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16 tenses in English with examples

January 24, 2023

Do you know all of the 16 English verb tenses?

What is the importance of verb tenses in our daily life?

Tense is one of the most important aspects of English grammar. It is used to indicate when an action takes place, whether it is in the past, present or future. Tense also shows whether an action is ongoing or has already been completed.

The verb tenses are important to know to speak English fluently, like a native. Furthermore, it is important to know the tenses to get an English speaking job in an English speaking company or to live in an English speaking country.

In addition, knowing the verb tenses helps you to express when something happened and to make connections between two or more periods of time when you are communicating in English. Hence, effective and clear communication is dependent on expressing oneself orally or in written English.

According to Cambridge English dictionary,  tense means

any of the forms of a verb which show the time at which an action happened:
"I sing" is in the present tense and "I sang" is in the past tense.
 More examples
  • How do you say that in the future tense?
  • Add -ed to all these verbs to put them in the past tense.

16 verb tenses in English

simple tenses of verbs

1. The Present Tense: This tense is used to describe what is happening right now, or what is true in the present moment. For example, “I am eating breakfast” or “The sun is shining.”

2. The Past Tense: This tense is used to describe what happened in the past. For example, “I ate breakfast” or “The sun shone.”

3. The Future Tense: This tense is used to describe what will happen in the future. For example, “I will eat breakfast” or “The sun will shine.”

perfect tenses of verbs

4. The Present Perfect: This tense is used to describe an action that happened in the past, but is still relevant in the present. For example, “I have eaten breakfast” or “The sun has shone.”

5. The Past Perfect: This tense is used to describe an action that happened in the past and is no longer relevant in the present. For example, “I had eaten breakfast” or “The sun had shone.”

6. The Future Perfect: This tense is used to describe an action that will happen in the future and is relevant in the present. For example, “I will have eaten breakfast” or “The sun will have shone.”

progressive tenses of verbs / continuous tenses of verbs

7. The Present Progressive: This tense is used to describe an action that is happening right now.  This is also known as the present continuous tense. The present progressive tense is formed by combining the present tense of the verb "to be" with the present participle of the verb (the form of the verb that ends in "-ing"). For example, the present progressive tense of the verb "to eat" is "I am eating." “I am eating breakfast.” or “The sun is shining.”

8. The Past Progressive: This tense is used to describe an action that was happening in the past. This is also known as the past continuous tense.  The past progressive tense is formed by combining the past tense of the verb "to be" with the present participle of the verb. For example, the past progressive tense of the verb "to eat" is "I was eating." “I was eating breakfast” or “The sun was shining.”

9. The Future Progressive: This tense is used to describe an action that will be happening in the future.  This is also known as the future continuous tense. The future progressive tense is formed by combining the future tense of the verb "to be" with the present participle of the verb. For example, the future progressive tense of the verb "to eat" is "I will be eating." “I will be eating breakfast” or “The sun will be shining.”

 

perfect tenses of verbs

10. The Present Perfect Progressive: This tense is used to describe an action that has been happening in the past and is still happening in the present. For example, “I have been eating breakfast” or “The sun has been shining.”

11. The Past Perfect Progressive: This tense is used to describe an action that was happening in the past and is no longer happening in the present. For example, “I had been eating breakfast” or “The sun had been shining.”

12. The Future Perfect Progressive: This tense is used to describe an action that will be happening in the future and is relevant in the present. For example, “I will have been eating breakfast” or “The sun will have been shining.”

conditional tenses of verbs

What is a conditional verb tense?

A conditional verb tense is a verb tense that is used to talk about what would happen if something else happened first. For example, if I said "I would go to the party if I had an invitation," the conditional verb tense would be "had."

 When do we use conditional verb tenses?

We use conditional verb tenses when we want to talk about what would happen if something else happened first. For example, if I said "I would go to the party if I had an invitation," the conditional verb tense would be "had."

How do conditional verb tenses work?

Conditional verb tenses work by using the word "if" to talk about what would happen if something else happened first. For example, if I said "I would go to the party if I had an invitation," the conditional verb tense would be "had."

13. conditional simple tense

The conditional simple tense is a useful tense for talking about future events that could happen. It is important to remember to use the correct verb conjugation when using this tense. The present conditional tense in English is used to talk about actions that could happen in the future. To form the present conditional tense in English, you need to use the correct verb conjugation. The present conditional tense is used to talk about what you would do in a particular situation or to make polite requests. Conditional simple tense examples:  "I would travel." "If I received one million dollars, I would buy a new car." "If she studied more, she would get better grades."

14. conditional progressive tense

The conditional progressive tense is a verb tense used to describe an action that is ongoing at a specific time in the future.  The conditional progressive tense is used to describe an action that will happen if a certain condition is met.
Some examples of the conditional progressive tense include: "If I finish my homework, I will watch TV."  "If it rains tomorrow, I will stay home."

15. conditional perfect tense

The conditional perfect tense is a verb tense used to describe an event that would have happened in the past, but didn't. The conditional perfect tense is used to describe a past event that didn't happen, but could have. This tense is often used in conjunction with the conditional tense. Examples of the conditional perfect tense include: "If I had known you were coming, I would have baked a cake." 'If I had studied more, I would have gotten a better grade." The conditional perfect tense is formed by using the past perfect tense of the verb "to be" and adding the appropriate ending. For example, the conditional perfect tense of the verb "to eat" would be "I would have eaten."

16. conditional perfect progressive tense

The conditional perfect progressive tense is a verb tense that is used to talk about actions that happened in the past and continue up until a specific point in the present. This tense is formed by using the past tense of the verb "to be" followed by the present participle of the verb (the verb with the "-ing" ending).  The conditional perfect progressive tense is used when talking about past actions that are still happening in the present. It is often used with the words "since" or "for" to show how long the action has been happening.  Some examples of the conditional perfect progressive tense are: "I have been studying English since I was a child" or "I have been studying English for two years." "She has been working at that company for six months." "They have been living in that house for ten years."

Finally, some very important questions to ask about are: Which English tenses do you know already? Which ones are you excelling at? Which English verb tenses do you need to improve at? Today I am happy to provide you with a free English verb tense pdf cheatsheet to help you learn 16 English verb tenses. Click on the link below to download 16 different English verb cheatsheet, which includes signal words for each verb tense as well as, examples in the affirmative, negative and interrogative forms.

16 tenses in English grammar with examples pdf - FREE

DOWNLOAD NOW!

Some other helpful English verb resources for you.



 

First, here is a winter action verbs video to help you.

Second, here are some English breakfast vocabulary words.

 

Lastly, here is a mini verb challenge for you:

 

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