Understanding the English verb tenses is extremely important. Before you start learning how and when to use them, it’s a good idea to memorize there structures, how these tenses are built. First try to look at the structure then the sample sentences. Please note that this brief tense chart only shows you the most important parts of a particular tense. It’s recommended to check out our individual English tenses lessons and exercises.
|Simple||For completed actions, permanent situations or repeated events.
subject + V2
+ You played football every day.
– You didn’t play football every day.
? Did you play football every day?
|For permanent situations, regular actions and general truths
subject + V1
+ They play football.
– They don’t play football.
? Do they play football?
|Use it for uncertain things, actions not planned and predictions.
will + V1
+ You will come with me.
– You will not come with me.
? Will you come with me?
|Continuous||For continuous activities in the past, when two actions happening at the same time.
was/were + Verb + ING
+ You were taking a walk.
– You weren’t taking a walk.
? Were you taking a walk?
|For continuous, temporary actions in the present, happenings around the time of speaking
to be + Verb + ING
+ I am reading a book.
– I am not reading a book.
? Am I reading a book?
|For continuous events in the future happening over a period of time
will/shall + be + Verb + ING
+ She’ll be sleeping at 11pm.
– She will not be sleeping at 11 pm.
? Will she be sleeping at 11 pm?
|Perfect||Use it to refer back to an earlier past event.
had + past participle (V3)
+ She had finished cooking when her husband came home.
– She hadn’t finished cooking when her husband came home.
? Had she finished cooking when her husband came home?
|For unfinished actions, when the time of past action irrelevant, events happened recently.
has/have + V3
+ I have done my homework.
– I haven’t done my homework.
? Have I done my homework?
|For an action that is finished before a stated time in the future.
will + have + V3
+ He will have finished repairing his car by noon.
– He will not have finished repairing his car by noon.
? Will he have finished repairing his car by noon?
|Use it to focus on how long the earlier past activity continued.
had + been + Verb + ING
+ He had been driving for 2 hours when the car broke down.
– He hadn’t been driving for 2 hours when the car broke down.
? Had he been driving for 2 hours when the car broke down?
|Emphasize how long an action or event has been happening. The action hasn’t finished and is probably going on.
have/has + been + V1 + ING
+ We have been watching TV.
– We haven’t been watching TV.
? Have we been watching TV?
|Use it to refer to the duration of an action or event up to a specific time in the future.
will + have + been + V1 + ING
+ You will have been working here for 2 years by next week.
– You will not have been working here for 2 years by next week.
? Will you not have been working here for 2 years by next week?