Verb Tenses | Table of English Tenses with Rules and Examples

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.

Verb Tenses | Table of English Tenses with Rules and Examples 2

Verb Tenses List

Present Simple

Learn useful grammar rules to use the Present Simple Tense in English.

  • Express habits or general truth

Example:

I’m nineteen years old.

  • Describe a future event on a designated date as part of a plan or arrangement

Examples:

The plane arrives at 18.00 tomorrow.

Present Simple Tense | Picture

Present Simple Tense

Present Continuous

Learn how and when to use the Present Continuous Tense in English.

  • Describe action going on at the time of speaking

Example:

They are swimming in the pool.

  • Express temporary action which may not be happening at the time of speaking

Example:

John’s driving his father’s car while his own car is in the workshop.

Present Continuous Tense | Picture

Present Continuous Tense

Present Perfect

Learn how and when to use the Present Perfect Tense in English.

  • Express past action which is not defined by a time of occurrence

Example:

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

Example:

She has worked in the bank for five years.

Present Perfect Tense | Picture

Present Perfect Tense

Present Perfect Continuous

Learn how to use the Present Perfect Continuous tense (also known as the Present Perfect Progressive tense) in English.

  • Express an action which started at some point in the past and may not be complete

Example:

He has been living in Bangkok since he left school.

Present Perfect Continuous Tense | Picture

Present Perfect Continuous Tense

Past Simple

Learn useful grammar rules to use the Past Simple Tense in English.

  • Describe a past habit – or an action already completed

Example:

I went to Egypt in 1988.

  • Can be used with or without adverbs of time

Example:

He drank his whiskey almost bottoms up.

Past Simple Tense | Picture

Past Simple Tense

Past Continuous

Learn how and when to use the Past Continuous Tense (or Past Progressive) in English with useful grammar rules and examples.

  • Express uncompleted action of the past (with or without time reference)

Example:

Everyone was shouting.

  • Describe persistent habits of the past (with always, continuously, forever, etc.)

Example:

They were always quarrelling.

Past Continuous Tense | Picture

Past Continuous Tense

Past Perfect

Learn how and when to use the Past Perfect Tense in English with rules and examples.

  • Describe a completed action of the past that happened before another event took place

Example:

After he had finished work, he went straight home.

Past Perfect Tense | Picture

Past Perfect Tense

Past Perfect Continuous

Learn how and when to use the Past Perfect Continuous Tense in English.

  • Describe an action in the past that began before a certain point in the past and continued up until that time

Example:

She had been working at that company for three years when it went out of business.

Past Perfect Continuous Tense | Image

Past Perfect Continuous Tense

Future Simple

The Simple Future tense indicates that an action is in the future relative to the speaker or writer.

  • Express an action, condition, or circumstance which hasn’t taken place yet

Example:

I will eat Japanese Food tomorrow.

Simple Future Tense | Picture

Simple Future Tense

Future Continuous

Learn how and when to use the Future Continuous Tense in English

  • Express what will be going on at some time in the future

Example:

You‘ll be missing the sunshine once you’re back in England.

Future Continuous Tense | Picture

Future Continuous Tense

Future Perfect

  • Express an action that will be complete before another event takes place

Example:

By the time I finish this course, I will have taken ten tests.

Future Perfect Tense | Picture

Verb Tenses | Table of English Tenses with Rules and Examples 3

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

Example:

I will have been watching TV for 3 hours when you arrive.

Future Perfect Continuous Tense | Picture

Future Perfect Continuous

Verb Tenses Chart – All Tenses in a Table

Verb Tenses Chart - All Tenses in a Table

Verb Tenses | Table of English Tenses with Rules and Examples 4

Comparison of Verb Tenses in English Grammar

Present Simple vs. Present Continuous

Learn the difference between Present Simple and Present Continuous tense with examples and useful grammar rules.

  • The present simple tense is used to express general truths, while the present continuous tense describes actions happening now.
  • The present simple tense is used to indicate present habits, while the present continuous tense is used to express annoying habits (+ always).
  • The present simple tense expresses timetable events; the present continuous tense is used to describe future arrangements.
  • The present simple tense is used to indicate permanent states; In contrast, the present continuous tense is used to express temporary states.

Present Simple vs. Present Continuous | Picture

Present Simple vs. Present Continuous

Present Perfect vs. Present Perfect Progressive

Learn the difference between the Present Perfect and Present Perfect Continuous Tense in English.

  • The present perfect tense is used with finished actions, while the present perfect progressive tense is used with unfinished actions.
  • The present perfect tense indicates permanent actions; the present perfect progressive tense describes temporary actions.
  • The present perfect tense emphasizes the result of the action; In contrast, the present perfect progressive tense emphasizes the duration of the action.
  • The present perfect tense indicates “How much/How many“, while the present perfect progressive tense indicates “How long something has been happening“.

Present Perfect vs. Present Perfect Progressive | Picture

Present Perfect Simple vs. Present Perfect Progressive

Past Simple vs. Present Perfect

What is the difference between Past Simple and Present Perfect Tense?

  • The past simple tense is used to express finished time; in contrast, the present perfect tense describes unfinished time.
  • The past simple tense is used to refer to definite time, while the present perfect tense refers to indefinite time.
  • The past simple tense indicates series of finished actions or repeated actions; the present perfect tense expresses experience or result.

Past Simple vs. Present Perfect | Picture

Past Simple vs. Present Perfect

Past Perfect vs. Past Perfect Continuous

What is the difference between Past Perfect and Past Perfect Continuous Tense?

  • The past perfect tense expresses a past action, already finished when another past action happened; the past perfect continuous tense describes a past action which started in the past and continued to happen after another action or time in the past.
  • The past perfect tense emphasizes the result of an activity in the past; in contrast, the past perfect continuous tense emphasizes the duration of an activity in the past.
  • The past perfect tense shows two events in the past that are linked, while the past perfect continuous tense shows the cause of a past action.

Past Perfect vs. Past Perfect Continuous | Picture

Past Perfect vs. Past Perfect Continuous

Will vs. Going to

Learn the Difference Between Will vs Going to in English with grammar rules and examples.

In English grammar, both “Will” and “Be Going to” are used to express future tense but they do not have the same meaning.

  • Will is used to express future actions decided at the moment of speaking, while Going to describes future plans decided before the moment of speaking.
  • Will is used to indicate a prediction based on personal opinions or experiences, while going to is used to express a prediction based on present evidence.
  • Will expresses a future fact; going to is used to describe something is about to happen.

Will vs. Going to | Picture

Will vs. Going to

27 responses on "Verb Tenses | Table of English Tenses with Rules and Examples"

  1. Thanks for the pics. Really helpful

  2. best explaination ,i have ever seen tilll now

  3. be – pro

  4. Really helpful!

  5. thanks a lot! really appreciate it.

  6. youre th best!!!!!!!

  7. AWESOME! THANKS FOR SHARING!

  8. You are the best!

  9. Thanks its realy very helpful

  10. It is a wonderful page with a lot of content, this is my favorite website, very helpful. Thank you so much indeed.

Leave a Message

Your email address will not be published.