4th Class English Tenses Tenses

Tenses

Category : 4th Class

Real Life Example   

Tenses are an important part of our communication. They make and break they make and break the meaning of the words in a sentence. We continuously use the tenses in communicating.  

 

LEARNING OBJECTIVES

This lesson will help you to:

  • learn about the meaning of tenses.
  • study and learn about the usage of tenses.
  • learn different types of tenses.  

 

QUICK CONCEPT REVIEW

What are Tenses? Tense is used to show the relation between the action or state described by the verb and the time, which is reflected in the form of the verb.

There are three main verb tenses: present, past, and future. Each main tense is divided into simple, continuous, perfect, and perfect continuous tenses. But here, we will only be studying about simple, perfect and continuous tense.  

 

SIMPLE TENSE

Things to remember about simple tense:

(a) Present tense is the original verb form.

(b) Past tense has a few patterns.

(c) Future tense needs will (shall) + verb.

Example:

  • I run a marathon this year. (present)
  • I ran a marathon last year. (past)
  • I will run a marathon next year. (future)  

 

SIMPLE TENSE

 

SIMPLE PRESENT

The simple present tense is used to describe an action that is regular, true or normal.                        

Forms of the predicate verb:                        

1. BASE (if the subject is I, we, you, they, or any plural)

2. +S (if the subject is he, she, it, or any singular other than I or you)

 

We use the present tense:

1. For repeated or regular actions in the present time period.

I take the train to the office.

John sleeps eight hours every night during the week.

2.  For facts.

The President of The USA lives in The White House.

A dog has four legs.

3. For habits.

I get up early every day.

Carol brushes her teeth twice a day.

4. For things that are always / generally true

The Queen of England lives in Buckingham Palace.

They speak English at work.

We form the present tense using the base form of the infinitive. In general, in the third person we add 'S' in the third person.

   

Amazing Facts

Americans do not use the present perfect tense so much as British speakers. Americans often use the past tense instead. An American might say "Did you have lunch", where a British person would say "Have you had lunch"

For can be used with all tenses. Since is usually used with perfect tenses only.   Negative Sentences in the Simple Present Tense  

 

Historical preview

The evolution of a future and perfect tense represents the most significant innovation of Modern English in comparison to earlier stages of that language. Old English had a two tense system (past and non-past), which is claimed to have been preserved in Modern English by some linguists.

 

Negative Sentences in the Simple Present Tense

To make a negative sentence in English we normally use don't or doesn't with all verbs except to Be and modal verbs (can, might, should etc.).

Affirmative: You speak French.

Negative: You don't speak French.

The following is the word order to construct a basic negative sentence in English in the present tense using don't or doesn't.

 

 

SIMPLE PAST TENSE

In the simple post tense, the action is simply mentioned and understood to have taken place in the past. The action started and ended sometime in the past but the time may or may not be mentioned.

Example of positive statement: The boy played cricket yesterday.

Example of negative statement: She didn't talk to Pooja last week.

Example of interrogative statement: Did you complete the work? 

  • For making positive statements in the simple past tense, use the verb in the past form for all subjects.
  • For making negative statements in the simple past tense use 'didn't' or 'did not' and the verb in the base form for all subjects.
  • For making questions in the simple past tense, use 'did' and the verb in the base form for all subjects.  

 

SIMPLE FUTURE TENSE

The simple future tense is used when we plan or make a decision to do something. Nothing is said about the time in the future.

Forms of the predicate verb:

  1. WILL + BASE
  2. AM/IS/ARE + GOING TO + BASE

Example of positive statement:                 

You will read the story book tomorrow.       

You are going to read the story book tomorrow.  

Example of negative statement:                

He will not play football next week. 

He is not going to play football next week.    

Example of interrogative statement:          

Will I go to Mumbai next month?           

Am I going to go to Mumbai next month?    

For making positive statements in the simple future tense, use 'will? or 'going to' and the verb in the base form for all subjects.                                       

For making negative statements in the simple future tense, use 'will not' or 'not going to' and the verb in the base form for all subjects.  

 

PERFECT TENSE

The three perfect tenses in English are the three verb tenses which show action already completed. (The word perfect literally means "made complete" or "completely done.")

They are formed by the appropriate tense of the verb to have plus the past participle of the verb.  

 

PRESENT PERFECT

The structure of the present perfect tense is:

Subject + auxiliary verb + main verb            

              Have                 past participle  

Example: You have eaten mine.

Have they done it?

This tense is called the present perfect tense. There is always a connection with the past and with the present. There are basically three uses for the present perfect tense

  • experience
  • change
  • continuing situation
  • We often use the present perfect tense to talk about experience from the past. We are not interested in when you did something. We only want to know if you did it:

Example:

I have seen ET.

I have lived in Bangkok.

Connection with past: the event was in the past.

Connection with present: in my head, now, I have a memory of the event; I know something about the event; I have experience of it.

We also use the present perfect tense to talk about a change or new information. Example: I have bought a car.   

John has broken his leg.

 

We often use the present perfect tense to talk about a continuing situation. This is a state that started in the past and continues in the present (and will probably continue into the future). This is a state (not an action). We usually use for or since with this structure.

Example:

I have worked here since June.

He has been ill for 2 days.

Connection with past: the situation started in the past.

Connection with present: the situation continues in the present. For & since with present perfect tense We often use for and since with the present perfect tense.

We use for to talk about a period of time - 5 minutes, 2 weeks, 6 years.

We use since to talk about a point in past time - 9 o'clock, 1st January, Monday.

Examples:

I have been here for 20 minutes.

I have been here since 9 o'clock.

John hasn't called for 6 months.  

 

PAST PERFECT

It is used to express an action which has occurred in past (usually, a long time ago) and action which has occurred in past before another action in past.

For example, I had lived in America. (The sense of time in this sentence refers to a completed action in past and especially a long time ago)  

STRUCTURE OF SENTENCE

Positive sentence

Subject + auxiliary verb + main verb (past participle) + object.

Subject + had + 3rd form of verb or past participle + object.

Examples: He had taken the exam last year. A thief had stolen my watch.

Negative sentence

Subject + auxiliary verb + NOT + main verb (past participle) + object.

Subject + had + not + 3rd form of verb or past participle + object. "Not" is written after auxiliary verb in negative sentence.

Examples: He had not taken the exam last year. A thief had not stolen my watch.

Interrogative sentence

Auxiliary verb + subject + main verb (past participle) + object.

Had + subject + 3rd form of verb or past participle + object. Interrogative sentence starts with auxiliary verb "had".

Examples: Had he taken the exam last year. Had it rained heavily last month?  

 

FUTURE PERFECT

It is used to express an action which will occur in future and is thought to be completed in future. It expresses a sense of completion of an action which will occur in future.

For example, "John will have gone tomorrow". It shows a sense of completion of an action (go) which will occur in future (tomorrow).  

 

STRUCTURE OF SENTENCE

Positive sentence

Subject + auxiliary verb + main verb (past participle) + object.

Subject + will have + 3rd form of verb or past participle + object.

Examples She will have finished the work by Wednesday. I will have left for home by the time he gets up.

Negative sentence

Subject + Not between auxiliary verbs + main verb (past participle) + object.

Subject + will not have + 3rd form of verb or past participle + object.

Examples She will have finished the work by Wednesday. I will have left for home by the time he gets up.

Interrogative sentence

Auxiliary verb + Subject + auxiliary verb + main verb (past participle) + object.

Will + Subject +have + 3rd form of verb or past participle + object.

Examples Will she have finished the work by Wednesday? Will I have left for home by the time he gets up?  

 

CONTINUOUS TENSE

Present Continuous

It is used to express a continued or ongoing action at present time. It expresses an action which is in progress at the time of speaking.

For example, a person says, "I am writing a letter". It means that he is in the process of writing a letter right now.

Present continuous tense is also called present progressive tense.  

 

STRUCTURE OF SENTENCE

Positive Sentence

Subject + auxiliary verb + main verb-ing (Present participle) + object

Subject + am/is/are + (1st form of verb or base verb + ing) + object If the subject is "I" then auxiliary verb "am" is used after subject in sentence. If the subject is "He, She, It, singular or proper name" then auxiliary verb "is" is used after subject in sentence. If subject is "You, They or plural" then auxiliary verb "are" is used after subject in sentence. The participle "ing" is added to the 1st form of verb i.e. going (go) writing (write).

Examples:

I am playing cricket.

He is driving a car.

They are reading their lessons.

Negative Sentence

Subject + auxiliary verb + not + main verb-ing (Present participle) + object.

Subject + am/is/are + not + (1st form of verb + ing) + object.

Examples:

I am not playing cricket.

He is not driving a car.

They are not reading their lessons.

Interrogative Sentences

Auxiliary verb + Subject + main verb-ing (Present participle) + object.

Am/is/are + Subject + (1st form of verb or base verb + ing) + object.

Examples: Am I playing cricket? Is he driving a car? Are they reading their lessons?  

 

PAST CONTINUOUS

It is used to express a continued or ongoing action in past, an ongoing action which occurred in past and completed at some point in past.

For example, "he was laughing." This sentence shows ongoing action (laughing) of a person which occurred in past. Past continuous tense is also called past progressive.

 

STRUCTURE OF SENTENCE

Positive sentences

Subject + auxiliary verb + main verb (present participle) + object.

Subject + was/were + (1st form of verb or base verb + ing) +object.

Examples:

She was crying yesterday.

They were climbing on a hill.

Negative sentences

Subject + auxiliary verb + NOT + main verb (present participle) + object

Subject + was/were + NOT + (1st form of verb or base verb +ing) +object

Examples:

She was not crying yesterday.

They were not climbing on a hill.

Interrogative sentences

Auxiliary verb + subject + main verb (present participle) + object.

Was/were + subject + (1st form of verb or base verb +ing) +object.

Examples

Was she crying yesterday?

Were they climbing on a hill?  

 

FUTURE CONTINUOUS

It is used to express a continued or an ongoing action in future.

For example, "I will be waiting for you tomorrow", it conveys ongoing nature of an action (waiting) which will occur in future.  

 

STRUCTURE OF SENTENCE

Positive sentence

Subject + auxiliary verb + main verb (present participle) + object.

Subject + will be+ 1st form of verb or base form + ing (present participle) + object.

Examples:

I will be waiting for you.

You will be feeling well tomorrow.

Negative sentence

Subject + not between auxiliary verbs + not + main verb (present participle) + object.

Subject + will not be + 1st form of verb or base form + ing (present participle) + object.

Examples:

I will not be waiting for you.

You will not be feeling well tomorrow.

Interrogative sentence

Auxiliary verb + subject + auxiliary verb + main verb (present participle) + object.

Will+ subject + be+ 1st form of verb or base form + ing (present participle) + object.

Examples:

Will I be waiting for you?

Will you be feeling well tomorrow?

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