Learning TENSES the Easiest Way
Tense is the expression of time through language. In English, tenses are determined by the forms of verbs and their arrangement in a sentence.
There are 11 Tense forms in the English language. These are
(1) Simple Present
(2) Simple Past
(3) Simple Future
(4) Present Perfect
(5) Past Perfect
(6) Future Perfect
(7) Present Continuous
(8) Past Continuous
(9) Future Continuous
(10) Present Perfect Continuous
(11) Past Perfect Continuous
(However, note that sentences in Future Perfect Continuous are not used in English. So no need to discuss this.)
|Tenses||Auxiliary Verb(s) used||Form of Main Verb|
|(1) Simple Present||No Aux. (do/does in Negative)||Present Tense form|
|(2) Simple Past||No Aux (did in Negative)||Past Tense form|
|(3) Simple Future||shall/will||Present Tense form|
|(4) Present Perfect||have/has||Past Participle form|
|(5) Past Perfect||had||—— do ——|
|(6) Future Perfect||shall/will have||—— do ——|
|(7) Present Continuous||am/is/are||“-ing” form|
|(8) Past Continuous||was/were||—— do ——|
|(9) Future Continuous||shall/will be||—— do ——|
|(10) Present Perfect Continuous||have/has been||—— do ——|
|(11) Past Perfect Continuous||had been||—— do ——|
Is the above table too tough to memorize? Not at all. Just remember the following points :
(a) There is shall/will in every Future Tense forms.
(b) An auxiliary is always more in Future Tense forms as compared to Present and Past Tense forms (in the Simple, Perfect, Continuous and Perfect Continuous Tense categories). Future Tenses have an additional shall/will (in Simple Future), a have (in Future Perfect), and a be (in Future Continuous).
(c) All Perfect Tenses must have the “have verbs” (have/has/had) and the Past Participle form.
(d) All Continuous Tenses must have the “be verbs” (be/am/is/are/was/were) and the “-ing” form.
(e) The Perfect Continuous Tenses have the characteristics of both Perfect and Continuous Tenses. In Present Perfect Continuous Tense, there is been (Past Participle of be) which is a characteristic of Perfect Tenses, and -ing which is a characteristic of Continuous Tenses.
After you have memorized the Auxiliaries used in various tenses and the form of the Main Verb, let us move to examples of sentences of each tense.
Example sentences of each tense :
|Tenses||Examples of Sentences|
|(1) Simple Present||I go to school. He goes to school. You do not play cricket.|
|(2) Simple Past||I wrote a letter. He wrote a letter. You did not come yesterday.|
|(3) Simple Future||I shall sing on stage. He will come here. You will study tonight.|
|(4) Present Perfect||I have taken meal just now. He has done his homework. You have passed the examination.|
|(5) Past Perfect||I had reached before they reached. The bell rang after we had entered our classroom. You had finished before it was midnight.|
|(6) Future Perfect||I shall have met him. He will have bought a shirt. You will have come by 10 o’clock.|
|(7) Present Continuous||I am learning grammar now. He is sleeping. You are dancing.|
|(8) Past Continuous||I was travelling by bus. He was reading then. You were studying at that time.|
|(9) Future Continuous||I shall be coming. He will be listening to music. You will be sleeping tonight.|
|(10) Present Perfect Continuous||I have been staying here since 2008. He has been teaching for an hour. You have been doing the same mistake again and again.|
|(11) Past Perfect Continuous||I had been sleeping before you came. He had been roaming around before it rained. I watched TV after you had been reading.|
N.B. : Observe the italicized verbs and observe the forms in various tenses.
If you have trouble putting am/is/are/was/were/have/has and -s or -es then observe the following table closely :
|· A boy||is||was||has||does|
If you have no idea about Persons and Numbers in Grammar, then let me tell you, all the nouns and pronouns are said to be in the Third Person except I, We and You. I is First Person Singular Number, We is First Person Plural Number and You is Second Person Singular or Plural Number. Please note, Verbs with Third Person Singular Number Nouns/Pronouns must be tagged with -s or -es (such as — plays, goes, comes etc) . These take the auxiliaries is, was and has.
Further discussions on Tenses will be made in my next post titled “Learning TENSES the Easiest Way, Day 2″. Kindly have a search in the search box.