Grammatical Tense in English

Do you want to know how to talk about an action or event that happened a few seconds, a few years or even hundreds and thousands of years in the past or future?

15 articles

Present Simple

You do things like brushing your teeth or eating lunch everyday. If you want to talk about actions or events that you do routinely you can use present simple.

Past Simple

Past simple tense is one of the most exciting and important tenses in English verb tenses. We use it so often to talk about what happened before now.

Future Simple

In this lesson, you will learn the easiest way to talk about the future in English, and that is by using the word ‘will’.

Present Continuous

The present continuous tense is a basic tense. It is usually one of the first tenses you start to learn when you first start studying English.

Past Continuous

The past continuous tense is used quite often in English, so let’s understand exactly when to use it and how to use it. Are you ready? Let’s begin.

Future Continuous

The future continuous tense is used by native English speakers quite often and this is your chance to learn and understand this tense and to start to use it.

Present Perfect

The present perfect is the first of the advance tenses. By using present perfect tense, you will definitely be able to speak and write at a much higher level.

Present Perfect Continuous

The present perfect continuous tense is a special tense in terms of time. Why? Because it connects the present and the past. Let’s see how.

Past Perfect

This tense is an advance tense and we use it to talk about the past in a lot of interesting ways, and you’ll see what they are. So are you ready? Let’s start.

Past Perfect Continuous

This tense is an advanced tense, but it’s not hard to learn. This tense will allow you to talk about things that happened in the past in a more interesting way.

Future Perfect

The future perfect tense is an advanced tense; it will allow you to speak about the future in a really interesting way that may not exist in your own language.

Future Perfect Continuous

This is one of the most advanced tenses in the English language. So, congratulation for reaching this level. Let's start to learn this tense.

Future with 'Going to'

Anything after now is the future, and in English, we have many ways and tenses to talk about the future. Some are more basic and some are more advanced.

Talking about the Present

When you talk, the verbs should agree with the orders of events. That's why We will learn how and when to use the present tense in this lesson.

Talking about the Past

What if we want to narrate something that happened in the past? in this case, we will need to know the past tense. Click here to learn more.

Grammatical Tense

Tense in grammar shows us when a verb’s action or its state is taking place. Tenses are usually shown by inflectional morphemes (for example by the suffix '–ed' in English language) or by free morphemes (for example by 'will', as in 'she will study'.).
The main tenses found in many languages are:

  1. The past (something happened earlier)
  2. The present (something happening now)
  3. The future (something going to happen)

Some languages have only two distinct tenses:
past and nonpast,
or
future and nonfuture.
Some languages do not have tense at all, like most of the Chinese languages.

Relative tense vs. Absolute Tense

the grammatical tense can be categorized into two distinct possible uses: relative tense and absolute tense.
The difference between absolute and relative tense is in the use of adverbs of time. Absolute time adverbs such as next week, six hours ago, in four days or tomorrow are related to the time of utterance. For example, tomorrow is the day after the day when the sentence is uttered.
In contrast, relative time adverbs such as two hours before, seven days after or the day before require a textual reference point in the context.

Aspect

Tenses are usually connected with the category of aspect. Aspect gives more information about the state of the verb's action. It is the extension of the state or action in time. There are four aspects in the English language:

  1. Simple
  2. Progressive (continuous)
  3. Perfect
  4. Perfect Progressive

Simple aspect is equaled to the basic present, past, and future tense verb forms. A verb with a simple aspect doesn't necessarily specify if an action is complete or not. For an action that's ongoing or unfinished, we use progressive tenses. For a completed and finished action, we use perfect or perfect progressive tenses.

  • I talked. (simple past)
  • I am talking. (present continuous, action is ongoing)
  • I was talking. (past continuous, action was ongoing in the past)
  • I will be talking. (future continuous, ongoing action will happen later)
  • I have talked. (present perfect, action is completed)
  • I had talked. (past perfect, action was completed in the past)
  • I will have talked. (future perfect, action will be completed in the future)
  • I have been talking. (present perfect progressive, the current ongoing action is complete)
  • I had been talking. (past perfect progressive, the action was ongoing in the past and completed in the past)
  • I will have been talking. (future perfect progressive, ongoing action will be completed in the future)

Mood

Grammatical mood is a feature of verbs and is used for showing the speaker's attitude toward what they are saying (for example if they are stating a fact, a desire or a command). Mood is often manifested by the use of verbal inflections.
For example in English the word "talk" is shown in different tenses, aspects and moods:

  1. Tense: He talked (Past), He talks (Present), He will talk (Future).
  2. Aspect: He talked (Simple), He was talking (Progressive), He used to talk (Repeated).
  3. Mode: I can talk (Possibility), Talk faster! (Imperative).

The Future Tense Debate

Many contemporary linguists believe that tenses are manifested by the inflectional categories (or different endings) of a verb. Because of this, they don't consider the future to be a tense. In English we only use an inflectional distinction between the present (for example, laugh or leave) and the past (laughed, left). But the linguists who relate "tense" with a time change, then for them, the future is definitely a tense.