Verb Tenses! List of 12 tenses in English with useful grammar rules and examples, including past tense, present tense and future tense. Learn these English tenses with verb tenses chart to master grammar rules in English.
In the English language, tenses play an important role in sentence formation. The tense of a verb shows the time of an event or action.
The concept of time can be split into:
- The Present: What you are currently doing.
- I eat. – I am eating.
- She goes to school. – She is going to school.
- The Past: What you did some time back.
- I ate. – I was eating.
- She went to school. – She was going to school.
- The Future: What you will do later.
- I will eat. – I will be eating
- She will go to school.
Types of Tenses
There are four types of verb tenses. Simple, Perfect, Continuous and Present Perfect Continuous and each of these has a present, past and future form.
Simple Present Tense
In Simple Present, the action is simply mentioned and there is nothing being said about its completeness.
- I eat.
- I sleep.
- I play.
Present Continuous Tense
In Present Continuous, the action is on-going/ still going on and hence continuous.
- I am eating.
- I am sleeping.
- I am playing.
Present Perfect Tense
In Present Perfect, the action is complete or has ended and hence termed Perfect.
- I have eaten.
- I have slept.
- I have played.
Present Perfect Continuous Tense
In Present Perfect Continuous, the action has been taking place for some time and is still ongoing.
- I have been eating.
- I have been sleeping.
- I have been playing.
Simple Past Tense
In Simple Past, the action is simply mentioned and understood to have taken place in the past.
- I ate.
- I slept.
- I played.
Past Continuous tense
In Past Continuous, the action was ongoing till a certain time in the past.
- I was eating.
- I was sleeping.
- I was playing.
Past Perfect Tense
Past Perfect is used to express something that happened before another action in the past.
- I had eaten.
- I had slept.
- I had played.
Past Perfect Continous Tense
Past Perfect Continuous is used to express something that started in the past and continued until another time in the past.
- I had been eating.
- I had been sleeping.
- I had been playing.
Simple Future Tense
Simple Future is used when we plan or make a decision to do something. Nothing is said about the time in the future.
- I will eat.
- I will sleep.
- I will play.
Future Continous Tense
The future continuous tense is used to express action at a particular moment in the future. However, the action will not have finished at the moment.
- I will be eating at 9 a.m.
- I will be sleeping when you arrive.
- I will be playing at 5 p.m.
Future Perfect Tense
Future Perfect expresses an action that will occur in the future before another action in the future.
- I will have eaten before 10 a.m.
- I will have slept before you arrive.
- I will have played before 6 p.m.
Future Perfect Continuous Tense
Future Perfect Continuous is used to talk about an on-going action before some point in the future.
- I will have been sleeping for two hours when you arrive.
- I will have been playing for an hour when it is 5 p.m.
Verb Tenses Chart
Learn 12 English verb tenses with useful tense chart in English.