Are you confused with the English Grammar, especially with the English Tenses ???
For those of us who are not native speakers of English, indeed the 16 tenses of English can be difficult to understand. There are many rules and also exceptions in English tenses. However, that does not mean we can not master it! Here is a summary of the 16 English Tensesand tips for mastering them.
Simple present tense
Simple present tense is the most commonly used tense form. This form is usually used to show the facts, habits, and events that occur at this time.
FormulaSignal wordPositive SentenceNegative SentenceInterrogative sentence
Subject + Verb 1 (present form)always, every, never, usually, often, sometimes, usually, seldomHe always works very hard in the companyHe does not work very hard in the company.Does he work very hard in the company?
Yes, he does. / No, he does not.
Present Continuous Tense
Present continuous tense is usually used to discuss ongoing actions while the conversation is ongoing or can be used for future plans .
PatternSignal WordsAffirmativeNegativeQuestion
Subject + am / is / are + Verb -ing (continuous form)at the moment, just now, now, right now, Listen !, Look!Look! He is talking with his classmates.He is not playing computer games now.Is he playing computer games at the moment?
Yes, he is. / No, he is not.
Present Perfect Tense
Present perfect tense emphasizes the outcome . This tense shows action that is still ongoing or just finished .
PatternSignal WordsAffirmativeNegativeQuestion
Subject + has / have + Verb III (past participle form)already, ever, just, never, not, so far, till now, up to nowHe has already finished his homework.He has not been to Australia so far.Has he completed the arrangement for the coming event up to now?
Yes, he has. / No, he has not.
Present Perfect Continuous Tense
Present perfect continuous tense is used to reveal completed actions at some point in the past or the action has begun in the past and continues to the present . Usually the action there is a certain duration of time and there is relevance to the current conditions.
PatternSignal WordsAffirmativeNegativeQuestion
Subject + HAS / HAVE + BEEN + Verb -ing (continuous form)for the past 5 years, how long ... ?, the whole week, since xxxxHe has been working here since 1996.He has not been speaking for the last 3 hours.Has he been playing the computer game all day?
Yes, he has./ No, he has not.
Simple Past Tense
Simple past tense is used to express an event that occurred in the past .
PatternSignal WordsAffirmativeNegativeQuestion
Subject + Verb II (past form)yesterday, 2 minutes ago, in 1996, last Thursday, this morningLast year, he always worked into night.He did not go to school this morning.Did he pay the bill yesterday?Yes, he did. / No, he did not.
Past Continuous Tense
Past continuous tense is used to reveal that an action is occurring at a certain time in the past . There are usually two incidents in the past and one event interrupting another . The interrupted event that uses the past continuous tense.
PatternSignal WordsAffirmativeNegativeQuestion
Subject + WAS / WERE + Verb -ing (continuous form)when, while, as long as, at this time yesterdayHe was speaking when I entered in room.He was not doing his homework at this time yesterday.Was he writing the letter to his parents when I was out last Tuesday?
Yes, he was./ No, he was not.
Past Perfect Tense
Past perfect tense is used to denote an event that occurred before a certain time in the past and more emphasis on fact than duration.
PatternSignal WordsAffirmativeNegativeQuestion
Subject + HAD + Verb III (past participle form)before yesterday, till three days ago, already, until that dayHe had finished his designs before he went to work yesterday.He had not been a high school student until last year.Had he entered the company before he achieved his master degree in 1990?
Yes, he had./ No, he had not.

Past Perfect Continuous Tense
Past perfect continuous tense is almost similar to past perfect tense.Used to express an action that occurred in the past and has been completed at a certain point in time in the past , but this tense emphasizes on the duration of the incident .
PatternSignal WordsAffirmativeNegativeQuestion
Subject + HAD + BEEN + Verb -ing (continuous form)for, since, the whole day, all dayHe said that he has been working here for ten years.He was told that his teacher has been waiting for him since 2 pm yesterday.Had he been speaking for the whole class before I signed?
Yes, he had./ No, he had not.
Simple Future Tense
Simple Future tense indicates an action in the future and can not be influenced. Can also be used for future spontaneous decision-making or assumptions related to the future. "Will" and "be going to" are the 2 common indicators on these tenses.
PatternSignal WordsAffirmativeNegativeQuestion
Subject + "WILL / BE GOING TO" + Verb (present form)in a year, next ..., tomorrow, next week, five days laterHe is going to be journalist after he graduate next year.He will not play computer games anymore because he understand how harmful they are.Will he go to the cinema tomorrow with us?
Yes, he will./ No, he will not.
Future Continuous Tense
Future continuous tense shows actions that occur at any given time in the future and actions that will inevitably happen in the near future.
PatternSignal WordsAffirmativeNegativeQuestion
Subject + "WILL / BE GOING TO" + "BE" + Verb (continuous form)tomorrow morning, in one yearHe will be delivering the speech to undergraduates at 3 pm tomorrow afternoon.He will not be doing the task in the office this afternoon because he is sick.Will he playing football next morning in the playground?Yes, he will./ No, he will not.
Future Perfect Tense
Future perfect tense emphasizes action that will end at a certain time in the future.
PatternSignal WordsAffirmativeNegativeQuestion
Subject + "WILL HAVE" + Verb II (past participle form)by next Monday, in a weekHe will have finished the task by next Monday.He will not have finished the task by tomorrow evening.Will he have finished the task in a week? Yes, he will./ No, he will not.
Future Perfect Continuous Tense
Almost the same as all kinds of perfect continuous tense, the future perfect continuous tense is a series of actions that occur before a certain time in the future .
PatternSignal WordsAffirmativeNegativeQuestion
Subject + "WILL HAVE BEEN" + Verb III (past participle form)for the last couple of hours, all day longHe will have taken the charge of the team for the next hour.He will not have been doing the task for the last couple of hours.Will he have been doing the research all day long?Yes, he will./ No, he will not.
Past Future Tense
Past future tense is basically used in indirect sentences, where there is a change of form to suit the sequence of events.
PatternSignal WordsAffirmativeNegativeQuestion
Subject + "SHOULD / WOULD" + Verb (present form)He said that he would leave in three days.He did not promise that he would buy you a new computer.Did you tell him when I would arrive?Yes, I did. / No, I did not.
Past Future Continuous Tense
Past future continuous tense emphasizes on a series or duration of an action occurs. In addition, it is also commonly used in indirect sentences .
PatternSignal WordsAffirmativeNegativeQuestion
Subject + "SHOULD / WOULD BE" + Verb (continuous form)I made a promise that I would be doing my homework all day long tomorrow.I did not tell anyone that I would be giving a speech to undergraduates for the next whole morning.Did you say that you would be working hard in the next week?Yes, I did / No, I did not.
Past Future Perfect Tense
There are 3 times in past future perfect that happened in the past.Pointing at a time to come, a certain time in the past, but the action that occurred should have been completed before the time to come. And usually used on indirect sentences.
PatternSignal WordsAffirmativeNegativeQuestion
Subject + "SHOULD / WOULD HAVE BEEN" + Verb III (past participle form)He told the students that they should have finished the homework this morning.He said that he would not have made such a mistake if he had taken my advice.Did you say that you have a doctor in three years?
Yes, I did / No, I did not.
Past Future Perfect Continuous Tense
Past future perfect continuous tense is a tense form that is quite difficult. However, you can learn it from past future perfect tense. The difference, past future perfect tense emphasizes on the duration of time already passed and the results.
PatternSignal WordsAffirmativeNegativeQuestion
Subject + "SHOULD / WOULD HAVE BEEN" + Verb (continuous form)I heard that you should have been teaching here for ten years by this July.I did not know that he had been working for the past three hours by that time.Would he have been explaining to the workers if he had made the information clear?
Yes, he would / No, he would not.
After reading all the patterns and examples above, do you now understand more about the 16 English tenses? Read the explanation carefully and try to follow the given pattern. We also provide special tips to learn English tenses that can help you become Master of English Tenses. Read tips on how to easily master tenses here! 


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