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 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?

Present Progressive – Verb Meaning and Use

There are seven different ways to use the Present Progressive (also called the Present Continuous).  This tense is usually only used with active verbs, and if it is used with stative verbs there is a difference in meaning.

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

1. The Present Progressive is used for activities in progress at the exact moment of speaking.  Time expressions such as now, right now, and at the moment often occur with the Present Progressive tense.

  • Can you call back later? We are studying at the moment.
  • Shhh!! I‘m trying to concentrate!
  • Look, it‘s raining, again!!
  • They‘re playing basketball.
  • You are studying the Present Progressive right now.

2. The Present Progressive can also express the extended present, actions that are in progress but not happening at the exact moment of speaking. You can use time expressions such as this week or these days to show when the action is happening. The action may be ongoing, or may start and stop repeatedly.

  • She‘s taking a computer course this semester.
  • I‘m looking for a cheap car, do you have any ideas?
  • They‘re renovating their kitchen this month, it‘s taking a long time.
  • I‘m in the middle of reading a really good book.

3. Temporary situations can be expressed with the Present Progressive, if we feel that the situation is not permanent and won’t continue for a long time.

  • I‘m staying with a friend this week.
  • She‘s living in Seoul for a few months.
  • Jack‘s working at a cafe until he finds a job in his field.

4. Temporary or new habits can also be expressed with the Present Progressive. (for regular habits that have continued for a long time, and are permanent, choose the Present Simple)

  • I‘m drinking a lot of coffee this week!
  • You‘re smoking too much.
  • They‘re working late every night.

5. The Present Progressive is used to describe a situation which is slowly changing.

  • My grades are improving this year.
  • Technology is getting cheaper all the time.
  • Global warming is becoming an important issue.
  • My English is getting better!

6. The next use is for definite future plans, used with a future time expression.

  • I‘m having lunch with Jackie tomorrow.
  • We‘re going to France next week!
  • She‘s leaving at three.
  • They‘re going to the movies on the weekend.

7. And lastly, we use the Present Progressive to complain about a situation, usually with adverbs of frequency, such as always, constantly, continually, and forever.

  • You‘re constantly missing the train.
  • James is always losing his keys.
  • She‘s forever talking on the phone.

Present Progressive – Verb Forms

The Present Progressive (also called the Present Continuous) tense is formed with two words, the “be” verb and a base verb+ing. This is the same for all verbs, regular and irregular.

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

Affirmative Statements

Subject Be Base Verb + ing
I am working today.
You are working today.
He/she/it is working today.
We are working today.
They/you (plural) are working today.
   

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Affirmative Contractions

I’m working today.
You’re working today.
He’s working today.
She’s working today.
It’s working today.
They’re working today.
You’re (plural) working today.

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Negative Statements

Subject Be Not Base Verb + ing
I am not working today.
You are not doing anything right now.
He/she/it is not washing the dishes.
We are not going to Seattle.
They/you (plural) are not playing hockey.

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Negative Contractions

I’m not sleeping yet.
You’re not (or) You aren’t cleaning the house.
He’s not (or) He isn’t singing loudly.
It’s not (or) It isn’t going to rain today.
We’re not (or) We aren’t driving today.
They’re not (or) They aren’t doing much.
You’re not (or) You aren’t brushing your teeth.

Yes/No Questions.

Be Subject Base Verb + ing
Am I eating chocolate?
Are you going to school today?
Is she sleeping?
Is it raining today?
Are we meeting at noon?
Are they coming to the party?
Are you (plural) waiting for me?

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Information Questions

Wh- Word Be Subject Base Verb + ing
How am I doing in this class?
Who are you dating these days?
What is he eating?
When are we leaving?
Where are they going to travel?
How are you making so much money?
Why am I working at this terrible job?
Wh- word (subject) Be Subject Base Verb + ing
Who is laughing?
What is happening?

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Short Answers

Yes Subject Be
Yes, I am.
Yes, you are.
Yes, he/she/it is.
Yes, we are.
Yes, they/you (plural) are.
No Subject + Be + Not
No, I’m not.
No, you’re not.
No, he/she/it isn’t.
No, we aren’t.
No, they/you (plural) aren’t.

*Do not use contractions in affirmative short answers.

✔ Yes, I am.

✘ Yes, I’m.

✔ Yes, we are.

✘ Yes, we’re.