Verb Tenses are all used to express action that has taken place in the past, present, and future. The following sections will show how and when to use the 12 basic tenses in English grammar.
You can jump to any section of this lesson:
- 1 Verb Tenses List
- 2 Verb Tenses Chart – All Tenses in a Table
Verb Tenses List
- Express habits or general truth
I’m nineteen years old.
- Describe a future event on a designated date as part of a plan or arrangement
The plane arrives at 18.00 tomorrow.
- Describe action going on at the time of speaking
They are swimming in the pool.
- Express temporary action which may not be happening at the time of speaking
John’s driving his father’s car while his own car is in the workshop.
- Express past action which is not defined by a time of occurrence
Teresa isn’t at home. I think she has gone shopping.
- Express an action which started in the past and has continued up until now
She has worked in the bank for five years.
Present Perfect Continuous
- Express an action which started at some point in the past and may not be complete
He has been living in Bangkok since he left school.
- Describe a past habit – or an action already completed
I went to Egypt in 1988.
- Can be used with or without adverbs of time
He drank his whiskey almost bottoms up.
- Express uncompleted action of the past (with or without time reference)
Everyone was shouting.
- Describe persistent habits of the past (with always, continuously, forever, etc.)
They were always quarrelling.
- Describe a completed action of the past that happened before another event took place
After he had finished work, he went straight home.
Past Perfect Continuous
- Describe an action in the past that began before a certain point in the past and continued up until that time
She had been working at that company for three years when it went out of business.
- Express an action, condition, or circumstance which hasn’t taken place yet
I will eat Japanese Food tomorrow.
- Express what will be going on at some time in the future
You‘ll be missing the sunshine once you’re back in England.
- Express an action that will be complete before another event takes place
By the time I finish this course, I will have taken ten tests.
Future Perfect Continuous
- Describe an action that will have happened for some time and will not be complete yet at a certain point in the future
I will have been watching TV for 3 hours when you arrive.