Tenses Rules and Examples

Tenses Rules

Tense can be defined as a word form used to indicate the time of occurrence of an incident with reference to 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 definitely going to help you score better. Let us explore different tenses rules and usage with some examples!

All Tenses Rules

In most of the 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.

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 

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

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Types of Tenses

There are 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.

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.

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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.

Past Continuous Tense Rules

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

I was eating pudding.
Sia was 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.

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Future Tense Rules

The future tense is used to describe the 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.

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 shifted to Mumbai
Past Continuous tensePast 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 & 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.

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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 own 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

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Passive voice and Active Voice Rules

There are two voices in grammar, Active Voice & Passive Voice. Subjects in active voice are direct & clear on the other hand subjects in passive voice are actions indicated by the verbs. We generally use active voice & passive voice are used to highlight the object in the sentence. It is important to know about the rules of active & passive voice before answering or practicing questions. Examples of active & passive voice are 

Active VoicePassive Voice
I cook dinner every SaturdayEvery Saturday dinner is cooked by me 
Two little girls are singing the Christmas songChristmas song was sung by two little girls
Beyonce donated the money to charityMoney was donated to charity by Beyonce.


What are the types of tenses?

There are three types of tenses past, present, and future that 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 tenses 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

We hope this article gave you a clear idea about the tenses, its 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 books a 30-minutes free counselling session.

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