: to love

1. I love1. We love
2. You love2. You love
3. He/She/It loves3. They love

We use it for frequently repeated actions, permanent states, general truths, habits, likes/dislikes, reviews, timetables and schedules(as future tense)

Example: I go to work every day. He works as a doctor. Bats live in caves. I hate fish. The plane takes off at 6 p.m tomorrow.

2. Present Continuous – we form it with the help of the auxiliary verb am/is/are and the -ing form of the main verb.

Example: to read

1. I am reading1. We are reading
2. You are reading2. You are reading
3. He/She/It is reading3. They are reading

We use it for actions happening now, temporary states, developing situations and fixed future arrangements.

Example: I am cooking lunch at the moment. I am not working this week. I am meeting my friends tonight.

3. Present perfect – we form it with the help of the auxiliary verb have/has and the past participle of the main verb.

Example: to play

I have/’ve played1. We have/’ve played
2. You have/’ve played2. You have/’ve played
3. He/She/It has/’s played3. They have/’ve played

We use it for actions that happened at an unspecified time in the past. It is not important when the action happened. What is important is the result of it.

Example: I have seen this film.

4. Present perfect continuous– we form it with the help of the auxiliary verb have/has plus been plus the -ing form of the main verb.

Example: to work

. I have been working1. We have been working
2. You have been working2. You have been working
3. He/She/It has been working3. They have been working

We use it for actions which started in the past and continue up to now and for recently completed continuous actions, whose result is visible now.

Example: I have been studying English for 10 years. I am tired because I have been working all day.

Past verb tenses:

1.Past simple– we form it by adding the suffix -ed for regular verbs and use the second form for irregular verbs.

Example: to play

1. I palyed1. We played
2. You played2. You played
3. He/She/It played3. They played

We use it for actions which happened at a stated time in the past.

Example: I booked our holiday yesterday.

2. Past continuous – we form it with the help of the auxiliary verb was/were and the -ing form of the main verb.

Example: to read

1. I was reading1. We were reading
2. You were reading2. You were reading
3. He/ She/It was reading3.They were reading

We use it for actions which were not completed at a stated time in the past.

Example: I was watching a film at 6 pm yesterday.

3. Past perfect – we form it with the help of the auxiliary verb had and the past participle of the main verb.

Example: to play

1. I had played1. We had played
2. You had played2. You had played
3. He/she/it had played3. They had played

We use it for an action which happened before another action in the past.

Example: By the time he got to the cinema, the film had already started.

4. Past perfect continuous – we form it with the help of the auxiliary verb had plus been plus the -ing form of the main verb.

Example: to read

1. I had/’d been reading1. We had/’d been reading
2. You had/’d been reading2. You had/’d been reading
3. He/she/it had/’d been reading3. They had/’d been reading

We use it for a continuous action which happened before another action in the past.

Example: She had been watching TV for 2 hours before se went to bed.

Future verb tenses:

1.Future simple – we form it with will and the infinitive(base) form of the verb.

Example: to read

1. I will/’ll read1. We will/’ll read
2. You will/’ll read2. You will/’ll read
3. He/she/it will/’ll read3. They will/’ll read

We use it for predictions, on-the-spot decisions, future facts, promises, offers, hopes, threats

Example: People will live underwater in 2050. I will call you tonight.

2. Future with “going to” – we form it with the help of the auxiliary verb am/is/are plus going to plus the infinitive(base) form of the main verb.

Example: to read

1. I am/I’m going to read1. We are/We’re going to read
2. You are/You’re going to read2. You are/You’re going to read
3. He/she/it is/He’s/she’s/it’s going to read3. They are/They’re going to read

We use it for future plans and intentions, and for predictions based on what we see.

Example: We are going to visit Paris in August. Look at the boy! he is going to fall off his bike.

3. Future continuous – we form it with will be and the -ing form of the main verb.

Example: to read

1. I will/’ll be reading1. We will/’ll be reading
2. You will/’ll be reading2. You will/’ll be reading
3. He/she/it will/’ll be reading3. They will/’ll be reading

We use it for actions which will not be completed at a stated time in the future.

Example: At this time tomorrow, I will be flying to NY.

4. Future perfect– we form it with will have and the past participle of the main verb.

Example: to do

1. I will/’ll have done1. We will/’ll have done
2. You will/’ll have done2. You will/’ll have done
3. He/she/it will/’ll have done3. They will/’ll have done

We use it for actions which will be completed by a stated time in the future.

Example: By this time tomorrow, I will have finished the report

5. Future perfect continuous – we form it with will have been and the -ing form of the main verb.

Example: to read

1. I will/’ll have been reading1. We will/’ll have been reading
2. You will/’ll have been reading2. You will/’ll have been reading
3. He/she/it will/’ll have been reading3. They will/’ll have been reading

We use it for actions which will have continued for some time by a stated time in the future.

Example: By the end of the year, I will have been working for this company for 15 years.

You can do some quizzes – verb tenses here.

PRESENT SIMPLE QUESTIONS

Present Simple questions

Present simple questions

We use the auxiliary verbs do and does to form questions in present simple tense. They are also called helping verbs because they don’t have meaning, but help to form the questions. We use do with I, you, we and they.

Example: Do you speak English?

We use does with he, she or it.

Example: Does he go to work by car?

If the question starts with do or does, it is called a Yes/No question, because it requires a short answer. If the question starts with a question word, it is called a Wh- question and it requires a full answer.

Example: When do you have lunch?

You can do a quiz here.