- Verb tenses indicate whether an event is from the past, present, or future.
- There are 12 verb tenses in the English language.
- Auxiliary words follow most verb tenses.
Verb tenses clarify whether an event is from the past, present, or future. They give your audience a better understanding of when something happened. This guide will teach you about each type. Also, we’ve got some nifty formulas and a chart that you can use for future reference.
What are the English Verb Tenses?
In the English language, verb tenses express when an event occurs. We also use verb tenses to convey events from the past, present, or future. These verb tenses typically follow auxiliary words.
An auxiliary word is a helping word, often a verb, that enhances the underlying meaning of a clause’s main verb. Auxiliaries provide information about a verb’s tense. They can also express details about a mood, number, or person. Can, may, must, and will are examples of auxiliary words.
How do you use Verb Tenses?
Use verb tenses when you want to show when something has or will happen. Before choosing a tense, consider these tips:
- Know the correct way to express your verb in different tenses, such as adding -ed to a word.
- Also, avoid shifting tenses and remain consistent with verb tense usage.
- Pick the correct auxiliary words, such as will or have.
What are the 12 Tenses of the Verb?
There are 12 verb tenses in the English language:
- Present Simple
- Present Continuous
- Present Perfect
- Present Perfect Continuous
- Past Simple
- Past Continuous
- Past Perfect
- Past Perfect Continuous
- Future Simple
- Future Continuous
- Future Perfect
- Future Perfect Continuous
When paired with an auxiliary word, these tenses provide information about the primary verbs in your sentences.
Past simple, past continuous, past perfect, and past perfect continuous show actions that happened previously.
Meanwhile, future simple, future perfect, future continuous, and future perfect continuous tenses indicate an action that has not happened yet.
What is the Formula for all Tenses?
Most verb tenses follow a specific formula based on the tense you choose. Keep our handy guide bookmarked until you can easily identify or remember the formulas for verb tenses.
Note the verb form in parentheses in these formulas:
- V1 is the base form of the verb (clean, shop, begin)
- V2 is the past simple form of the verb (cleaned, shopped, began)
- V3 is the past participle form of the verb (cleaned, shopped, begun)
|Present Simple||Subject + Verb (v1) + es/es||I play music nearly every day.|
|Past Simple||Subject + Verb (v2) or irregular verb||Yesterday, I played an entire album.|
|Future Simple||Subject+ will/shall+ verb (v1)||I will play as many albums as I can this month.|
|Present Continuous||Subject + is/am/are + Verb(+ing)||I am playing The Offspring right now.|
|Past Continuous||Subject + was/were + Verb(+ing)||I was playing Marshmello and Halsey last night.|
|Future Continuous||Subject + will be/shall be + verb(+ing)||I will be playing My Chemical Romance after I download my favorite album.|
|Present Perfect||Subject + Has/have + Verb (v3)||I have played so many songs I can’t keep track.|
|Past Perfect||Subject + had + Verb (v3)||I had played at least 100 albums by the time I was 10.|
|Future Perfect||Subject + will have + verb(v3)||I will have played at least 1,000 songs by the time this year ends.|
|Present Perfect Continuous||Subject + Has/have + been + Verb(+ing)||I have been playing music since I was a toddler.|
|Past Perfect Continuous||Subject + had + been + Verb(+ing)||I had been playing for at least a year before my parents bought me my own iPod.|
|Future Perfect Continuous||Subject + will have been + verb(+ing)||I will have been playing songs for at least 3 hours before practice tonight.|
1. Simple Present Tense
Structure: Subject + Verb (v1) + es/es
2. Present Continuous Tense
Structure: Subject + is/am/are + Verb(+ing)
3. Present Perfect Tense
Structure: Subject + Has/have + Verb (v3)
4. Present Perfect Continuous Tense
Structure: Subject + Has/have + been + Verb(+ing)
5. Simple Past Tense
Structure: Subject + Verb (v2) or irregular verb
6. Past Continuous Tense
Structure: Subject + was/were + Verb(+ing)
7. Past Perfect Tense
Structure: Subject + had + Verb (v3)
8. Past Perfect Continuous Tense
Structure: Subject + had + been + Verb(+ing)
9. Simple Future Tense
Structure: Subject+ will/shall+ verb(v1)
10. Future Continuous Tense
Structure: Subject + will be/shall be + verb(+ing)
11. Future Perfect Tense
Structure: Subject + will have + verb(v3)
12. Future Perfect Continuous Tense
Structure: Subject + will have been + verb(+ing)
Follow these guidelines and formulas, and you’ll never go wrong with your tenses again.