Saturday, July 9, 2011


Definition: Tense denotes (refers to) the time of an action of a verb.

Or, Tense denotes the time of a verb.
[The word tense comes from the Latin tempus or time.]

There are three principal kinds of “Tense”, like:
01. Present Tense.
02. Past Tense.
03. Future Tense.

Again, each of the principal “Tense” has four forms like:
i. Indefinite Tense.
ii. Continuous Tense.
iii. Perfect Tense.
iv. Perfect continuous Tense.

or Progressive
Perfect Continuous
do, go, etc. main verb
Is/am/are and verb + ing.
has/have and Past participle of verb
has been/have been and verb + ing
Past form of verb
was/were and verb + ing
had and past participle of verb
had been and verb + ing
shall/will and main verb
shall be/will be and verb + ing
shall have/will have past participle of verb
Shall have been/will have been and verb + ing.

Forms of Tenses
Perfect Continuous
I do
I am doing
I have done
A have been doing
I did
I was doing
I had done
I had been doing
I will do
I will be doing
I will have done
I will have been doing.

Present Indefinite Tense (Simple Present)
Present Indefinite tense denotes an action in the present time or habitual truth or eternal truth.
[Subject + Verb (verb + s/es)]
01. I Read a book.
02. He/She reads a book.

Different forms of Simple Present:
I write.
Do I write?
I do not write.
He/She writes.
Does he/she write?
He/She does not write.

Present Continuous (Present Progressive)
Present Continuous tense is used when an action is continued or going to be continued in near future.
[Subject + am/is /are + (verb + ing)]
01. I am reading a book.
02. He/she is reading a book.
03. Are you coming to the meeting this afternoon?

*Note: The following verbs are not normally used in the continuous form. --> Wren & Martin.

01. Verbs of perception, e.g., see, hear, smell, notice, recognize.

02. Verbs of appearing, e.g., appear, look, seem.

03. Verbs of emotion, e.g., want, wish, desire, feel, like, love, hate, hope, refuse, prefer.

04. Verbs of thinking, e.g., think, suppose, believe, agree, consider, trust, remember, forget, know, imagine, mean, mind, and understand.

05. Have (= possess), own, possess, belong to, contain, consist of, be (except when used in the passive).
So we must say, "I see an aero plane", not "I am seeing an aero plane."

Different forms of present Continuous (Progressive):
I am writing.
Am I writing?
I am not writing.
We are writing.
Are we writing?
We are not writing.

Present Perfect Tense
Present Perfect tense is used when the work has been done but its effect lasts.
[Subject + has/have + (past participle of verb)]
01. I have done the work.
02.  He/She has done the work.
Just already, since, for, yet are generally used with the Present Perfect.

**Note: Present perfect tense is never used with adverbs of past time. We should not say, for example, "He has gone to Calcutta yesterday". In such cases the simple past should be used "He went to Calcutta yesterday." --> Wren & Martin.

Different forms of Present Perfect:
I have written.
Have I written?
I have not written.
We have written.
Have we written?
We have not written.

Present Perfect Continuous Tense
The Present Perfect Continuous tense is used for an action which began at some time in the past and is still continuing.
[Subject +has been/have been + (verb+ ing+)]
01. I have been doing this work for two days.
02. We have been living here for five years.

**Note: Both (since and from) denote a point of time, not a space or period. But' since' is preceded by a verb in some perfect tense, while 'from' can be used with any form of tense. Another difference is that 'since' can be used only in reference to past time, whereas 'from' can be used for present and future tense," --> Nesfield.

Different forms of Present Perfect Continuous:
I have been working.
Have I been working?
I have not been working.
He/She has been working
Has he/she been working?
He/She has not been working.

Past Indefinite Tense (Simple Past)
Past Indefinite tense is used to denote an action completed in the past or a past habit.
[ Subject +Past from of verb]
01. I did the work.
02. He/She did the work.

Different forms of Simple Past:
A played
Did I play?
I did not play.
He/She played
Did he/she play?
He/She did not played.

Past Continuous (Past Progressive)
Past Continuous Tense is used when the action was continued for some time in the past.
[Subject +was /were+ (verb + ing)]
01. I was playing football.
02. He/She was playing football.

**Note: Past Progressive is often used together with a simple Past when two clauses in the past tense are joined with 'when' or 'while'.

Different forms of Past Continuous:
I was playing.
Was I playing?
I was not playing.
He/She was playing.
Was he/she paying?
He/She was not playing.

Past Perfect Tense
Past perfect tense is used in the former action between two completed actions of the past. Simple Past is used in the later action.
[Subject +had+(past participle of verb)]
01. Selena had gone out before Jon came home.
02. The train had started before I reached the station.

Different forms of Past Perfect:
I had opened.
Had I opened?
I had not opened.
He/She had opened.
Had he/she opened?
He/She had not opened.

Past Perfect Continuous Tense
Past Perfect Continuous tense is used for an action that began before a certain point in the past and continued up to that time.
[Subject + had been + (verb + ing)]
01. We had been playing before the train started.
02. She had been reading a novel when I went to meet her.

Different forms of Past Perfect Continuous:
I had been playing.
Had I been playing?
I had not been playing.
He/She had been playing.
Had he/she been paying?
He/She had not been playing.

Future Indefinite Tense (Simple Future)
Future Indefinite tense is used when an action will be done or will happen in future.
[Subject + shall/will+ verb]
01. I shall go to school.
02. He/She will go to school.

**Note-1: We use 'will' instead of 'shall ' and 'shall' instead of 'will' when we talk about strong insertion or promise.

**Note-2: When an action is planned or arranged to take place in the near future, present continuous tense is used instead of simple future tense.

Simple Future Tense generally expresses pure or colorless future. When the future is colored with intention, the going to + Infinitive construction is preferred; e.g., He is going to build a new house. But, I shall see him tomorrow.
Tomorrow will be Sunday. --> Wren & Martin.

Different forms of Future Indefinite (Simple Future):
I will do.
Will I do?
I wil not do.
He/She will do.
Will he/she do?
He/She will not do.

Future Continuous Tense
Future Continuous tense is used when an action is thought to be going on in the future.
[Subject + shall be / will be + (verb + ing)]
01. I shall be doing the work.
02. He/She will be doing the work.

Different forms of Future Continuous:
I will be doing.
Will I be doing?
I will not be doing.
He/She will be doing.
Will he/she be doing?
He/She will not be doing.

Future Perfect Tense
Future Ferfect tense is used to indicate the completion of an action by a certain time in the future.
[ Subject + shall have/will have + (past participle of verb)]
01. I shall have written the letter by that time.
02. Before you go to see him, he will have left the place.

Different forms of Future Perfect:
I will have done.
Will I have done?
I will have not done.
He/She will have done.
Will he/she have done?
He/She will have not done.

Future Perfect Continuous Tense
Future Perfect Continuous tense is used when the doer will have been doing the work by a certain future time.
[Subject + shall have been / will have been + (verb + ing)]
01. By next July we shall have been living here for three years.
02. He will have been studying at Oxford when he gets his degree.

Different forms of Future Perfect Continuous
I will have been doing.
Will I have been doing?
I wil not have been doing.
He/She will have been doing.
Will he/she have been doing?
He/She will not have been doing.

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