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Tenses

The concept of time can be split into:

  1. The Present - What you are currently doing.

I eat, I am eating

  1. The Past - What you did some time back.

I ate, I was eating

  1. The Future - What you will do later.

I will eat, I will be eating

In the English language, tenses play an important role in sentence formation.

The tense of a verb shows the time of an event or action.

There are four types of tenses. Simple, Perfect, Continuous and Present Perfect Continuous and each of these has a present, past and future form.

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PRESENT TENSES

SIMPLE PRESENT TENSE

In Simple Present, the action is simply mentioned and there is nothing being said about its completeness.

I eat.
I sleep.
I play.

PRESENT CONTINUOUS TENSE

In Present Continuous, the action is on-going/ still going on and hence continuous.

I am eating.
I am sleeping.
I am playing.

PRESENT PERFECT TENSE

In Present Perfect, the action is complete or has ended and hence termed Perfect.

I have eaten.
I have slept.
I have played.

PRESENT PERFECT CONTINUOUS TENSE

In Present Perfect Continuous, the action has been taking place for some time and is still ongoing.

I have been eating.
I have been sleeping.
I have been playing.

PAST TENSES

SIMPLE PAST TENSE

In Simple Past, the action is simply mentioned and understood to have taken place in the past.

I ate.
I slept.
I played.

PAST CONTINUOUS TENSE

In Past Continuous, the action was ongoing till a certain time in the past.

I was eating.
I was sleeping.
I was playing.

PAST PERFECT TENSE

Past Perfect is used to express something that happened before another action in the past.

I had eaten.
I had slept.
I had played.

PAST PERFECT CONTINUOUS TENSE

Past Perfect Continuous is used to express something that started in the past and continued until another time in the past.

I had been eating.
I had been sleeping.
I had been playing.

FUTURE TENSES

SIMPLE FUTURE TENSE

Simple Future is used when we plan or make a decision to do something. Nothing is said about the time in the future.

I will eat.
I will sleep.
I will play.

FUTURE CONTINUOUS TENSE

The future continuous tense is used to express action at a particular moment in the future. However, the action will not have finished at the moment.

I will be eating at 9 a.m.
I will be sleeping when you arrive.
I will be playing at 5 p.m.

FUTURE PERFECT TENSE

Future Perfect expresses action that will occur in the future before another action in the future.

I will have eaten before 10 a.m.
I will have slept before you arrive.
I will have played before 6 p.m.

FUTURE PERFECT CONTINUOUS TENSE

Future Perfect Continuous is used to talk about an on-going action before some point in the future.

I will have been sleeping for two hours when you arrive.
I will have been playing for an hour when it is 5 p.m.