English Tenses - Speak Error-free and Fluent English

I come yesterday. Tomorrow, I came. Do you think something is wrong, or do you think the two sentences are right? If you feel it is wrong, you are right. Tenses in English are one of the most important grammar topics that you should know thoroughly in order to be an expert in the English language. Go through the following to know more about verb tenses.

Table of Contents

What Does the Word ‘Tense’ Mean?

In the English language, the word ‘tense’ is used to denote a characteristic of the verb in a sentence. The tense of a verb is used to depict the particular time in which a specific event is taking place.

Definition of Tense

According to the Oxford Learner’s Dictionary, the term ‘tense’ is defined as “any of the forms of a verb that may be used to show the time of the action or state expressed by the verb.” The Merriam-Webster Dictionary provides a slightly different definition. According to it, the word ‘tense’ is defined as “a distinction of form in a verb to express distinctions of time or duration of the action or state it denotes.”

“The tense of a verb group is its form, which usually shows whether you are referring to past, present, or future time”, according to the Collins Dictionary, and the Cambridge Dictionary defines ‘tense’ as ”any of the forms of a verb which show the time at which an action happened.”

How Important Is it to Know about Tenses?

Tenses are often considered to be the backbone and the most fundamental element of the English language. Without tense, everything seems to be absurd. Tenses help you describe actions that take place at different times. It helps to give clarity to your context and the information you are trying to convey. It also allows you to build complex sentence structures. So, if you want to be able to convey information clearly and promptly, you should know all the twelve tenses and how they are used.

Different Tenses in English

In English grammar, there are three main tenses, and they are each further classified into four different forms, which sum up to twelve tenses in total. The three tenses in English are:

The four different forms are:

  • Simple Tense Form
  • Continuous Tense Form
  • Perfect Tense Form
  • Perfect Continuous Tense Form

So, the twelve tenses in English are as follows:

Tips and Techniques to Master English Tenses

To improve your knowledge and usage of tenses, there are just a few things you have to keep in mind. Take a look at the following points.

  • Keep a clear mind. Be ready to unlearn and relearn.
  • Understand what tenses are and how they are used.
  • There are particular patterns in which each tense is conjugated. The whole process would become a lot easier if you try to identify the patterns and understand them. For example, the continuous tense takes a helping verb and verb in the present participle form (verb+ ing).
  • Go through as many examples as you can find. Practice as much as you can, and you will know how exactly each tense works out in different contexts.
  • There are, of course, a few exceptions. You just have to go through them keenly and apply them. It will surely take time, but you will be able to master it with your determination and continuous effort.
  • Above all, there is one thing that you should add to your list of to-do things. Read books (anything that is informative and interests you), watch movies, videos or even series. Without even your knowledge, you will be able to develop your vocabulary and learn so many different sentence structures that use various tense forms.

Frequently Asked Questions on Verb Tenses in English

What is tense?

In the English language, the word ‘tense’ is used to denote a characteristic of the verb in a sentence. The tense of a verb is used to depict the particular time in which a specific or event is taking place.

What is the definition of a tense?

According to the Oxford Learner’s Dictionary, the term ‘tense’ is defined as “any of the forms of a verb that may be used to show the time of the action or state expressed by the verb.” The Merriam-Webster Dictionary provides a slightly different definition. According to it, the word ‘tense’ is defined as “a distinction of form in a verb to express distinctions of time or duration of the action or state it denotes.” “The tense of a verb group is its form, which usually shows whether you are referring to past, present, or future time”, according to the Collins Dictionary, and the Cambridge Dictionary defines ‘tense’ as ”any of the forms of a verb which show the time at which an action happened.”

What are the 12 different English tenses?

The twelve tenses in English are as follows:

  • Simple Present Tense
  • Present Continuous Tense
  • Present Perfect Tense
  • Present Perfect Continuous Tense
  • Simple Past Tense
  • Past Continuous Tense
  • Past Perfect Tense
  • Past Perfect Continuous Tense
  • Simple Future Tense
  • Future Continuous Tense
  • Future Perfect Tense
  • Future Perfect Continuous Tense

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