In English grammar, there are some important elements that help us convey our complete thoughts and ideas through meaningful sentences. Verb tenses are one among those basic parts of English without which it is quite impossible to add significance to our words.
In a general sense, verb tenses are verb forms that help communicate the time of action. There are mainly three verb tenses, namely past tense, present tense, and future tense, that talk about actions in relation to their different time dimensions. In this post, we will learn what these verb tenses exactly are and what functions they have. So, let us get into a detailed discussion below.
What are the verb tenses?
Verb tenses in English are basically verb forms speakers use to convey when a person does something, did something, or will do something. That means verb tenses are used to communicate the time of occurrence of activities and describe when something occurs.
There are mainly three verb tenses in English, past tense, present tense, and future tense. Each of these tenses can be further divided into four different types or forms that indicate the time of action in different contexts. In short, there are a total of twelve verb tenses that we use to communicate time.
Let us discuss each of these tenses in detail below.
Present tense: The present tense is the basic form of tense that is used to talk about things that are currently happening. That means it describes actions that have a current existence or a present relevance.
The present tense is divided into four different types. They are
- Simple Present tense – I eat vegetables every day.
- Present continuous tense – She is writing her notes.
- Present perfect tense – I have read multiple articles.
- Present perfect continuous tense – I have been playing since 1995.
Past tense: The past tense is simply the type of tense that is used to talk about things that occurred in the past. It describes activities that started in the past and also ended in the past. There is no present existence of such activities.
There are four types of the past tense as well. They are
- Simple past tense – I completed my homework.
- Past continuous tense – I was writing for my book.
- Past perfect tense – She had performed at least twice this week.
- Past perfect continuous tense – He had been playing for the past five years.
Future tense: The future tense is a type of tense used to describe actions that are yet to happen. It talks about something that has not started in the present but will occur in the future. That means it only deals with things that occur at a time later than now.
There are four different aspects to the future tense. They are
- Simple Future tense – I will study tomorrow.
- Future continuous tense – I will be playing at tomorrow’s event.
- Future perfect tense – She will have read 50 books by the end of this week.
- Future perfect continuous tense – He will have been traveling for three hours before lunch today.
So, these are the three main verb tenses with their four different types. They all aim at describing verbs in regard to their time location.