Grammar Basics: What Are Verb Tenses?

Updated on 3 March 2016

Verb tenses are forms of verbs that show whether we are talking about the past, present, or future. There are six classical tenses in English and an additional six tenses that are categorized as “perfect tenses.”

The classical tenses, using the verb “walk” as an example, are: Present simple (I walk) Present continuous ( I am walking)

Simple past (I walked) Past continuous (I was walking)

Simple future (I will walk) Future continuous (I will be walking)

The perfect tenses, using walk as an example, are:

Present perfect (I have walked) Present perfect continuous (I have been walking)

Past perfect (I had walked) Past perfect continuous (I had been walking)

Future perfect (I will have walked) Future perfect continuous (I will have been walking)

Many verbs, like “make,” “do,” “see,” and “be” are irregular in the past and perfect tenses, which means that they do not look like the regular verb “walk” when conjugated.

To learn more about grammar and to help us celebrate National Grammar Day this March, visit our new resource page.

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