Verb Tense Tense denotes the time of the action indicated by a verb. The time is not always the same as that indicated by the name of the tense.
Present Tense • Present tense may express action which is going on at the present time or which occurs always, repeatedly, or habitually. • Examples: He sees the train. He eats cereal for breakfast every day.
Past Tense • Past tense expresses action completed at a definite time in the past. • Examples: He wrote the letter yesterday. She lived to be 90 years old.
Future Tense • Future tense expresses action which will take place in the future. • It uses the helping verbs will or shall* and the present tense form of the verb). • Examples: He will send the letter tomorrow. I shall wait here until you return. • * Traditionally, shall is used for 1st person and will for 2nd and 3rd persons.
Present Perfect Tense • Present perfect tense expresses action completed at the present time (perfect means complete) or begun in the past and continuing into the present. • This tense uses the helping verbs has and have and the past participle of the verb. • Examples: • He has written a letter to his uncle. (completed action) • The Waltons have lived here for seven years. (continuing)
Past Perfect Tense • Past perfect tense expresses action completed before certain time in the past. (This is the before-past tense.) • It uses the helping verb had and the past participle of the verb. • Example: She had written the letter before I saw her.
Future Perfect Tense • Future perfect tense expresses action which will be completed before a certain time in the future. (This is the before-future tense) • It uses the helping verbs will have or shall have and the past participle of the verb. • Example: He will have finished the paper before next Friday.
Regular Verbs • Regular verbs form their past tense and past participle by adding –ed or –d to their present tense form. • More than 95% of all English verbs are regular. • Regular verbs cause few problems in speaking and writing.
Irregular Verbs • Irregular verbs can form their past tense and past participle forms in various way. • These forms cause even native speakers innumerable problems. • The most irregular verb of all is the verb to be. • Another irregular verb that is important for its use with other verbs is the verb to have.
Conjugation • A conjugation of a verb is the correct arrangement of its form through its tenses, persons, and numbers. • Person means the speaker, the person spoken to, and the person or thing spoken of. • Number means singular or plural.