All Twelve English Verb Tenses

Here is an overview of all 12 English verb tenses, their forms, and how to use them.

FORM: MEANING AND USE:
Present Simple ~Verb Form Present Simple ~Verb Use
Present Progressive ~Verb Form Present Progressive ~Verb Use
Present Perfect Progressive ~Verb Form Present Perfect Progressive ~Verb Use
Past Simple ~Verb Form Past Simple ~Verb Use
Past Progressive ~Verb Form Past Progressive ~Verb Use
Past Perfect ~Verb Form Past Perfect ~Verb Use
Past Perfect Progressive ~Verb Form Past Perfect Progressive ~Verb Use
Future Simple ~Verb Form Future Simple ~Verb Use
Future Progressive ~Verb Form Future Progressive ~Verb Use
Future Perfect~Verb Form Future Perfect ~Verb Use
Future Perfect Progressive ~Verb Form Future Perfect Progressive ~Verb Use

 

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Future Progressive ~Meaning and Use

future_continuousThis post will show you how to use the Future Progressive, also called the Future Continuous. To see how to form the Future Progressive, click here.

The Future Progressive puts the emphasis on the course of an action taking place in the future at a specific time.

I will be studying later so I can’t go out.

You will be sleeping at midnight.

He will be making dinner when you get home tonight.

She won’t be speaking at the conference next Monday.

It won’t be raining tomorrow.

Next fall, we will be enjoying the vegetables we planted in the spring.

They will be living in Santiago next year.

Will they be showing the movie we want to see tonight?

Future Progressive ~Verb Form

This post will show you how to form the Future Progressive, also called the Future Continuous. To see how to use the Future Progressive, click here.

Subject Will Be Verb + ing
I will be working all day tomorrow.
You will be living in Dublin next month!
He/she/it will be studying hard all week.
We will be doing a lot of research tomorrow.
They/you (plural) will be traveling to all seven continents over the next two years.

Negative

Subject Won’t Be Verb + ing
I won’t be traveling to France next year.
You won’t be laughing if that happens!
He/she/it won’t be doing anything all day tomorrow.
We won’t be presenting to the board next month.
They/you (plural) won’t be advertising in India next quarter.

Yes/No Questions

Will Subject Be Verb + ing
Will I be walking all day on the hike?
Will you be traveling in Argentina next month?
Will he/she/it be snowing all week?
Will we be spending too much money if we buy that TV?
Will they/you (plural) be playing that movie that we want to see?

Short Answers

Yes, Subject + Will + (Be)
Yes, I will (be).
Yes, you will (be).
Yes, he/she/it will (be).
Yes, we will (be).
Yes, they/you (plural) will (be).

Short Answers

No Subject + Won’t (+be)
No, I won’t (be)
No, you won’t (be)
No, he/she/it won’t (be)
No, we won’t (be)
No, they/you (plural) won’t (be)

Information Questions

Wh- Word Have/Has Subject Past Participle
Who has she talked to about the problem?
What have we done to the Earth?
When has she learned from her mistake?
Where have you been all my life?
How have I grown professionally?
How long have they been together?
Why has it taken so long?
Wh- Word (subject) Will Be Subject Verb + ing
Who will be hosting the party?
What will be happening when we arrive?

Future Perfect Progressive ~Meaning and Use

future-perfect-cont GraphicThis post will show you how to use the Future Perfect Progressive, also called the Future Perfect Continuous. To see how to form the Future Perfect Progressive, click here.

The Future Perfect Progressive tense is not very common and it’s a bit difficult to make. However, at higher levels it is great to understand it, and maybe even use it sometimes too. It has a very precise meaning, which can be convenient.

We use the Future Perfect Progressive to talk about an ongoing action that takes place before a certain time in the future, or to emphasize a course of action. We often use the Future Perfect Progressive to round up to an even number. We like whole, round numbers and this tense allows us to use those numbers.

A future time expression is usually stated or implied, often with by. This can go at the beginning or end of the sentence with no difference in meaning.

  • By the year 2020, linguists will have been studying Indo-European languages for 200 years. (This is easier than saying that now, in 2015, linguists have been studying Indo-European languages for 195 years. It’s easier to just round up to 200)
  • We will have been driving for six hours by the time we get home.
  • By next March, I will have been teaching here for three years.
  • By the end of this month, we will have been living together for six months.

Future Perfect Progressive ~ Verb Form

This post will show you how to form the Future Perfect Progressive. To see how to use the Future Perfect Progressive, click here.

 

Affirmative Statements

Subject + Will Have Already Been Verb + ing Future Time Expression
I’ll have already been waiting for an hour by the time they arrive.
You’ll have been working for hours when she starts.
She’ll/He’ll/It’ll have been traveling for three months
We’ll have already been studying for hours by dinner time.
They’ll/You’ll (plural) have already been driving by next June.

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Negative Statements

Future Time Expression Subject Still Will Not (won’t) Have Been Verb + ing
By the time I am 30, I   won’t have been working here for ten years.
When I get home, you   won’t have been studying for too long.
In five years’ time she/he/it still won’t have been doing anything with her life.
By 4:00 am, we still won’t have been sleeping.
By next June, they/you (plural) won’t have been traveling anymore.
     

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Wh- Questions

Wh- word Will Subject Have Been Verb + ing Future Time Expression
What will I have been doing by the time I turn 40?
Who will you have been waiting for?
Where will she/he/it have been living by next year?
Why will you have been sleeping all day?
How will we have been surviving for so long?

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Yes/No Questions

Will Subject Have Been Verb + ing Future Time Expression
Will I have been working for hours by the time she gets home?
Will you have been speaking English for a long time before you move to Melbourne?
Will she/he/it have been traveling for a long time when you come back?
Will we have been everything before we leave?
Will they/you (plural) have been exercising all day?

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Short Answers

Yes Subject Will Have   No Subject Will Not (Won’t) Have
Yes, I will have.   No, I won’t have.
Yes, you will have.   No, you won’t have.
Yes, she/he/it will have.   No, he won’t have.
Yes, we will have.   No, we won’t have.
Yes, they will have.   No, they’re not. won’t have.

 

Future Perfect – Verb Form

This post will show you how to form the Future Perfect. To see how to use the Future Perfect, click here.

 

Affirmative Statements

Subject Will/Be Going To Have Already Past Participle Future Time Expression
I will/am going to have had two children by the time I am 30.
You will/are going to have already made dinner when I get home.
She/He/It will/is going to have seen most of Asia in five years’ time.
We will/are going to have already finished our homework by dinner time.
They/You (plural) will/are going to have saved enough money for a new car by next June.

 

 

Negative Statements

We don’t usually contract will not to won’t, you should use the full form with this verb tense.

Future Time Expression Subject Still Will Not/Be Not Going To Have Past Participle
By the time I am 30, I   will not/am not going to have had any children.
When I get home, you   will not/are not going to have made dinner.
In five years’ time she/he/it still will not/is not going to have seen most of Asia
By dinner time, we still will not/are not going to have finished our homework.
By next June, they/you (plural) will not/are not going to have saved enough money for a new car.
     

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Information Questions

Wh- word Will Subject Have Past Participle Future Time Expression
What will I have accomplished in three years’ time?
Who will you have worked with?
Where will she/he/it have traveled by next year?
When will we have talked?
How will we have done

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Yes/No Questions

Will Subject Have Past Participle Future Time Expression
Will I have done my homework by the time he comes?
Will you have perfected your English by the time you return from Vancouver?
Will she/he/it have bought a new house in five years’ time?
Will we have seen everything before we leave?

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Short Answers

Yes Subject Will Have No Subject Will Not (Won’t) Have
Yes, I will have. No, I won’t have.
Yes, you will have. No, you won’t have.
Yes, she/he/it will have. No, he won’t have.
Yes, we will have. No, we won’t have.
Yes, they will have. No, they won’t have.

 

Future Perfect – Meaning and Use

future_perfect GraphicThis post will show you how to use the Future Perfect. To see how to form the Future Perfect, click here.

We use Will or Be Going To to talk about an event that will be completed some time in the future.

A future time expression is usually stated or implied, often with by, and it can go at the beginning or end of the sentence with no difference in meaning.

 

The Future Perfect with will:

  • I will have studied hard for the test.
  • He’s going to have done the dishes by the time we finish eating.
  • Why won’t she have finished the project by next week?
  • In ten years, robots will have become more common.
  • After a few years in Europe, she will have tried many different foods.
  • Will he have learned enough Italian before he moves to Italy?

 

The Future Perfect with be going to:

  • I am going to have studied hard for the test.
  • By the time we finish eating, he’s going to have done the dishes.
  • Why will she have gotten paid earlier than usual?
  • By next March, it isn’t going to have warmed up
  • Is he going to have bought a new car by the time he graduates?
  • She is going to have had that book past its due date if she doesn’t return it tomorrow.

Future Simple – Verb Form

This post will show you how to form the Future Simple. To see how to use the Future Simple, click here.

The FOUR future forms are: Be Going To, Present Progressive (also called the Present Continuous), Will, and the Present Simple.

THE FUTURE WITH BE GOING TO

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Affirmative Statements

Subject Be Going To Base Verb
I am going to help later.
You are going to work tomorrow.
She/He/It is going to rain again.
We are going to have so much fun!
They/You (plural) are going to send her a package.
     

Negative Statements

Subject Be Not Going To Base Verb
I am not going to finish in time.
You are not going to go away this weekend.
She/He/It is not going to see the doctor.
We are not going to cook dinner
They/You (plural) are not going to buy a new car.

Yes/No Questions

Be Subject Going To Base Verb
Am I going to be okay?
Are you going to clean the house?
Is she/he/it going to study next semester?
Are we going to stick to the plan?
Are they/you (plural) going to live in New Zealand?

Short Answers

Yes Subject Be No Subject + Be + Not
Yes, I am. No, I’m not.
Yes, he is. No, he’s not.
Yes, they are. No, they’re not.

Information Questions

WH- Word Be Subject Going To Base Verb
Who are you going to call later?
What is she going to do tomorrow?
When are they going to study at the library?
Who (subject) is going to win the election?
What (subject) is going to happen next?

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THE FUTURE WITH THE PRESENT CONTINUOUS/PROGRESSIVE

Affirmative Statements

Subject +Be Verb + ing
I’m helping later.
You ‘re moving next week.
She’s/He’s/It’s coming tomorrow.
We’re cooking dinner tonight.
They’re/You’re changing schools next month.

Negative Statements

Subject + Be Not Verb + ing
I’m not leaving yet.
You’re not taking an exam tomorrow.
She’s/He’s/It’s not playing soccer next Saturday.
We’re not staying with relatives.
They’re/You’re not graduating this semester.

Yes/No Questions

Be Subject Verb + ing
Am I going to work tomorrow?
Are you moving to Japan?
Is she/he/it going to Europe next summer?
Are we doing anything for Valentine’s Day?
Are they/you (plural) coming to the party this weekend?

Short Answers

Yes Subject Be No Subject + Be + Not
Yes, I am. No, I’m not.
Yes, he is. No, he’s not.
Yes, they are. No, they’re not.

Information Questions

WH- Word Be Subject Verb + ing
Who are you calling later?
What is she doing tomorrow?
When are they studying at the library?
Who (subject) is going to head office?
What (subject) is happening next?

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THE FUTURE WITH WILL + BASE VERB

Affirmative Statements

Subject + Will Adverb Base Verb
I’ll study much harder, I promise.
You’ll be cold without a jacket.
She’ll/He’ll/It’ll most likely have a good time at the party.
We’ll hopefully see piranhas in the Amazon.
They’ll/You’ll (plural) probably do their homework in the morning.

Negative Statements

Subject Adverb Will + Not (won’t) Base Verb
I probably won’t exercise tomorrow.
You won’t be happy about this.
She/He/It won’t spend the summer in Hollywood.
We most likely won’t live on Mars in the future.
They/You (plural) probably won’t like the weather in Wisconsin.
   

Yes/No Questions

Will Subject Base Verb
Will I see you next week?
Will you do me a favor?
Will she/he/it finish this soon?
Will we work full-time?
Will they/you (plural) be on time for class tomorrow?

Short Answers

Yes Subject Will No Subject + Will + Not
Yes, I will. No, I won’t.
Yes, he will. No, he won’t.
Yes, they will. No, they won’t.

Information Questions

WH- Word Will Subject Base Verb
Who will you call later?
What will she do tomorrow?
When will they study at the library?
Who (subject) will go to head office?
What (subject) will happen next?

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FURURE WITH PRESENT SIMPLE

Affirmative Statements

Subject Present Simple
I leave on a 6:00 am flight.
You arrive tomorrow night.
She/He/It starts next fall.
We open the store at 9:00 am.
They/You (plural) close at 5:00 pm.

Negative Statements

Subject Do Not (don’t), Does Not (doesn’t) Present Simple
I don’t leave on a 6:00 am flight.
You don’t arrive tomorrow night.
She/He/It doesn’t start next fall.
We don’t open at 9:00 am.
They don’t close at 5:00 pm.

Yes/No Questions

Do/Does Subject Present Simple
Do I work early tomorrow?
Do you arrive next week?
Does she/he/it start on time?
Do we leave after breakfast?
Do they/you (plural) go to the airport this Sunday?

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Information Questions

WH- Word Do/Does Subject Base Verb
Who do I call if I have a problem?
What does she do to register?
When do they arrive in Kenya?
Who (subject)   goes to head office tomorrow?
What (subject)   happens next?

Future Simple – Verb Meaning and Use

This post will show you how to use the Future Simple. To see how to form the Future Simple, click here.

We use Be Going To and the Present Continuous to talk about a planned event or future intention. A future time expression is usually stated or implied with the Present Continuous in order to avoid confusion.

Future with Be Going To

  • I am going to study hard tonight for the test.
  • He’s going to do the dishes after dinner.
  • Why isn’t she going to work next week?

Future with Present Continuous

  • I am studying hard tonight for the test.
  • He’s doing the dishes after dinner.
  • Why isn’t she working next week?

. Be Going To and the Present Continuous are usually similar, but not exactly the same. With Be Going To the speaker may not have an exact plan. With the Present Continuous, the plan is often more definite. Future with Be Going To

  • I’m going to leave my job (someday). I’m so unhappy
  • He’s going to buy a new car but he doesn’t know what kind yet.

Future with Present Continuous

  • I’m leaving my job (next week). I have been so unhappy here.
  • He’s buying a new car tomorrow! He has already chosen it.

. We use Be Going To for predictions, especially when there is evidence that something is just about to happen. Do not use the Present Continuous for predictions. Future predictions with Be Going To

  • Be careful! That glass is going to fall!!
  • That glass is falling. (incorrect)
  • It’s cloudy. It’s going to rain tonight.
  • It is raining tonight (incorrect)
  • They’re going to win the game tonight. They are the better team.
  • They are winning tonight (incorrect)

. Future with Will We use Will or Be Going To to make predictions or expectations. You can also use probably and other adverbs with Will and Be Going To to express certainty or uncertainty. Future with will

  • Electric cars will become popular in the next ten years.
  • Electric cars are going to become popular in the next ten years.
  • They will probably win the championship.
  • They are probably going to win the championship.
  • It will warm up
  • It’s going to warm up

With predictions, the meanings of Will and Be Going To are not exactly the same. Use Be Going To when you are more certain that an event will happen because there is evidence. Do not use Will in this situation. In this situation, Will needs a requirement to be met first.

  • She’s going to have a baby. (She is pregnant)
  • She will have a baby (If she gets married. She is not pregnant now).
  • They are going to win (They are the best team)
  • They will win tonight (if they can keep the ball).

. In statements with I, the first person, Will and Be Going To have different meanings. Will is often used to express a quick decision made at the time of speaking. Be Going To, however, shows that you have thought about something in advance. Do not use Be Going To for quick decisions. Will for quick decisions

  • A: “Does anyone want to help me?” B: “I will help. What can I do?”
  • A: “There’s someone at the door.” B: “I will answer
  • A: “What would you like to eat today?” B: “I’ll have the soup and salad.”

Be Going To for advanced plans

  • A: “What are your plans for the weekend?” B: “I’m going to help my sister move tomorrow.”
  • A: “Do we have any alcohol for the party?” B: “Not yet. I’m going to pick it up

. In statements with I, Will is often used to express a promise. Will for promises

  • I will do my homework.
  • I won’t tell anyone!
  • I will be on time.
  • I won’t quit school.

. We use the Present Simple for future events, mostly schedules, which are out of our control. Future with Present Simple

  • The plane leaves at 9:15 tomorrow.
  • School starts at 8am and finishes at 3pm.
  • The stores open at 9am everyday.
  • He arrives on the 4 o’clock bus next Saturday.
  • What time does the movie begin?

Past Perfect Progressive – Verb Meaning and Use

past_perfect_cont GraphicThis post will show you how to use the Past Perfect Progressive (also called the Past Perfect Continuous). To see how to form the Past Perfect Progressive, click here.

The Past Perfect Progressive expresses the relationship in time between two past events, similar to the Past Perfect. However, the Past Perfect Progressive emphasizes that the first event was ongoing and continued up to or just before the second event.

  • Tomomi had been studying all night. (Past Perfect Progressive, 1st event)
  • She was exhausted at breakfast. (Past Simple, 2nd event)

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 For and since often show how long a situation lasted before the second past event.

  • Chris left his office at 6:00 pm. (Past Simple, 2nd event)
  • Hed been working since 8:00 am. (Past Perfect Progressive, 1st event)

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The Past Perfect Progressive is often used in sentences using past time clauses.

  • Michelle had been working for nine and a half hours (Past Perfect Progressive, 1st event)
  • by the time she left her office. (Past Simple, 2nd event)

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Certain common verbs can be used with the Past Perfect and the Past Perfect Progressive with little or no difference in meaning, but using the Progressive can show a more intense or emotional situation.

  • Mr. Garcia had lived there since 1982. (Past Perfect)
  • Mr. Garcia had been living there since 1982.  (Past Perfect Progressive)
  • I’d waited an hour (neutral)
  • I’d been waiting an hour. (I was so mad!)

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The Past Perfect can express a completed action that may or may not have happened recently. In contrast, the Past Perfect Progressive suggests that an action was continuing up to or ended just before a specific time in the past.

  • Janice had watered the garden before I arrived. (She may have watered it a few minutes or many hours before I arrived.)
  • Janice had been watering the garden before I arrived. (She watered the garden a few minutes before I arrived. The ground was still wet.)

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We do not use the Past Perfect Progressive to tell how many times an action is repeated.

  • I’d read it three times before. (Correct)
  • I’d been reading it three times before. (Incorrect)

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Both the Past Perfect and the Past Perfect Progressive are used to provide background information about earlier events. They are used to give reasons with because, express contrasts with although or even though, and are used to draw conclusions.

  • She looked very tired because she had been studying all night. (Reason)
  • She looked very tired because she had studied all night. (Reason)
  • She looked very tired although she had been sleeping for 12 hours. (Contrast)
  • She looked very tired although she had slept for 12 hours. (Contrast)
  • I realized that he had been criticizing my work. (Conclusion)
  • I realized that he had criticized my work. (Conclusion)