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  English Tenses  


Simple Tense

Verb tense tells you when the action happens. There are three main verb tenses: present, past, and future. Each main tense is divided into simple, progressive, perfect, and perfect progressive tenses.

Simplefinishfinishedwill finish
Progressiveam/is/are finishingwas/were finishingwill be finishing
Perfecthave/has finishedhad finishedwill have finished
Perfect Progressivehave/has been finishinghad been finishingwill have been finishing



Things to remember about simple tense:

  1. Present tense is the original verb form.
  2. Past tense has a few patterns.
  3. Future tense needs will (shall) + verb.


  • I run a marathon twice a year. (present)
  • I ran a marathon last year. (past)
  • I will run a marathon next year. (future)


  • I eat lunch in my office. (present)
  • I ate lunch an hour ago. (past)
  • I will eat lunch in one hour.


  • I see a movie once a week. (present)
  • I saw a movie yesterday. (past)
  • I will see a movie tomorrow. (future)


  • I know it. (present)
  • I knew it the day before yesterday. (past)
  • I will know it by tomorrow. (future)


  • I learn English. (present)
  • I learned English the last two years. (past)
  • I will learn English next year. (future)


  • I cook my supper every night. (present)
  • I cooked our dinner already. (past)
  • I will cook breakfast tomorrow. (future)



Fill in the blanks with appropriate verb forms.

1) I ____ a song at the concert yesterday.
2) He _____ a letter to his girlfriend tomorrow.
3) I ____ to the library to borrow some books this weekend.



Progressive & Perfect Tense Verbs


Progressive Tense

The progressive tense involves action that is, was, or will be in progress at a certain time. In the progressive tense, verbs are formed with a "be" verb + ing.



  • I am running a marathon right now. (present progressive)
  • I was running a marathon at this time last year. (past progressive)
  • I will be running a marathon next Sunday. (future progressive)


  • I am eating lunch now.
  • I was eating lunch when you saw me.
  • I will be eating lunch in the meeting.


  • I am learning English at my desk.
  • I was learning English the last two years.
  • I will be learning English then.


  • I am cooking my supper now.
  • I was cooking our dinner when you called me.
  • I will be cooking breakfast by the time you come home.



Perfect Tense

The present perfect tense describes an action that started in the past and continues to the present time. Use has/have + the past participle form of the verb.

The past perfect tense describes an action that started and ended in the past. Use had + the past participle form of the verb.

The future perfect tense describes future actions that will occur before some other action. Use will have + the past participle form of the verb.



  • I have run several marathons this year. (present perfect)
  • I had run many marathons in the past. (past perfect)
  • I will have run a marathon by the time I turn 30. (future perfect)


  • I have learned a lot about English grammar this semester.
  • I had learned the basics of English grammar in elementary school.
  • I will have learned a lot about English grammar when I finish college.


  • I have known her since I was young.
  • I had known her until she passed away.
  • I will have known her for 20 years next month.


  • I have cooked supper every night this week.
  • I had cooked supper every night until the stove broke.
  • I will have cooked supper every night by the time this diet ends.



Using the following sentence and create three more sentences using the present, past, and future progressive tenses.

I sing a song on the big stage.

Fill in the blanks with the correct form of the verb given.

1) He ____________ (exercise) hard since last year.
2) I ____________ (study) math as my major since high school.



Perfect Progressive Tense

The perfect progressive tense describes actions that repeated over a period of time in the past, are continuing in the present, and/or will continue in the future.


The present perfect progressive tense tells you about a continuous action that was initiated in the past and finished at some point in the past; however, the action has some relation to the present time. Use [have/has + been + ing].

  • It has been raining, and the street is still wet.
  • I have been running, and I am still tired.
  • She has been practicing the piano, and she is much better now.

The past perfect progressive tense illustrates a continuous action in the past that was completed before another past action. Use [had + been + ing].

  • It had been raining, and the street was still wet.
  • I had been running, and I was still tired.
  • She had been practicing the piano, and she had gotten much better.

The future perfect progressive tense indicates a continuous action that will be completed in the future. Use [will + have + been + ing].

  • By tonight, it will have been raining several hours, and the street will be very wet.
  • By next summer, I will have been running for almost a year, and I will be fit and healthy.
  • By the time of the concert, she will have been practicing the piano for several months, and she will be much better.



Choose the incorrect sentence from the following.

1) I have been sleeping all day today.
2) They will have been walking for almost an hour by the time they arrive at their destination.
3) She have been eating a lot recently.



Basic English Grammar Lessons:

  1. Parts of Speech
  2. Vocabulary
  3. Nouns
  4. Pronouns
  5. Verbs
  6. Adjectives
  1. Adverbs
  2. Prepositions
  3. Conjunctions
  4. Articles
  5. Tense
  6. Gerunds
  1. Infinitives
  2. Passive Voice
  3. Mood
  4. Interjections
  5. Capitalization
  6. Punctuation

Learning Conversational English


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