Tenses | Usage | How to Use Tenses | English Grammar |

Tenses: They are defined as time of action. They are of following types.

Present Tense 

A verb that refers to present time is said to be in the Present Tense. Given below are the structures.

Present Simple

Present Simple Structures (In Case of I, We, You & They)

S + v1 + O. (Affirmative)                                                                         

We love our country.

S + do not + v1 + O. (Neg.)                                                                     

We don’t love our country.

Do + S + v1 + O? (Interrogative)                                                             

Do we love our country?

Do + S + not + v1 + O? (Neg. Interrogative)                                         

Do we not love our country?

Present Simple Structures (In Case of He, She, It & Name)

S + v1 (s/es/ies) + O. (Affirmative)                                                               

She goes to market on foot.

S + does not + v1 + O. (Negative)                                                                 

She does not go to market on foot.

Does + S + v1 + O? (Interrogative)                                                         

Does she go to market on foot?

Does + S + not + v1 + O? (Neg. Interrogative)   

Does she not go to market on foot?


  • Habitual Actions

He gets up early in the morning.

  • General and Universal Truth

The Earth moves around the sun.

Water boils at 100-degree Celsius.

  • Commentaries (When sentences Begin from Here and There)

Here goes the ball.

  • Planned Actions

The train departs at 6 O’clock on every Monday.

  • Conditionals (Open)

If you work hard, you will succeed.

  • Time Clause (When, Before)

I will call you when my father comes.

  • Narration of any story or an event

Alexander raises his hand to convey a message.


Present Continuous

S + is/am/are + v1 (ing) + O. (Affirmative)                                             

for e.g. I am waiting for my brother.

S +is/am/are not + v1 (ing) + O. (Neg.)                                                   

for e.g. I am not waiting for my brother.

Is/Am/Are + S + v1 (ing) + O? (Interrogative)                                         

for e.g. Am I waiting for my brother?

Is/Am/Are + S + not + v1 (ing) + O? (Neg. Interrogative)                     

for e.g. Am I not waiting for my brother?


  • Actions happening in front of eyes at the time of speaking.
  1. She is mopping the floor now.
  2. They are cleaning their shop.
  • Actions happening somewhere else at the time of speaking.
  1. My mother is working as a teacher in one of the private schools.
  2. My father is leading all the employees In this mission.

Present Perfect

S + has/have + v3 + O. (Affirmative)                                                       

for e.g. She has just finished her food.

S + has/have + v3  + O. (Neg.)                                                                 

for e.g. She has not finished her food yet.

Has/Have + S + v3 + O? (Interrogative)                                                 

for e.g. Has she finished her food?

Has/Have + S + not + v3 + O? (Neg. Interrogative)                               

for e.g. Has she not finished her food yet?


  • Actions that happened in past but they have effects in the present. It is used with adverbs like just, already, never, ever, recently, so far, until now, as if now

  1. I have just had my lunch.
  2. Ram has already gotten his share of property.
  3. I have broken my leg.
  • Action that started in the past and continues in the present.
  1. I have lived in Australia all my life.
  2. Ram has been married for 5 years.

Present Perfect Continuous

S + has/have been + v1 (ing) + O. (Affirmative)                               

They have been reading for two hours.

S + has/have not been + v1 (ing) + O. (Neg.)                                 

They have not been reading for two hours.

Has/Have + S +been + v1 (ing) + O? (Interrogative)                       

Have they been reading for two hours?

Has/Have + S +not been + v1 (ing) + O? (Neg. Interrogative)                     

Have they not been reading for two hours?


  • Actions started in the past and continues in the present.
  1. My father has been working as a Manager for 2 years.
  2. They have been putting up with the behavior of their children since their birth.
  • Used with Since/For to denote the time.
  1. Since is used for point of time
  2. For is used for period of time.

Past Tense

A verb that refers to Past time is said to be in the Past Tense.

Past Simple

S + v2 + O. (Affirmative)

Her mother scolded you yesterday.

S + did not + v1 + O. (Neg.)

Her mother did not scold you yesterday.

Did + S + v1 + O? (Interrogative)

Did her mother scold you yesterday?

Did + S + not + v1 + O? (Neg. Interrogative)

Did her mother not scold you yesterday?


  • To denote something that happened once in one’s past life.
  1. I bought my first car in 2013.
  2. She got married to Ram in her twenties.
  • To denote past habits of one’s life.
  1. We went to park daily and played a lot there.
  2. She got up time and again to check if the door was locked or not.
  • To express truth of the past.
  1. We had a lot of cars in the days of prosperity.
  2. They spent a lot of money when they were rich.
  • It is used with adverbs of time like ago, yesterday, last month etc.
  1. She met me a long time ago.
  2. What did you do yesterday?
  3. Did you attend the party last month?

Past Continuous

S + was/were + v1 (ing) + O. (Affirmative)

They were humiliating me before you.

S +was/were not + v1 (ing) + O. (Neg.)

They were not humiliating me before you.

Was/Were + S + v1 (ing) + O? (Interrogative)

Were they humiliating me before you?

Was/Were + S + not + v1 (ing) + O? (Neg. Interrogative)

Were they not humiliating me before you?


  • To denote an incomplete action in the past.
  1. I wat going to sit for studying when one of my relatives came to meet me.
  • To denote change in idea or thought
  1. I was going to start a new business but could not due to lack of money.
  • To narrate the event/story in the past tense.
  1. The boys were playing, birds were chirping and the rest were sleeping.
  • To express actions happening in the past at the time of speaking before other action started.
  1. My mother was cooking in the kitchen when I reached there.

 Past Perfect

S + had + v3 + O. (Affirmative)

She had finished her homework on time.

S +had + v3 + O. (Neg.)

She had not finished her homework on time

Had + S + v3 + O? (Interrogative)

Had she finished her homework on time?

Had + S + not + v3 + O? (Neg. Interrogative)

Had she not finished her homework?

USES of PAST PERFECT (With Examples)

  • To denote a complete action in the past before other action started.
  1. The ambulance had reached the patient’s home before he died.
  2. The boy had already been the king of the town when his father returned.
  3. I had finished eating when my parents came home.
  • It is used with adverb ‘just’ as well
  1. My mother had just completed her graduation when she got the job. 

 Past Perfect Continuous

S + had been + v1 (ing) + O. (Affirmative)

Manoj had been playing for two hours.

S + had not been + v1 (ing) + O. (Neg.)

Manoj had not been playing for two hours.

Had + S +been + v1 (ing) + O? (Interrogative)

Had Manoj been playing for two hours?

Had + S +not been + v1 (ing) + O? (Neg. Interrogative)

Had Manoj not been playing for two hours?


  • To denote an action started in the past and continued till the time of speaking.
  1. He had been suffering from fever for a long time.
  2. They had been inviting them for two months to the marriage of their son.
  3. I had been reading since morning when my mother told me about the cancellation of exam.

Future Tense:

A verb that refers to future time is said to be in the future Tense.

Future Simple

S + will/shall + v1 + O. (Affirmative)                                                        

I shall go to school tomorrow.

S + will/shall not + v1 + O. (Neg.)

I shall not go to school tomorrow.

Will/Shall + S + v1 + O? (Interrogative)  

Shall I go to school tomorrow?

Will/Shall + S + not + v1 + O? (Neg. Interrogative) 

Shall I not go to school tomorrow?

USES of FUTURE SIMPLE (With Examples)

To denote an action which has not taken place yet.

  1. I will go to Australia next year with my friends.
  2. She will not marry Ram at any cost.

‘Going To’ is also used to express future actions.

  1. They are going to settle in America when they return from Dubai.
  2. He is going to buy a new house in Adelaide next week.

Future Continuous

S + will/shall + be +v1 (ing) + O. (Affirmative)  

He will be asking for me.

S + will/shall not +be + v1 (ing) + O. (Neg.)  

He will not be asking for me.

Will/Shall + S +be + v1 (ing) + O? (Interrogative) 

Will he be asking for me?

Will/Shall + S + not +be+ v1 (ing) + O? (Neg. Interrogative)           

Will he not be asking for me?


  • To denote future actions happening at the time of speaking.
  1. She will be watching a movie tomorrow with her friends at the same time.
  2. My friend will be writing a book this summer.
  3. He will be learning German in next coming years.

Future Perfect

S + will/shall have + v3 + O. (Affirmative) 

We shall have reached by tomorrow.

S + will/shall not have + v3 + O. (Neg.) 

We shall not have reached by tomorrow.

Will/Shall + S + have + v3 + O? (Interrogative) 

Shall we have reached by tomorrow?

Will/Shall + S + not + v3 + O? (Neg. Interrogative)                             

Shall we not have reached by tomorrow?

USES of FUTURE PERFECT (With Examples)

  • To denote an action which will have been completed at some point in future.
  1. My younger brother will have completed his graduation by 2019.
  2. She will have moved to London by the end of next year.
  3. Will you have eaten your food when I come?

Future Perfect Continuous

S + will/shall have been + v1 (ing) + O. (Affirmative)   

Pankaj will have been asking for two hours.

S + will/shall have not been + v1 (ing) + O. (Neg.) 

Pankaj will not have been asking for two hours.

Will/Shall + S + have +been + v1 (ing) + O? (Interrogative)  

Will Pankaj have been asking for two hours?

Will/Shall + S + have not been + v1 (ing) + O? (Neg.Int.)   

Will Pankaj not have been asking for two hours?


  • To denote an action that will continue up until a point to time.
  1. He will have been dancing for a long period of time by the end of December.
  2. She will have been teaching English at a local school for 10 years by 2020.

Exercises for Tenses

1) Shyam ____ to market daily.
a) go
b) goes
c) going
d) No error

Answer: goes

2) They are _____ football with their families now.
a) watching
b) watch
c) watched
d) No error

Answer: watching

3) Does she _____ you?
a) loves
b) loving
c) love
d) loved

Answer: love

4) The batches for competitive exams ____ on Monday.
a) start
b) starting
c) starts
d) started

Answer: start

5) One of my friends ___ bought a new car on his birthday.
a) has
b) have
c) having
d) None of these

Answer: has

6) She ____ to market with her friend yesterday.
a) had gone
b) was going
c) went
d) None of these

Answer: went

7) Her mother _____ before the ambulance came.
a) had died
b) died
c) way dying
d) was died

Answer: had died

8) She ____ when I reached home.
a) was worked
b) was working
c) had working
d) was worked

Answer: was working

9) My father ____ as an Inspector for nine years.
a) was working
b) had been working
c) have been working
d) had being worked

Answer: had been working

10) She has not _____ her father yet.
a) sees
b) seen
c) seeing
d) has been seen

Answer: seen

11) Here _____ the ball in the stand.
a) go
b) goes
c) going
d) None of these

Answer: goes

12) We did not _____ any clothes from Brass Market.
a) bought
b) buy
c) buying
d) None of these

Answer: buy

13) I _____ kill you bastard !
a) shall
b) will
c) will be
d) None of these

Answer: will

14) He _____ watching football match tomorrow at this time.
a) shall be
b) will be
c) will being
d) shall being

Answer: will be

15) My grandfather _____ died by 2024.
a) will have been 
b) will have
c) will have being
d) shall have being

Answer: will have

16) Ram always _____ a lie
a) telling
b) have been telling
c) tells
d) None of these

Answer: tells

17) The earth _____ around the sun
a) revolving
b) revolved
c) revolves
d) None of these

Answer: revolves

18) She _____ her graduation from Gargi College last year.
a) was completed
b) were completed
c) completed
d) has completed

Answer: completed

19) My mother _____ an operation when Simran got married.
a) had undergoing
b) had been undergoing
c) was undergoing
d) was undergone

Answer: was undergoing

20) Ravita ______ after the police _____ .
a) escaped, had come
b) had escaped, came
c) had escaped, had come
d) escaped, came

Answer: escaped, had come


Fill in the blanks with the correct form of present tense from those given in brackets

  1. I am going to attempt the SSC CGL exam coming up, so I ………………. (am/is) studying hard these days.
  2. My grandfather ………………. (carries/carrying) a walking stick when she goes out for a walk.
  3. Rahul isn’t at home. She ………………. (is/are) out shopping with our father.
  4. Can you speak louder please, I ………………. (am not/cannot) able to get you.
  5. My widower brother often ………………. (coming/comes) to our house for lunch on Sundays.
  6. Ever since he left his job, he ………………. (found/has found) more time to relax and enjoy his hobby.
  7. I feel proud of my entire team as it ………………. (performed/has performed) very well.
  8. Look! They all ………………. (gossip and while away/are gossiping and whiling away) their time.
  9. An apple a day ………………. (keeps/is kept) the doctor away.
  10. By profession, an painter ………………. (creates/is creating) a picture whereas an author ………………. (writes/is writing) a book.
  11. am
  12. carries
  13. is
  14. cannot
  15. comes
  16. has found
  17. has performed
  18. are gossiping and whiling away
  19. keeps
  20. creates, writes

21) They will kill you when they _____ to know about this.
a) will get
b) get
c) gets
d) will have get

Answer: Get

22) You can never succeed unless you ______ hard.
a) do not work
b) works hard
c) work hard
d) working hard

Answer: Work hard

23) My mother never eats before I _____ home.
a) reach home
b) reached home
c) will reach
d) reaching

Answer: Reach

24) If it _____ today, I will not step out of home.
a) is raining
b) rains
c) rained
d) will rain

Answer: Rains

25) She has been living at Gurugram ______ 1991.
a) For
b) Since
c) Both A and B can be used
d) Neither A nor B

Answer: Since

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