English Language Verb Tenses For Verbs

In grammar, “tense” refers to a category which expresses time reference. Grammatical tense is usually indicated by the specific form of a verb, particularly in the conjugation pattern.

Tenses usually express time relative to the moment of speaking. In some contexts, however, their meaning may be relativized to a point in the past or future which is established in the discourse (the moment being spoken about). This is called relative (as opposed to absolute) tense. English non-finite verbs (baking, to bake, baked) usually have relative time reference. English finite verbs, or verbs tied to specific a specific number or person(s) (e.g., appear vs. instead “illustrating”), have forms with absolute time references in nearly all instances.

The English language only has two morphological tenses, the non-past and the past (in other words, English verbs will only change depending on if they’re in the non-past tense and the past tense, though the non-past sometimes references the future). For practical purposes, there are 12 English tenses once you take into account different aspects and future modals.

  1. Present Simple
    1. I do, I do do
  2. Present Continuous
    1. I am doing
  3. Present Perfect
    1. I have done
  4. Present Perfect Continuous
    1. I have been doing
  5. Past Simple
    1. I did, I did do
  6. Past Continuous
    1. I was doing
  7. Past Perfect
    1. I had done
  8. Past Perfect Continuous
    1. I had been doing
  9. Future Simple
    1. I will do
  10. Future Continuous
    1. I will be doing
  11. Future Perfect
    1. I will have done
  12. Future Perfect Continuous
    1. I will have been doing


  1. https://www.cambridge.org/core/books/tense/relative-tense/97C949233D175528A3F7EDCFB5446302
  2. https://www.englishclub.com/grammar/verb-tenses.htm
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grammatical_tense

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Bill

    Tenses page within my Grammar Rules section now on Bill’s List.

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