English Tenses with Examples

english tenses

English tenses are one of the most important parts of the language.. They are always a challenge for a non-native speaker so it never hurts to revise them — to clear any confusion and to make you feel more confident at using them. Proper use of tenses will make your speech and writing more cohesive.

Present tenses

Present Simple

Present Simple is used for:
1. Habits and routines. (I get up at six o’clock; The last bus leaves at 9 pm)
2. Facts that are always true. (Water boils at 100°C; Earth orbits the Sun)

Present Continuous (Progressive)

1. Actions happening right now. (I am doing my homework; She is sleeping; They are watching us)
2. Actions that do not happen now, but are in progress. (I am working on my math project, but right now I am having dinner with my family)
3. Arrangements for the future. (I am seeing my doctor next Tuesday)

Present Perfect

1. Finished action in the past when time it finished is unclear. (I have done my homework; She has eaten her food)
2. Action started in the past that still takes place. (I have studied the language for 10 years; We haven’t seen each other for ages!)

Present Perfect Continuous(Progressive)

1. Action started in the past that still takes place. (She has been driving the bus for two months now)

Past tenses

Past Simple

Past Simple is used for:
1. Action that ended in some definite period in the past. (I finished my homework two hours ago; We went to the movies yesterday)
2. Actions happening one after another. (I came home, took my jacket off and went to bed)

Past Continuous (Progressive)

1.Longer action that was taking place when another, shorter action happened. (I was walking down the street when I saw my friend)

Past Perfect

1. One action that happened before another action. The earlier action is in Past Perfect, the later one is in Past Simple. (I had finished my homework when he came over)

Past Perfect Continuous (Progressive)

1. One action happened as a result of a longer action in the past. (The project was finished thanks to Tom who had been working all night)

Future Tenses

Future Simple

Future Simple is used for:
1. Action that is going to happen in the future. (He will come to your place tomorrow morning; The shop will open in two hours)
2. Spontaneous decisions. (OK, I will help you)

Future Continuous (Progressive)

1. Action that will be happening over time in the future when another shorter action happens. (I will be cooking dinner when my family arrives)

Future Perfect

1. Action that will happen before some other action in the future. The earlier action is in Future Perfect, the later one is in Present Simple. (I will have finished decorating the house when you come to my place)

Future Perfect Continuous (Progressive)

1. Action that will happen over time before something else in the future. (In two months, I will have been working as a taxi driver for twenty years)

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