All 12 tenses: definition, examples, types, and formula

In this lesson, we are going to take a look at the All 12 tenses in English, their types, formula, with examples.

As you may know, there are 12 tenses in English divided into four groups.

Which are:

  • Simple
  • Perfect
  • Continuous
  • Perfect continuous

In this lesson, we are going to learn about all the 12 tenses in English grammar, its rules, formula with examples.

So, let’s take a look at each tense and its form with examples.

note:

S = Subject V1 = The basic form(eg: do/to do) V2 = The past form (eg: did) V3 = Past participale (eg: done)

Present Simple.

The present simple can be a fact, a habit, or an action.

Form:   S + V1 + O Examples:
He does his grammar homework every day. (habit)
She is smart. She gets high marks. (fact)
He writes a letter to his aunt. (action)

Present Continuous.

This particular tense refers to a temporary action that is happening now.

Form:   S + am/is/are + (V+ing) + O

Examples:
I am doing my grammar homework right now.
Be quiet. She is sleeping.
They are watching a football match.

Present Perfect.

This particular tense refers to an action that has already done without referring to time.

Form:   S + have/has + V3 + O

Examples:
I have done my grammar homework.
She has written many books this year.
He has traveled to Uk.

Present Perfect Continuous.

This tense expresses an action that has already started in the past, but it is still ongoing in the present.

Form:   S + have/has been + (v+ing) + O

Examples:
I have been learning English for two years.
She has been reading books since she was 20.
He has been waiting for the bus for 20 min.

Past Simple.

This tense refers to a completed action with a specific time in the past.

Form:   S + V2 + O

Examples:
I did my grammar homework yesterday.
He learned a new language last year.
She bought a new car last week.

Past Continuous.

This tense refers to an action running in the past and intersects with another completed.

Form:   S + (was/were) + (V+ing) + O

Examples:
I was doing my grammar homework when you called.
She was studying when I called her.
They were playing, when the show started.

Past Perfect.

This tense refers to an action that was completed in the past before another action or before a specific time.

Form:   S + had + V3 + O

Examples:
I had done my grammar homework when you called.
She had done her homework when I called her.
They had gone, by midnight.

Past Perfect Continuous.

This tense refers to an action that was in progress for some time in the past before another action.

Form:   S + had been + (v+ing) + O

Examples:
I had been doing my grammar homework for 20 min when you called.
 She had been learning a new language for 6 months when she applied for a new job.

Future Simple.

This tense is a planning action for the future at the time of speaking.

Form:   S + will/going to + V1 + O

Examples:
I will do my grammar homework tomorrow.
I am going to visit my aunt tomorrow.
She will start a new business next month.

Note:

difference between (will and going to).

  • going to” used for certainty (when we are sure about it).
  • We use “will” when it not sure. We may do it as we may not.

Future Continuous.

This tense refers to an action that is in progress at a specific time in the future.

Form:   S + will be + (v+ing) + O

Examples:
I will be doing my grammar homework when you call.
She will be studying by the time you arrive.
They will be watching the new movie by the time you arrive.

Future Perfect.

This tense refers to an action that will be completed in the future before another action or before a specific time.

Form:   S + will have + V3 + O

Examples:
 I will have done my grammar homework by the time you call.
She will have started her homework by the time you arrive.
They will have finished the movie by midnight.

Future Perfect Continuous.

This tense refers to an action that will have started and continued for some time in the future when Intersects with another action.

Form:   S + will have been + (v+ing) + O

Examples:
I will have been doing my grammar homework for hours when you call.
She will have been studying for hours by the time we arrive.
They will have been watching the new movie for a while when we arrive.

Let’s recap all what we have seen in this lesson into a table.

All 12 types of tenses in English, table

Past Present Future
Simple I did my grammar homework yesterday. I do my grammar homework everyday. I will do my grammar homework tomorrow.
Perfect I had done my grammar homework when you called. I have done my grammar homework. I will have done my grammar homework by the time you call.
Continuous I was doing my grammar homework when you called. I am doing my grammar homework right now. I will be doing my grammar homework when you call.
Perfect continuous  I had been doing my grammar homework for 20 min when you called. I have been learning English for two years. I will have been doing my grammar homework for hours when you call.

Practice All English tenses in English with a variety of exercises from here.