Reading Time: 2 minutes

In the English language, verb tenses indicate whether an event is from the past, present, or future. There are 12 verb tenses in the English language:

      1. Present Simple
      2. Present Continuous
      3. Present Perfect
      4. Present Perfect Continuous
      5. Past Simple
      6. Past Continuous
      7. Past Perfect
      8. Past Perfect Continuous
      9. Future Simple
      10. Future Continuous
      11. Future Perfect
      12. Future Perfect Continuous

When paired with an auxiliary word, these tenses provide information about the primary verbs in the sentences. We use main verbs and auxiliaries to form different tenses.

The Present Tense

The present tense is the most basic tense in the English language. Generally, we use it to refer to present activities or to talk about routines or habits. We also use the present tense to refer to facts and beliefs. It is also used to make a general statement about something or somebody.

She leaves for work at 7.30 every morning. (routine)
The sun rises in the east. (fact)
Harry usually drinks a glass of wine with his meal. (generalisation)

The 4 Present TensesExample 1Example 2
simple present tenseI goI laugh
present progressive tenseI am goingI am laughing
present perfect tenseI have goneI have laughed
present perfect progressive tenseI have been goingI have been laughing

Simple Present Tense

The simple present tense is mostly used to describe facts and habits.

I run daily.
You work.
He plays.

Present Progressive Tense

The present progressive tense is used for ongoing action in the present.

I am running to your house at the moment.
You are working.
He is playing.

Present Perfect Tense

The present perfect tense is used for actions that began in the past. (Often, the actions continue into the present.)

I have run for 5 miles so far.
You have worked.
He has played.

Present Perfect Progressive Tense

The present perfect progressive tense is used for a continuous activity that began in the past and continues into the present, or a continuous activity that began in past but has now finished (usually very recently).

I have been running for hours.
You have been working.
He has been playing since morning.

Previous articleA Dog has Died
Next articleFrom Transience to Permanence
Devika Panikar
δάσκαλος (dáskalos) means the teacher in Greek. Devika Panikar has been teaching English Language and Literature since 2006. She is an Assistant Professor with the Directorate of Collegiate Education under the Government of Kerala. She teaches at the Government Colleges under this directorate and is now posted at the Government Law College, Thiruvananthapuram. This website is a collection of lecture notes she prepared by referencing various sources for her students’ perusal. It has been compiled here for the sake of future generations.