Verb tenses are an attribute of verbs that tell us about time.
Remember that verbs are words that show actions or states of being.
There are only six tenses for English verbs! You can learn about six tenses!
Three of them are called simple tenses, and three of them are called perfect tenses.
There are three basic times when verbs can take place: past, present, and future.
These are the easy ones to remember. In fact, they are called simple tenses.
1. Simple present tense verbs show actions that happen regularly or that are permanently happening.
2. Simple past tense verbs are verbs that show actions that took place in the past.
3. Simple future tense verbs are verbs that show actions that have not taken place yet, but that will take place in the future.
English verbs also have three perfect verb tenses: present perfect tense, past perfect tense, and future perfect tense.
These tenses are pretty cool, I guess, but I'm not sure that I'd call them perfect. Whoever named these guys sure thought highly of them.
4. Present perfect tense verbs show actions that were finished recently or ones that were completed at an indefinite time in the past. These use has or have.
5. Past perfect tense verbs show actions that came directly before another action in the past. These use had.
6. Future perfect tense verbs show actions that will happen before other future actions happens. These use will have and shall have.
Both simple and perfect verb tenses can also be made into progressive verb forms. Sometimes they are also called continuous.
That just means that they show an action that is in progress or that is continuing.
To form this type of verb, you add one of the forms of the verb be with the present participle of the verb. (The present participle ends in -ing.)
These are not a different tense, but they are an important thing to learn about.
Verbs that add -d or -ed to their present form to form the past tense are regular verbs.
Here are some sentences with regular verbs. Notice that they end in -d or -ed.
Irregular verbs are not a different tense, but they are also an important topic to study.
The word irregular means not regular, so irregular verbs are those that have unpredictable forms in the past tense.
They don't add -d or -ed to their present form to form the past tense are irregular verbs.
Here are some sentences with irregular verbs written in the past tense. Notice that they don't end in -d or -ed.