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The Tenses: Their Meanings and Uses

The tense of a verb shows whether the action of the verb happens in the past, the present or the future, whether it is a single action or a repeated action, whether the action is completed or unfinished, and so on.

There are sixteen tenses in English. They will be separated into four groups, and studied in four topic:

Present Tenses

  1. The simple present tense: Cows eat grass.
  2. The present continuous tense: You are looking very tired.

Past Tenses (including some of the Perfect Tenses)

  1. The simple past tense: We all went back into the house.
  2. The past continuous tense: All the students were laughing.
  3. The present perfect tense: / have always eaten egg sandwiches for my lunch.
  4. The past perfect tense: The noise had continued all night.
  5. The present perfect continuous tense: It has been raining for days now.
  6. The past perfect continuous tense: The wind had been blowing all night.

Future Tenses (including the Future Perfect Tenses)

  1. The future tense: They will all be here in a minute.
  2. The future continuous tense: It will be getting dark soon.
  3. The future perfect tense: We will have finished this Job by the end of the week.
  4. The future perfect continuous tense: By the end of this month, I will have been working here for six years.

Conditional Tenses (including the Perfect Conditional Tenses)

  1. The conditional tense: would like to help you.
  2. The conditional continuous tense: He said he would be coming.
  3. The perfect conditional tense: would have told her if I had seen her.
  4. The perfect conditional continuous tense: If I hadn’t given you a lift, you would have been waiting in the rain for a bus for hours.

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