Tenses Rules: Charts, Examples, Types [PDF Available]

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Tenses Rules

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’s explore different tense rules and usage with some examples!

What are Tenses in English?

A tense is a form of the verb that allows you to express time. The tense of the verb tells us when an event or something existed or when a person did something. Tenses can be divided into three parts:

12 Main Types of Tenses

Past, present, and future are the three main types of tenses which are tabulated below for your learning:

Past TensePresent TenseFuture Tense
Simple Past TenseSimple Present TenseSimple Future Tense
Past Continuous TensePresent Continuous TenseFuture Continuous Tense
Past Perfect TensePresent Perfect TenseFuture Perfect Tense
Past Perfect Continuous
Tense
Present Perfect Continuous TenseFuture Perfect Continuous
Tense
Past Unreal (Third Conditional) Present Unreal (Second Conditional) Future Unreal (Mixed Conditional)

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. Tenses can be categorized into three main types: Present, Past, and Future, which can be further classified into Simple, Continuous, Perfect, and Perfect Continuous.

To memorize & understand the Tenses rules here is a tabulated representation.

TensesTenses Rule
Past simple tenseSubject + V2 + Object 
Past Perfect tenseSubject + had + V3 + Object 
Past Continuous tenseSubject + was + V1 + ing + Object (Singular)
Subject + were + V1 + ing + Object (Plural) 
Past perfect continuous tenseSubject + had been + V1 + ing + Object 
Present Simple tenseSubject + V1 + s/es + Object (Singular) Subject + V1 + Object (Plural)
Present Perfect tenseSubject + has + V3 + Object (Singular) Subject + have + V3 + Object (Plural) 
Present Continuous tenseSubject + is/am/are + V1 + ing + object 
Present perfect continuous tenseSubject + has been + V1 + ing + Object (Singular)Subject + have been + V1 + ing + Object (Plural) 
Future Simple tenseSubject + will/shall + V1 + Object 
Future Perfect tenseSubject + will have/shall have + V3 + Object 
Future Continuous tenseSubject + will be/shall be + ing + V1 + Object 
Future Perfect Continuous tenseSubject + will have been + V1 + ing + Object 
V1 =  first form of the verb | V2 = second form of the verb | V3 = third form of the verb

Tenses Rules Chart PDF for Download

You can download the tenses rule PDF from the link mentioned below:

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Tense Rules Chart in Hindi

Tenses (काल) – पहचान 
 Present PastFuture
Indefiniteता है, ती है, ते, है  Do/ doesआ, ई, ये, या, था, ता, ती, थे, 
Did+ V1
गा, गी, गे,Will
Continuousरहा है, रही है, रहे है, 
Is/are/am + ing
रहा था, रही थी, रहे थे, 
Was/Were + ing
रहा होगा, रही होगी, 
Will be+ ing
Perfectचुका है, चुकी है,
Has/Have + V3
चुका था, चुकी थी, लिया था  
Had+ V3
चुकेगा, चुकेगी, चुकोगे, 
Will have+ V3
Perfect Continuousरहा है, रही है, रहे है + समय के साथ ‘से’ के लिए 
Has/Have+ Been+ ing + Since/ For
रहा था, रही थी, रहे थे+ समय के साथ ‘से’ के लिए 
Had been+ ing+Since/For
रहा होगा, रही होगी, रहे होंगे+ समय के साथ ‘से’ के लिए  
Will have been+ ing + Since/For

Also Read: Figure of Speech

Present Tense Rules and Examples

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 going amazing.

Simple Present Tense Rules

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

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

Present Continuous Tense Rules

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

Examples:
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)

Examples:
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)

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

Also Read: Active and Passive Voice: Rules, Examples & Exercise

Past Tense Rules and Examples

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.

Simple Past Tense Rules

Subject + V2 + Object

Examples:
Rita went to school.
Minty ate food.

Past Continuous Tense Rules

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

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

Past Perfect Tense Rules

Subject + had + V3 + Object

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

Past Perfect Continuous Tense Rules

Subject + had been + V1 + ing + Object

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

Quick Test: Quiz Your Inner Grammar Nazi With this Grammar Test

Future Tense Rules and Examples

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

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

Future Continuous Tense Rules

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

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

Future Perfect Tense Rules

Subject + will have/shall have + V3 + Object

Examples:
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

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

Learn English in no time with these English Speaking Books

Tenses Rules and 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.

TensesApplicationExample
Past simple tensePast EventsShe cooked dinner for everyone last month
Past Perfect tensePrior events happened before past eventsShe cooked dinner for everyone last night before shifting to Mumbai
Past Continuous
tense
Past Events related to the occurrence of other eventsShe was cooking dinner for everyone when she ran out of gas.
Past perfect continuous tensePast events relating to a past momentShe was cooking for dinner & needed some rest.
Present Simple tenseFacts & truthsShe hosts dinner for everyone a lot.
Present Perfect tenseEvents of past & continuing or expected to continue in present.She has hosted a lot of times & left with one more dinner
Present Continuous tenseCurrent ActionsShe is cooking dinner for everyone
Present perfect continuous tensePast events, continued & finished in the current momentShe cooked dinner for everyone & now needs some rest.
Future Simple tenseEvents completed in futureShe will cook dinner for everyone next month.
Future Perfect tenseCurrent events completed in the given time frame in futureShe will be cooking dinner for everyone by 8:00 PM next Saturday
Future Continuous tenseFuture events & are expected to continueShe will be hosting a lot of dinner parties next year.
Future Perfect Continuous tenseTasks continue in the future & highlighting the durationThe dinner she will be cooking will take 3 hours to finish.

Examples of Each Type of Tense

TenseExample 1Example 2Example 3
Simple PresentShe teaches English.He goes to the gym regularly.They live in New York.
Present ContinuousThey are playing soccer right now.She is studying for her exam.I am writing an email.
Present PerfectI have visited London many times.She has finished her book.They have already eaten dinner.
Present Perfect ContinuousI have been working all day.She has been practicing the piano.They have been talking for hours.
Simple PastI will be travelling next week.She graduated from college in 2010.They watched a movie last night.
Past ContinuousWe were hiking in the mountains.They were talking on the phone.She was cooking dinner when I arrived.
Past PerfectShe had already left when I got there.They had finished the project by noon.I had never seen such a beautiful sunset.
Past Perfect ContinuousBy then, they had been waiting for hours.She had been studying all night.They had been living in that house for a decade.
Simple FutureThey will call you tomorrow.She will come to the party.I will buy a new car next year.
Future ContinuousI will be traveling next week.She will be studying all evening.They will be celebrating the anniversary.
Future PerfectBy then, I will have finished my work.She will have completed the course.They will have arrived at the destination.
Future Perfect ContinuousShe will have been working for 5 hours by 5 o’clock.They will have been waiting for a while.I will have been writing for two hours.
Present Conditional (Type 1)If it rains, we will stay at home.She will come if she has time.If you work hard, you will succeed.
Past Conditional (Type 2)If I had known, I would have come.She would have helped if she were here.If they had seen it, they would have been shocked.
Past Perfect Conditional (Type 3)If they had studied, they would have passed the test.She would have gone to the party if she had known.If he had seen the sign, he would have turned left.

Also Read: 100+ Common Metaphors with Meanings

Practice with Tenses Rules Quiz 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.

Answers

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

FAQs

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 and perfect Continuous Tense.

What is the formula for the future continuous tense rule?

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

What are the tense rules 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 tenses 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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23 comments
  1. Thank you levarageedu , you have described the tenses in a simple and easy words that was before difficult for me … Thank you so much.

    1. Thank you for your feedback. If you enjoyed this blog, you should take this quiz to know how much of a Grammar Nazi are you-https://leverageedu.com/blog/grammar-test/!