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What Are Tenses in English Grammar: 12 Tenses with Examples

What Are Tenses in English Grammar

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What are tenses in English grammar? What are the 12 types of tenses? What are English tenses with examples?

What Are Tenses In English Grammar?

In this post, you’ll get to know the 12 English tenses with examples, formula and uses.

Simple present tense

Simple present tense examples: (present simple examples)

  1. I work as a teacher.
  2. Sandra works for a multinational company.
  3. She has some good colleagues.
  4. Tom works in New York.
  5. He watches videos on YouTube every day.
  6. She goes to work every morning.
  7. Sandra and Tom work for the same company.
  8. I don’t like my job.
  9. She doesn’t go to work on foot.
  10. He doesn’t speak Chinese well.
  11. They don’t play chess.


  • In positive sentences with he/she/it, we add s or –es to the infinitive.
  • In negative sentences with he/she/it, we use doesn’t (= does not) + infinitive.
  • In negative sentences with I/you/we/they, we use don’t (= do not) + infinitive.
  • The verb ‘have’ is irregular. He/she/it has

Third person singular spelling rules

  • He’s a mechanic. He fixes cars.
  • She kisses her mom before going to school every morning.
  • Nancy watches movies in the evening.
  • Tim washes his hands before eating his meals.
  • He goes to work by car.
  • I study Physics twice a week.
  • She studies Maths 3 times a week.
  • My son plays games every day.

Third person singular rules:

Verbs ending in -x, -ss, -ch, -sh, and -o take –es with third person singular.

Verbs ending in a consonant + y , drop the -y and take –ies.

Verbs ending in a vowel + y, take –s.

Simple present tense uses

We use simple present tense for:

  • Routines and habits
  1. My mother usually goes shopping at weekends.
  2. I always start school at eight o’clock.
  • Permanent states
  1. He lives in Manchester.
  2. Mary comes from London.
  3. They work for a company.
  4. He doesn’t like reading.
  • General truth and scientific facts
  1. The sun rises in east.
  2. Kangaroos don’t eat meat.
  • Timetables
  1. The next train arrives at 6 o’clock.
  2. Our train leaves tomorrow at 5 a.m.
  • Reviews
  1. Tom Cruse acts brilliantly in this movie.
  2. This is a great action movie. The actors give a brilliant performance. The story begins when a young man discovers a treasure under a big…..
  • Sports commentaries
  1. Tom crosses and passes the ball to Tim.
  2. Ronaldo kicks the ball and passes it to…
  3. Messi dribbles the ball and passes it to….
  • Narrations
  1. When Little Red Riding Hood sees the wolf, she gets scared.

Here are some simple present tense exercises (present simple exercises pdf)

What Are Tenses In English Grammar?

Past continuous (past progressive)

What is past continuous tense with examples? How do we use past continuous?

Past continuous tense examples:

  1. While I was reading a book, my phone rang.
  2. I was reading a book when my phone rang.

Past continuous form

The past continuous form is: Subject + verb ‘be’ in simple past + verb + ing

The past continuous is usually used with the words when and while.

How do we use past continuous?

The past continuous has different uses. The table below shows some examples of the past continuous tense and how it’s used.

Past continuous examplesPast continuous uses
At 8 o’clock last night, she was watching TV.An action which was in progress at a stated time in the past.
While my father was working outside, my mom was working inside.Two or more actions happening at the same time in the past. (= simultaneous actions)
When we arrived, she was talking on the phone with a customer.A past action which was in progress when another action interrupted it.

What Are Tenses In English Grammar?

Here are other English tenses with examples, formula as well as uses.

Here are some perfect tenses in English:

Past perfect simple: Examples and uses
Past perfect continuous lesson (examples, formula and uses)
What Are Tenses In English Grammar?
Past Perfect continuous forms

Tenses in English: Verb Tenses Chart (Formula of all Tenses)

What Are Tenses In English Grammar

What are the 12 tenses of the verb? What are the 12 types of tenses in English? What are tenses formula?

The chart below shows the 12 tenses of the verb to do. 12 tenses formula chart (the verb to do in all tenses)

SimpleContinuousPerfectPerfect Continuous
Presentdo/doesam/is/are doinghave/has donehave/has been doing
Pastdidwas/were doinghad donehad been doing
Futurewill dowill be doingwill have donewill have been doing
The verb to do in all tenses

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