what are tenses?
Read the following sentences:
- I go to school every day.
- I went to school yesterday.
- I will go to school tomorrow.
In the first sentence, the verb is in present time;
In the second sentence, the verb is in past time;
In the third sentence, the verb is in future time.
The verb that refers to an action in present time is said to be in present tense. The verb that refers to an action in past time is said to be in past tense. The verb that refers to an action in future time is said to be in future tense.
Thus, there are three main tenses: present, past and future.
All tenses have four forms. This can be explained as below:
In present tense:
I read. [Simple Present]
I am reading. [Present Continuous]
I have read; [Present Perfect]
I have been reading. [Present Perfect Continuous]
In sentence 1, the verb shows that the action is mentioned simply, without anything being said about the completeness or incompleteness of the action.
In sentence 2, the verb shows that the action is mentioned as incomplete or continuous, that is, still going on.
In sentence 3, the verb shows that the action is mentioned as finished, complete, or perfect, at the time of speaking.
In sentence 4, the verb is present perfect continuous as the verb shows that the action is going on continuously, and not completed at this present time.
Similarly, the forms change in past tense as:
I read; [Simple Past]
I was reading; [Past Continuous]
I had read; [Past Perfect]
I had been reading. [Past Perfect Continuous]
Also, in future tense, the forms are:
I shall/will read; [Simple Future]
I shall/will be reading; [Future Continuous]
I shall/will have read; [Future Perfect]
I shall have been reading. [Future Perfect Continuous]
Hope this helps!