If you have stuck around our website for a long time now then you would know that we are on a spin to cover all topics from elementary grammar. With our last lesson on interjection, we decided that it is now time to take these grammar lessons up a notch. Get ready to go back to one of the lengthiest but also one of the most important topics of English grammar which is, tenses.
But, we’re going to break this down so easily, that the topic would have never seemed this easier. Of course, the more you delve into the depth of the topic, the more complicated it becomes. But, for our daily lives, to communicate and to write, we need to stay updated with the basics to avoid errors. That is exactly what this lesson is about.
1. What are tenses?
Tense is nothing but a word that describes a particular period of time. So say supposing, you want to explain the action, tenses help you enunciate when that action took place – in the past in the present or in the future. Let’s take a look at three examples one in the past tense one in the present tense and one in the future tense.
He speaks fluently [ present tense ].
My sister arrived yesterday [past tense]
We are leaving for Europe in 10 days [future tense]
2. How many forms does each tense have?
Each of these tenses has 4 forms.
3. What are the four types of present tense?
The four types are:
simple present- I love.
Present continuous- I am loving
Present perfect – I have loved
Present perfect continuous – I have been loving.
We can understand each of these types with the help of relevant examples. The first sentence speaks about a particular action but there is no information about the fact that the action is complete or incomplete.
In the second sentence, the action is such that it shows that it is still going on. The sentence explains how the action in the present is complete or perfect.
And Lastly, the 4th sentence showcases how the action is still going on and not completed in the present moment.
4. When do we use words in the present tense?
There are several occasions when we can use the present tense. Of course, these are more generic, but they give a basic idea of when and how to use them.
(i) Habitual Actions: Maria takes coffee every morning.
(ii) General Truths: The sun rises in the east.
(iii) Planned actions: His marriage takes place next week. (Notice, that even though this is an action that will take place in the future, it is still planned. Therefore, it wouldn’t be wrong to express the same in the present form.
(iv) States of action or mind: My brother works in New York.
(v) An activity that is in progress: The servant comes and opens the door.
5. What are the four types of past tense?
These are the same as about, just that they refer to an action done in the past.
Simple past – I loved.
Past continuous – I was loving.
past perfect – I had loved.
Past perfect continuous – I had been loving.
6. Which are the four types of future tenses?
There isn’t much difference in the four types of each of these time periods except that they speak of
Simple future – I shall or will love.
Future continuous I shall or will be loving.
Future perfect- I shall or will have loved.
Future perfect continuous – I shall have been loving.
7. With which other elementary grammar concept does this topic combine?
We cannot understand tenses without understanding the idea of verbs. It is here where conjugation of verbs takes place where we understand the subject of the sentence and the time when it happened.
With tenses, it is also very important to understand two other major concepts- Clauses and Modal Verbs. We will take a look at those in the upcoming lessons. They help understand the correct usage, and also the correct placement of these verbs. To understand tenses in-depth, we need to break down each type, and then study them in fragments. It is then that it becomes easier to apply how to use them in positive sentences, negative sentences, and interrogative tenses.
We’re going to leave you with an exercise where you can figure out the correct verb form to fill the blanks. Remember to understand the tense before you conjugate the verbs. (You can read more about the same in our lesson on Verbs). Feel free to leave your answers in the comment section below.
Exercise: Fill in the blank with the correct verb form.
- If he _____ (stand) first, he will be satisfied.
- They followed us because they _____ to. (have)
- It _____ (seem) you are lazy.
- We _____ you are never late. (thought)
- Is she _____ (be) a fairy, she would have flown to my window.
- I ____ (get) a scholarship after I improved my reading habits.
- I know you _____ (tell) the truth.
- She _____ (visit) during her holidays.
- We ______ (notice) that another bus was coming.
- We did not attend the function; we _____ (be) criticized.
All the best!