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SUMMARY OF ENGLISH VERB TENSES There are three basic tenses: present, past, and future.

Each has a perfect form, indicating completed action; each has a progressive form, indicating ongoing action; and each has a perfect progressive form, indicating ongoing action that will be completed at some definite time. Here is a list of examples of these tenses and their definitions. Simple Forms Progressive Forms Perfect Forms Perfect Progressive Form have/has been taking had been taking will have been taking

Present Past Future

take/s took will take

am/is are taking have/has taken as/were taking will be taking had taken will have taken

Simple Forms • Present Tense Present tense expresses an unchanging, repeated, or reoccurring action or situation that only exists now. It can also represent a widespread truth. Example The trees are tall. Every year, new students enroll at UNL. Pb is the chemical symbol for lead. • Past Tense Past tense expresses an action or situation that was started and finished in the past. Most past tense verbs in –ed. The irregular verbs have special past tense forms which must be memorized. Example The student revised her essay. She wrote a new draft. • Form Regular –ed past Irregular form Meaning Unchanging action Reoccurring action Widespread truth

Future Tense Future tense expresses an action or situation that will occur in the future.

The student will set an appointment at the WAC. The student is going to revise his essay.

This tense is formed by using will with the simple form of the verb. The future tense can also be expressed by

Most past participles end in *An action that began in the –ed. This tense is formed by The student is writing a new using am. .The student writes tomorrow. verb form ending in –ing. or are. This tense is formed using had with the past participle of the verb. *The student has rewritten her draft since her visit to the WAC. By the time the student had revised her opening. must be memorized. Future Progressive Tense: An ongoing or continuous This tense is formed by action that will take place in using will be with the verb the future. she already had plans for the conclusion. • Perfect Forms The student will be working on her essay in the WAC. Past Perfect Tense: An action which took place in the past before another past action. • Progressive Forms Present Progressive Tense: A past action which was happening when another action occurred. We can also use the present tense form with an adverb or adverbial phrase to show future time. This tense is formed by using has or have with the past participle of the verb. or are with the draft of her essay. form ending in –ing. using am. The student was explaining that she had difficulty with transitions. is. This tense is formed by using was or were with the verb form ending in –ing. with going to. *Writers have visited the WAC all semester long. Irregular verbs have past and continues in the special past participles that present. Present Perfect Tense: *An action that happened at an indefinite time in the past. Past Progressive Tense: A past action which was happening when another action occurred. is.

continues in the present. He has been writing his essay in the WAC. she will have learned many new rhetorical skills. Present Perfect Progressive: An action that began in the past. This tense is formed by using will have been and the present participle of the verb (the verb ending in –ing). Before coming to the WAC. . • Perfect Progressive Forms By the student writes a new essay. This tense is formed by using had been and the present perfect of the verb (the verb ending in –ing). ongoing action that will occur before some specified future time. This tense is formed by using has / have been and the present participle of the verb (the verb form ending in –ing). the student had been having difficulties getting started on his resume. ongoing action that was completed before some other past action. Future Perfect Progressive: A future. Past Perfect Progressive: A past. participle of the verb. he will have been thinking about the topic for some time. and may continue in the future.Future Perfect Tense: An action that will occur in This tense is formed using the future before some other will have with the past action. By the next time he starts an essay.