English Grammar Tenses – 12 Basic English Tenses with Examples

12 Verb Tenses

English Grammar Tenses!

Present Tense (Simple)


The first form of the verb is used as present tenses(simple) in fact this tense does not describe the action that is taking place now/at present. This tense is used to describe habitual or usual acts or general and permanent statements.

In this tense, third-person singular ends in “s” or “es”.


  • Mother works in the kitchen in the morning.
  • He goes to school daily.
  • The earth revolves around the sun.
  • Does he work very hard?
  • Do you ring the bell?
  • They do not respect their parents.
  • Why do you weep?
  • Where does this road lead to?

All these examples describe habitual or usual actions and general truths.

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present indefinite tense

Present Tense (continuous)

This tense describes the action that is taking place Now/ At present.

It is made from the present of “to be” with the “ing” form of the verb.


  • I am walking to the door.
  • The doctor is examining a patient.
  • The teacher is delivering a lecture.
  • Is Aslam plucking flowers?
  • You are not working hard.
  • Are they flying kites?
  • Is he solving the sums?
  • Is he writing something?

Most verbs of sense feeling or perception are generally not used in the continuous form, useless, of course, they are used in some special sense. These verbs describe actions that happen automatically or state beyond human control.


  • I see a man loitering in the street.
  • I hear children making a noise in the garden.

A list of some of these verbs is given below:

See, hear, smell, taste, feel, notice; know, understand, remember, recollect, forget; love, hate, like, dislike, want, wish, desire; Suppose, mean, recognize, belief, think, refuse, seem;

This list does not claim to be exhaustive.

Present continuous tense is also used for future tense.


  • Tomorrow I am leaving for Dubai.

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English grammar tenses

Present Perfect Tense 

Present perfect English tense tells us about an act that is co. Pelted by now. It does not tell us when this completed act happened. It is only concerned with its present completed state and its relation with now.

The present perfect tense is made by prefixing has or have to the third form of the verb.

Apart from the two adverbs “already “and “not yet” which are normally used with the present perfect tense, the word “since” and “for “are also generally used with this tense. “For” is used for “a given length of time tills now”.

English Grammar Tense Example:

  • I have already completed two chapters of the book.
  • I have not yet taken my lunch.
  • Have you not taken your meal yet?
  • Has the patient taking the medicine?
  • Has my aunt read the newspaper?
  • The monkey has not climbed up the tree.
  • The passenger has not died of cold.

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present perfect tense rules and examples

Present Perfect tense (continue)

When we wish to describe an action that is not completed by the present moment but is still going on, we use the present perfect (continuous) tense i.e. we add the idea of the present continuous to the idea of the present perfect.

Present perfect continuous is made by the use of has or have as in the case of present perfect (simple), followed by “been” and “ing” form of the main verb.


  • I have been standing in the rain waiting for the bus for two hours.
  • She has been working in the kitchen all morning.
  • He has been sleeping soundly for the last three hours.
  • I have not been reading the newspaper for many days.
  • Has he not been sleeping for the last four hours?
  • It has not been raining since morning.
  • Has he been knocking at the door for five minutes?
  • What have you been doing since noon?

Past Tense ( simple)

We use the past tense when we want to talk about some past that has been completed. we also put our verbs past act that has been completed. we also put our verbs into the past simple tense if we want to describe actions happening one after the other, as in a story.

Past tense is made by using the second form of the verb. The word “ago’ is associated with this tense in the same way that “since” and “for” are with the present perfect. The word “ago’ points to the date or period of time measured back from the present.


  • My father died five years ago.
  • The servant swept the room only a few minutes ago.
  • He works me up at seven.
  • The horse did not eat grass.
  • He did not take part in the public meeting.
  • He did not take tea.
  • Why did he not light the lamp?
  • Why did he not wear new clothes?

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past tense
English grammar tenses

Present Tense Examples | Image

English Grammar Tenses

Past Tense (continues)

We use the past tenses Continuous for a past action that has not finished. if we want to talk about some past act that is completed while another is still going on, we use the past continuous for the longer unfinished action and the past simple for the shorter completed action.

Certain verbs are not used in the past continuous form. They are the same verbs that have been discussed in the case of present continues to form some verbs of sense, feeling, and perception.


  • He was singing a song.
  • He was doing useful work.
  •  She fell down when she was running.
  • The workers were wasting time.
  • She was not combing her hair.
  • Was he groaning with pain?
  • Was the car not running at full speed?
  • He was not speaking the truth.

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English grammar tenses

Past Perfect English Tense 

Past perfect tense describes an action completed before the last moment we are talking about. This tense bears the same relation to the past time as the present perfect tense does to now.

This tense is often associated with time clauses and is commonly used in the Reported speech. The past perfect tense is made by prefixing “had” to the third form of the verb.


  • we had taken our seats before the show began.
  • He said that he had seen him at the railway station on Tuesday last.
  • Had the clock struck ten before you came?
  • Had you taken your meal after we left?
  • His fame had spread far and wide before he died.
  • I had never eaten such a delicious fruit before.
  • Had you not already written an insulting letter?

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12 tenses rules

Past perfect (continuous)

Past perfect continuous tense is used when we wish to describe an action that was not completed by a certain date or time in the past.

This tense is made by the use of had as in the past perfect simple followed by “been” and “ing” form of the main verb.


  • He had been living in Lahore since 1947.
  • I had been attending the office for two days.
  • Had he been living in this house since 1970?
  • Had he been putting me off for many days?
  • He had not been wasting his time for two hours.
  • Why had the child been weeping since morning?
  • Had they not been checking the accounts since evening?

Past Tense Examples | Image

past tense examples

Future Tense (simple)

The future tense is used to describe an act that is going to happen in the future.

There are a number of ways to make the future tense.

  • Use of shall will with the first form of the verb.

Shall is used with first-person singular and plural and will with second and third person. It is used vice versa if the act has to be emphasized.

  • Use of going to with the first form of the verb.
  • Use of present continuous tense.

Generally, the use of shall, will, or going to does not make any difference in the meaning of a sentence. Sometimes. However, it does. Going to is normally used when the speaker intends the action or feels that the action is certain to happen.


  • I shall not believe you.
  • She will know the answer tomorrow.
  • Aric is going to study French.
  • Shall I apply today?
  • Will you grant my request?
  • When I go to Karachi, I shall bring toys for you.
  • We will play the match.
  • He shall act upon my advice.

 Present continuous tense is used to announce a future event which is already fixed or arranged. It is especially common with the verbs of movement.


  • she is leaving for pairs tomorrow.
  • Siddiqui’s are coming to dinner on Friday next.

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future tense with rules and examples

Future tense (continuous)

This tense is used to describe an action in progress at some future moment.

This tense is made by using “shall be” “will be” followed by the “ing” form of the verb.


  • They will be taking a rest at 3 o’clock.
  • I shall be writing a letter to Rashid in a week’s time.
  • Will they be doing their duty?
  • It will be raining.
  • He will be drawing a picture.
  • Will he be offering the prayer?
  • The price of ghee will be going up.

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English grammar tenses

Future perfect

Future Perfect tense tells us about an activity that will be completed by a certain future date.

It is made by using “shall have” “will have” followed by the third form of the verb.


  • I shall have taken my dinner by 10 o’clock
  • She will have left the country by tomorrow.
  • Will you have taken bath before sunrise?
  • Will you have finished work before we arrive?
  • Will she have taken food before the sun sets in?
  • Will the birds have gone to their nest?
  • She will not have got the bus till now.

Note: Future perfect tense is not used with time communication. The present perfect tense is used instead.


  • I shall wait here until you have finished your work

There is also a Future perfect continuous Tense but it is not often used.


By next year he will have been working in this factory for five years.

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12 tenses rules

Future Tense Examples | Image

Future tense examples

Related: Direct Indirect Tenses

English Grammar Tenses (Images)

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