Tenses Rules and Examples

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Tenses Rules

Tense can be defined as a word form used to indicate the time of occurrence of an incident concerning the moment of speaking. It indicates the completion or continuance of an activity. Whether you are a school student or someone preparing for competitive examinations or any other English proficiency test, good knowledge of Tenses is going to help you score better. Let us explore different tenses rules and usage with some examples!

Tenses Rules Chart

Understanding the rules of tenses is essential to avoid grammatical errors and indicate the timing of events or actions in a sentence. It is crucial for aspirants applying for Government exams in 2023 to study these rules carefully, as English is a crucial component of the exam syllabus. Tenses can be categorized into three main types: Present, Past, and Future, which can be further classified into Simple, Continuous, Perfect, and Perfect Continuous.

Tenses Rules Chart

In most competitive & government exams, tenses are one of the vital parts of the English section. Applicants can score perfectly if they are aware of the tenses rules & avoid mistakes. To memorize & understand the Tenses rules here is a tabulated representation.

Tenses Tenses Rule
Past simple tense Subject + V2 + Object 
Past Perfect tense Subject + had + V3 + Object 
Past Continuous tense Subject + was + V1 + ing + Object (Singular)
Subject + were + V1 + ing + Object (Plural) 
Past perfect continuous tense Subject + had been + V1 + ing + Object 
Present Simple tense Subject + V1 + s/es + Object (Singular) Subject + V1 + Object (Plural)
Present Perfect tense Subject + has + V3 + Object (Singular) Subject + have + V3 + Object (Plural) 
Present Continuous tense Subject + is/am/are + V1 + ing + object 
Present perfect continuous tense Subject + has been + V1 + ing + Object (Singular)Subject + have been + V1 + ing + Object (Plural) 
Future Simple tense Subject + will/shall + V1 + Object 
Future Perfect tense Subject + will have/shall have + V3 + Object 
Future Continuous tense Subject + will be/shall be + ing + V1 + Object 
Future Perfect Continuous tense Subject + will have been + V1 + ing + Object 

V1 =  first form of the verb 
V2 = second form of the verb 
V3 = third form of the verb 

We will now discuss each category with different types of tenses, the tenses rule, and their examples.

Also Read English for Bank Exams,

Tenses Rules PDF

Types of Tenses

There are basic three types of tenses.

  • Past
  • Present
  • Future

These tenses can further be categorized into 4 types:

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

Past Tense Rules

Past tense is used to describe a past activity or action. It is a form of the verb that defines the events that have already occurred. Examples

  • Reema attended the wedding functions.
  • He left before I reached.
  • Priya wrote a letter to her friends from camp.

Also Read: Figure of Speech

Simple Past Tense Rules

Subject + V2 + Object

Rita went to school.
Minty ate food.

Past Continuous Tense Rules

Subject + was + V1 + ing + Object (Singular) Subject + were + V1 + ing + Object (Plural)

I was eating pudding.
Sia was writing a letter to the editor.

Past Perfect Tense Rules

Subject + had + V3 + Object

He had taken the token.
I had brushed my teeth.

Past Perfect Continuous Tense Rules

Subject + had been + V1 + ing + Object

He had been standing in the rain the whole night.
I had been eating diet food for the whole summer.

Also Read:

Present Tense Rules

The present tense is used to describe the current or present being, situation, or event. It is a form of the verb that defines the events that are currently happening. Examples

  • I am going to the office
  • She has been part of this group for 4 years now.
  • The concert is amazing.

Simple Present Tense Rules

Subject + V1 + s/es + Object (Singular)
Subject + V1 + Object (Plural)

The Sun rises in the East.
Rita goes to school.

Present Continuous Tense Rules

Subject + is/am/are + V1 + ing + object

I am eating pudding.
Sia is writing a letter to the editor.

Present Perfect Tense Rules

Subject + has + V3 + Object (Singular)
Subject + have + V3 + Object (Plural)

He has just eaten food.
I have just read the book.

Present Perfect Continuous Tense Rules

Subject + has been + V1 + ing + Object (Singular)
Subject + have been + V1 + ing + Object (Plural)

I have been cleaning regularly since Monday.
She has been using the night cream for several months.

Also Read:

Source – Learn English with EnglishClass101.com

Future Tense Rules

The future tense is used to describe future events that haven’t occurred but possibly will occur in the future. It is a form of the verb that will occur in the future & not exist currently. Examples

  • She will be dancing to classical music.
  • We will be shifting to the house upstate tomorrow morning.
  • The train will leave in 10 minutes.

Simple Future Tense Rules

Subject + will/shall + V1 + Object

I shall go to school tomorrow.
My mother will feed me.

Future Continuous Tense Rules

Subject + will be/shall be + ing + V1 + Object

He shall be writing his exam.
We will be going to the zoo.

Future Perfect Tense Rules

Subject + will have/shall have + V3 + Object

I shall have started writing by that time.
We will have reached Goa by then.

Future Perfect Continuous Tense Rules

Subject + will have been + V1 + ing + Object

By next year we will be graduating.
They shall be serving food in the slum area tomorrow.

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Tenses Rules & Application

Sometimes understanding tenses can be confusing, to sort it out & make it easier we have represented a tabulated version of tenses rules & where they are applied with the help of examples.

Tenses Application Example
Past simple tense Past Events She cooked dinner for everyone last month
Past Perfect tense Prior events happened before past events She cooked dinner for everyone last night before shifting to Mumbai
Past Continuous
Past Events related to the occurrence of other events She was cooking dinner for everyone when she ran out of gas.
Past perfect continuous tense Past events relating to a past moment She was cooking for dinner & needed some rest.
Present Simple tense Facts & truths She hosts dinner for everyone a lot.
Present Perfect tense Events of past & continuing or expected to continue in present. She has hosted a lot of times & left with one more dinner
Present Continuous tense Current Actions She is cooking dinner for everyone
Present perfect continuous tense Past events, continued & finished in the current moment She cooked dinner for everyone & now needs some rest.
Future Simple tense Events completed in future She will cook dinner for everyone next month.
Future Perfect tense Current events completed in the given time frame in future She will be cooking dinner for everyone by 8:00 PM next Saturday
Future Continuous tense Future events & are expected to continue She will be hosting a lot of dinner parties next year.
Future Perfect Continuous tense Tasks continue in the future & highlighting the duration The dinner she will be cooking will take 3 hours to finish.
Source: 7ESL Learning English

Also Read:

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Tenses Rules Practice Questions

Now you know all about the types & tenses rules. Here are some practice questions to test your knowledge. 

  1. Riya _____ (wants/ wanting)to be a pilot.
  2. The dinner ______ (smells/smelling) great.
  3. She _______ (has been crying/cried) since last night.
  4. I _______ (will be lying, will lie) on the beach with my friends.
  5. Give me a call when you ______ (have, had) time.
  6. I _______ (spent/spend) all my teenage years at math camp.
  7. When we were in the hostel we _____ (made/make) our breakfast.
  8. Sandhya is ________ (running/ran) for student election this semester.
  9. He _____ (plays/playing) tennis most of his evening.
  10. When you called, I was______ (taking/took) a shower.


  1. Wants
  2. Smells
  3. Has been crying
  4. Will be lying
  5. Have
  6. Spent
  7. Made
  8. Running
  9. Plays
  10. taking

Also Read:

50 Difficult Words with Meanings
100+ Common Metaphors with Meanings


What are the types of tenses?

There are three types of tenses past, present, and future which can be further divided into Simple Tense, Continuous Tense, Perfect Tense & Perfect Continuous Tense.

What is the formula for the future continuous tense rule?

shall/ will + be + verb + ing is the correct formula for future continuous tense rule. 

What are the tenses rule for the present tense?

In the present tense, the task should be completed in a certain time frame.

Which tense is used while making predictions?

According to the tenses rules, future simple tense should be used in predictions.

For the task that has started & still going on, which tense should be used?

Based on tense rules, in this case, the present perfect tense should be used.

While describing historical events, which tense is used?

Referring to tenses rules, past simple tense should be used in the case of historical events

What is V1 V2 V3 in tenses?

V1, V2 and V3 are verb 1, verb 2 and verb 3 which are base, past simple and past participle forms of the verb.

What is tense in simple words?

Tenses are the forms of verbs that denote the time of the action – present, past or future.

We hope this article gave you a clear idea about tenses, their types, and tenses rules. If you have any questions regarding higher education abroad and careers, let Leverage Edu be at your service. Consult our professional counsellors by booking a 30-minute free counselling session.

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