Thursday, December 31, 2015

"Tenses" in English Grammar with Examples for Competitive Exams

A tense is a form of a verb which is used to indicate the time, and sometimes the completeness, of an action in relation to the time of speaking. The origin of the word tense is the latin word temps, which means time. In simple word's, we can say that the tenses are a method which is used to refer to time. Past, present and future tense tells you when the action happens.

There are three main tenses:-

  1. Present Tense
  2. Past Tense
  3. Future Tense
Each main tense is divided into subtenses like
  1. Simple
  2. continuous
  3. Perfect
  4. Perfect continuous tenses
Let's have a look at the following table.

Now let's discuss the usage of tenses. I Mean when where and how to use tenses.

usage of tenses

Present Simple Tense

1. To express a habitual action 
  • I get up every day at six o'clock. 
  • She drinks tea every morning.
2. To express general truths
  • Honey is sweet.
  • The sun rises in the east.
3. Actually taking place in the present
  • Here comes the bus.
  • There she goes.

4. Scheduled events in the near future

  • The train leaves at 5.40.
  • The match starts at 8 o'clock.

Present continuous Tense

1. For an action going on at the time of speaking 
  • She is singing now.
  • The boys are playing hockey.
2. For a temporary action which may not be actually happening at the time of speaking 
  • I am reading 'David Copperfield' but I am not reading at this moment.
3. For an action that has already been arranged to take place in the near future
  • I am going to the cinema tonight.
  • My uncle is arriving tomorrow.

Present Perfect Tense

1. To indicate completed activities in the immediate past (with just)
  • He has just gone out.
  • It has just struck ten.
2. To express past actions whose time is not given and not definite
  • Have you read 'Gulliver's Travels'?
  • I have never known him to be angry.
3. To describe past events when we think more of their effect in the present than of the action itself
  • Gopi has eaten all the biscuits.
  • I have finished my work.
4. To denote an action beginning at some time in the past and continuing up to the present moment
  • I have known him for a long time.
  • We have lived here for ten years.

  Present Perfect Continuous Tense

1. The Present Perfect Continuous is used for an action which began at some time in the past and is still continuing
  • He has been sleeping for five hours(and is still sleeping).
  • They have been building the bridge for several months.
  • They have been playing since four o'clock.
2. This tense is also sometimes used for an action already finished. In such cases, the continuity of the activity is emphasized as an explanation of something.
  • 'Why are your clothes so wet?' - 'I have been watering the garden'.

Past Simple Tense

1. The Past Simple is used to indicate an action completed in the past. It often occurs with adverbs or adverb phrases of past time.
  • The steamer sailed yesterday.
  • She left school last year.
2. Sometimes this tense is used without an adverb of time. In such cases, the time may be either implied or indicated by the context.
  • I learned Hindi in Nagpur.
  • Babar defeated Rana Sanga at Kanwaha.
3. The Past Simple past is also used for past habits.
  • He studied many hours every day.
  • She always carried an umbrella.

 Past continuous Tense

3. The Past Continuous is used to denote an action going on at some time in the past. The time of the action may or may not be indicated.
  • We were listening to the radio all evening.
  • It was getting darker.
2. This tense is also used with always, continually, etc. for persistent habits in the past.
  • He was always grumbling.

Past Perfect Tense

The Past Perfect Tense is used show an action which was over at a past time.
  • The train had left before we reached the station.
  • I had finished my work before the guests arrived.

Past Perfect Continuous Tense

The past Perfect Continuous Tense is used to show an action started earlier and was going on up to a particular time in the past.
  • When I joined the college Mr.Shah had been teaching there for three years.
  • When I met him he had been painting a picture for three days.

Future Simple Tense

1. The Future Simple Tense is used to talk about things which we cannot control. It expresses the future as fact.

  • I shall be twenty next Saturday.
  • It will be Diwali in a week.
  • We will know our exam results in may.
2. We use this tense to talk about what we think or believe will happen in the future.

  • I think India will win the match.
  • I am sure Gopi will get the first class.

Future Continuous Tense

1. The Future Continuous Tense to talk about actions which will be in progress at a time in the future.
  • I suppose it will be raining when we start.
  • This time, tomorrow I will be sitting on the beach in Singapore.
2. This Tense to talk about actions in the future which are already planned or which are expected to happen in the normal course of things.
  • I will be staying here till Sunday.
  • He will be meeting us next week.

Future Perfect Tense

The Future Perfect Tense is used to talk about actions that will be completed by a certain future time.
  • I shall have written my exercise by then.
  • He will have left before you go to see him.

Future Perfect Continuous Tense

The Future Perfect Continuous Tense is used for actions which will be in progress over a period of time that will end in the future.
  • By next March, we shall have been living here for four years.
  • I will have been teaching for twenty years next July.


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