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Simple Tips To Identify the tense of a sentence

Tenses in English

Tenses indicate the time of action in a sentence. The form of the main verb is changed to indicate the tense of a sentence. In English grammar, there are three main tenses. These are:
1. Present tense
2. Past tense and
3. Future tense.

Each of these tenses has four different forms. Accordingly there are 12 tenses in all. These are:

Present tense

1. Simple Present tense
2. Present Continuous tense
3. Present Perfect tense
4. Present Perfect Continuous tense

Past tense

1. Simple Past tense
2. Past Continuous tense
3. Past Perfect tense
4. Past Perfect Continuous tense

Future tense

1. Simple Future tense
2. Future Continuous tense
3. Future Perfect tense
4. Future Perfect Continuous tense

How to know the tense of a sentence

A sentence has mainly subject (S), a verb (V) and an object (O)

Structure of a sentence - S + V + O

1. Simple Present tense

When the main verb is in simple present form, the sentence is in a simple present tense.

Structure - S + V (present form) + O

Example:
1. I / we / they learn English grammar.
2. He / she learns English grammar.

2. Present Continuous tense

When a sentence has 'am / is / are' and '-ing' form of the main verb, then it is in present continuous tense.

Structure:- S + am / is / are (present form of verb of 'be') + V (ing form of main verb) + O

Example:
1. I am learning English grammar.
2. We / they are learning English grammar.
3. He / she is learning English grammar.

3. Present Perfect tense

'Has / have ' + past form of the main verb, then the sentence is in present perfect tense.

Structure: S + has / have + V (past form of main verb) + O

Example:
1. I / we / they have learnt English grammar.
2. She / he has learnt English grammar.

4. Present Perfect Continuous tense

'Has / have been' + '-ing' form of main verb, then the sentence is in present perfect continuous tense.

Structure: S + has / have been + V (ing form) + O

Example:
1. I / we / they have been learning English grammar.
2. She / he has been learning English grammar.

5. Simple Past tense

When the main verb in simple past form, then the sentence is in simple past tense.

Structure: S + V (past form) + O

Examples:
1. I / we / she / he / they learnt English grammar.

6. Past Continuous tense

When the sentence has past form of verb of 'be' (was / were) + '-ing' form of main verb, then it is in past continuous tense.

Structure: S + was / were (past form of verb of be) + V (ing form) + O

Example:
1. I / he / she was learning English grammar.
2. We / they were learning English grammar.

7. Past Perfect tense

When the sentence has 'had' + main verb in the past form, then it is in past perfect tense.

Structure: S + had + V (past form) + O

Example:
1. I / we / she / he / they had learnt English grammar.

8. Past Perfect Continuous tense

The sentence in past perfect tense is framed of 'had been' and '-ing' form of the main verb.

Structure: S + had been + V (ing form) + O

Example:
1. I / we / she / he / they had been learning English grammar.

9. Simple Future tense

When a sentence consists of 'will /shall' and the present form of verb, then it is in simple future tense.

Structure: S + shall / will + verb (present form) + O

Example:
1. I shall learn English grammar. (British English)
2. I will learn English grammar. (American English)
3. We / he / she / they will learn English grammar.

10. Future Continuous tense

The sentence in future continuous tense consists of 'shall / will be' and '-ing' form of main verb.

Structure: S + shall / will be + V (ing form) + O

Example:
1. I shall / will be learning English grammar.
2. He / she / they / we will be learning English grammar.

11. Future Perfect tense

The sentence in future perfect tense consists of  'shall / will have' and the past perfect form of verb.

Structure: S + shall / will have' + V (past perfect form) + O

Example:
1. I shall / will have learnt English grammar.
2. We / he / she / they will have learnt English grammar.

12. Future Perfect Continuous tense

Not in practical use. Can be ignored.

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