English grammar

Module 3, Verbs, Lesson 8:

Tenses of Verbs

English grammar
Tenses tell us when an action happened.

Simple Tenses

Simple Tenses
Past Present Future
will walk
will eat

Simple tenses use the past form, the present form, and the present form with the helping verb will.

Yesterday I walked home from school.
Every day I walk home from school, and my sister walks home from school.
Tomorrow I will walk home from school.

Perfect tenses show when an action happened in relation to another action. The action in the past perfect began and ended before the event or time it is being related to. The action in the present perfect began in the past and continues up to the present or has ended by the present. The action in the future tense will be finished a particular point in the future.

Perfect Tenses
Past Perfect Present Perfect Future Perfect
had walked
had eaten
have walked
have eaten
will have walked
will have eaten

The perfect tenses use the helping verb to have (have/has, had) with the past participle of the verb. The verb to have changes to show the tense.

Yesterday I rode to school, but the day before I had walked to school.
Most days I walk to school, but for the last two weeks I have walked to school.
By the time I get to school tomorrow, I will have walked to school many times.

Progressive tenses show that an action is or was ongoing or continuing at the same time as something else. The present progressive tense is used to talk about something that is happening right now.

Progressive Tenses
Past Progressive Present Progressive Future Progressive
was walking
was eating
am walking
am eating
will be walking
will be eating

The progressive tenses use a form of the verb to be (am/is/are, was/were) and the present participle of the verb.

Yesterday I was walking to school when you saw me.
Most days I am walking to school when you see me.
Tomorrow I will be walking to school when you see me.

Perfect progressive tenses are a combination of perfect (completed before) and progressive (ongoing) tenses which show that something began, continued, and ended before another action mentioned.

Perfect Progressive Tenses
Past Perfect Progressive Present Perfect Progressive Future Perfect Progressive
had been walking
had been eating
have been walking
have been eating
will have been walking
will have been eating

The perfect progressive tenses combine the perfect (with have) and the progressive (with been) and the present participle of the verb.

Yesterday I had been walking to school when it started to rain.
Most days I have been walking to school when the weather is nice.
Tomorrow I will have been walking to school for six weeks straight.

Choosing the correct tense for use in a sentence requires you to pay close attention to the clues in the sentence.

Not a tense, but logically included in this section is the emphatic form. The emphatic form emphasizes that an action happened. It is also used in questions and in negative statements.

Emphatic Form
Past Emphatic Present Emphatic
did walk
did eat
do/does walk
do/does eat
There is no future emphatic because
you can't emphasize something that
hasn't been done yet.

The emphatic form uses the verb to do with the present form of the verb.

Practice What You've Learned

English grammar

Part 1

Identify the tense of the bold-faced verb.
Yesterday we were walking along the river when we saw two otters.
present perfect / past progressive / future / emphatic
Medieval painters made their paintbrushes from squirrel or mink tails.
future perfect / past / present progressive / past perfect progressive
My little sister pretends her stuffed animals can talk.
present / emphatic / past progressive / future perfect progressive
That blue car does get better gas mileage than the red one.
present / future perfect progressive / past progressive / emphatic
My laptop has been working very slowly lately.
future / present perfect progressive / emphatic / past progressive
This tree will have oranges on it in November.
present perfect progressive / future / past progressive / emphatic
I hope Matthew has completed his science project.
present perfect / past perfect / future / emphatic
Tomorrow we will have eaten pizza five days in a row.
present perfect progressive / past / future perfect / emphatic
My Akita does love those treats, but my German shepherd doesn't.
present perfect / past progressive / future / emphatic
The ancient Egyptians mummified their dead.
present perfect / past / future progressive / emphatic

Part 2

Choose the correct tense of the verb to complete the sentence.
By tomorrow we have completed / will have completed our science project research.
Michelle has been / goes to Paris six times.
On our field trip next week, we will have gone / will be going to the local zoo.
Yesterday Shelly will go / went to the mall after school.
Every day Daniel eats / ate a hot dog for lunch.
This past month, my mother will be growing / has been growing vegetables in her garden.
In the Middle Ages, people will believe / believed that illness was caused by witchcraft.
I hope tomorrow was / will be sunny, unlike today.
After the spill last month, we drank / drink bottled water until the city said the water was safe.
In the tournament, the boxers fought / will fight until the champion knocked out the contender.