An Introduction To English Verb Tenses
Today we are going to give you a basic overview of the verb tense system in English. Verb tenses tell us how an action relates to the flow of time. There are three main verb tenses in English: present, past and future . The present, past and future tenses are divided into four aspects : the simple, progressive, perfect and perfect progressive.
An Introduction To English Verb Tenses
English has only two ways of forming a tense from the verb alone: the past and the present. For example, we drove and we drive .
To form other verb tenses, you. have to add a form of have, be or will in front of the verb. These are called helping, or auxiliary verbs Time, culture, and grammar
Verb tenses can be difficult to learn in a foreign language. Different cultures think different ways about time. Chinese, for example, has no grammatical verb tenses. Other languages, like Indonesian, express time only through adverbs — there are no changes to the verb form.
English verb tenses give many details about time and action such as:
Is the action finished? How long did the action happen? Was the action repeated? Did the action happen at a known or unknown time? Is the action a habit? Is the action planned or spontaneous ?
It is difficult to think about time distinctions that do not exist in your own language. So, it can take many years for English learners to master verb tenses.Let’s get started. We are going to give examples of all 12 verb tenses using the verb drive.
We’ll start with the simple tenses. These are probably the first tenses you learned in English. Simple tenses usually refer to a single action. In general, simple tenses express facts and situations that existed in the past, exist in the present, or will exist in the future.
- Simple present: I drive home every day.
- Simple past: I drove home yesterday.
- Simple future: I will drive home later.
- Progressive (Continuous) Tenses
- Past progressive: I was driving when you called.
- Present progressive: I am driving now.
- Future progressive: I will be driving when you call.
Perfect Progressive Tenses
Adverbs are your friends
Keep it simple
Practice with questions
- Yes, I slept well.
- Yes, I shower every day.
- Yes, I’m going to study tonight.
- I was eating dinner when you called me last night.
- I am practicing verb tenses right now.
- I will be celebrating the New Year with my friends.
- Yes, I had already done it several times before.
- No, I have never broken the law.
- No, I will not have gotten married by the time I turn 30.
- I had been smoking for two years before I quit.
- I have been waiting for the bus for 20 minutes.
- I will have been working for 30 years before I retire.
- I’m Jill Robbins. And I’m John Russell.
Words in This Story
- It snowed yesterday.
- Simple past verb
- It snows every winter.
Simple present verb
- It is going to snow tonight.
- It will snow this winter.
- Will / be going to + simple present
- It was snowing when I drove to work.
- Was/were + -ing verb
- It is snowing.
- Am / is / are + -ing verb
- It will be snowing by the time I get home.
- Will be + -ing verb
- It had already snowed before I left.
- Had + past participle verb
- I have driven in snow many times.
- Have/has + past participle verb
- It will have snowed 6 inches by the end of the day.
- Will have + past participle verb
- It had been snowing for two days before it stopped.
- Had been + -ing verb + for/since
- It has been snowing all month long.
- Has/have + -ing verb + for / since
- It will have been snowing for three days by the time it stops.
- Will have been + -ing verb + for / since
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