Definition of Tense • TENSE indicates the time of action or state of being indicated by the verb. • English has 6 tenses • 3 basic tenses • 3 perfect tense • Each tense also has progressive form • Each tense is used to express time in a specific way
Three Basic Tenses Future Present Past
Basic tenses - Why do I use them? • Present: an action or state of being that is occurring right now at the present AND • to show a habitual action or state of being • I walk to school every day. • to state a general truth • Two plus two equals four. • to summarize literary action. • In Chapter 3, Nick meets Gatsby. • to express basic future time • School ends in June. • Past: an action or state of being that occurred at a definite point in the past AND did not continue into the present. • Future: an action or state of being that will occur; usually formed with helping verb will or shall + the base form.
Three Perfect Tenses Future Past Present Past Perfect Present Perfect Future Perfect
Perfect tenses - Why do I use them? • Present perfect: expresses an action or state of being that occurred at an indefinite time in the past OR an action that began in the past and continues into the present. • formed: have/has + past participle • She has visitedNew York several times. • I have walked to school since freshman year. • Past perfect: expresses an action or a state of being that ended BEFORE another past action. • formed: had + past participle • Mr. Smith had driven a taxi before he became a teacher. • Future perfect: expresses an action or state of being that will end before another future action • formed: will or shall + have/has + past participle. • By the time you receive this postcard, I will have returned home from my vacation.
Remember in Slide #2, I referred to a progressive form? • The progressive form is used to express continuing action or state of being • Walk ==> walking (present participle) • present progressive: am/are/is + present participle • past progressive: was/were + present participle • future progressive: will/shall + be + present participle • present perfect progressive: have/has + been + present participle • past perfect progressive: had + been + present participle • future perfect progressive: will/shall + have/has + been + present participle
Consistency of Tense • Do not change tense unnecessarily. • When describing events that occur at the same time, use verbs in the same tense. • When describing events that occur at different times, use verbs in different tenses to help indicate the sequence of events.
What about these helping verbs (called modals)? • CAN and COULD --> indicate ability to do something • MAY --> expresses permission or possibility • MIGHT --> also expresses possibility, but less likely than MAY • MUST --> indicates a requirement or an explanation • OUGHT --> expresses an obligation or likelihood • SHOULD --> indicates a recommendation, an obligation, or a possibility • WOULD --> expresses the conditional form of a verb; • used with IF • future time • a repeated action in the past • an invitation or offer • a polite request