Definition of tense, types and their uses

Definition of tense, types and their uses

Definition of tense

Tense is the form of a verb which shows the time of an action and its degree of Tense refers to the time when an action takes place.

 

There are three types of tense

  1.  Present Tense
  2.  Past Tense
  3. Future Tense

★ Now each of the above three tenses can be divided into four parts to clarify the degree of completeness of the action.

I. Indefinite – In this the position of the action is not fixed.
2. Continuous  – This gives the sense that the work is happening.
3. Perfect  – In this there is a sense of completion of a task.
4 Perfect Continuous –  It gives the sense that the work is already in progress, but there is still some part of it left.

Study the following table of Tenses of the Verb ‘ to go.

Tense Indefinite Continuous Perfect Perfect Continuous
Present  I go. I am going. I have gone. I have been going.
Past I went. I was going. I had gone. I had been going.
Future I shall go. I shall be going. I shall have gone. I shall have been going.

 

The present tense

Present indefinite tense

In the Present Indefinite Tense, no definite thing is said about the completion or incompleteness of the work, that is, the current status of the work. Hence it is called Indefinite.

Composition

Sentence Subject : I we . you , they Noun ( Plural ) He , she , is Noun ( Singular )
Positive  Ist form of verb Ist form + s / es
Negative do not + Ist form does not + Ist form
Interrogative Do + Subject + Ist form …. ? Does + subject + Ist form … ?

Note – 

  • If at the end of Ist form of verb o, ss, sh, ch. If x is then put + es. Like go – goes , miss – misses , teach – teaches , wash – washes , mix – mixes .
  • If there is a consonant before y at the end of Ist form of verb, then replace y with + ies, eg carry – carries, fly flies.

 

Use of present indefinite tense 

(a)  Always, never, seldom, often, sometimes, daily, everyday, every week, every month, once a week, twice a week, etc., in a sentence to express habitual action or daily routine. Have you kept for example

  1. I go to school everyday.
  2. I never lie.
  3. i shower twice a day

(b) To express General Truth and Permanent Truth, such as

  1. Delhi stands on the bank of the Yamuna.
  2. This road leads to the post office.
  3. The sun rises in the east.
  4. The earth moves round the sun.

(c) Present moment (recently or at the present time) to express events that are happening such as

  1. I live at Kamla Nagar.
  2. Sarla reads in ninth class.

(d) to express actions that will happen in the near future, such as

  1. My birthday comes off next month.
  2. They leave at 9 a.m. tomorrow.

(e) to repeat a quotation, such as

  1. Browning says. “Who knows the world may end tonight.”
  2. Keats says. “A thing of beauty is a joy forever.”

(f) to express a past event in a narrative such as

  1. Laxmi Bai now rides a horse and leads her army.
  2. Sher Singh takes his sister and leaves for Holland.
  3. The brave dog now kills the snake and waits for his master’s return.

(g) In exclamatory sentences that begin with the words see, here or there and refer to the current event. In such sentences come and go are considered to be the most effective words, such as

  1. Here comes my mother.
  2. See, how it rains.
  3. There goes the Principal.

(h) While broadcasting Running Commentaries such as

Saurabh comes in and bowls to Rahul . Rahul lifts the ball. Sachin takes a low catch. Rahul goes back to the pavilion.

(i) To express Sub-Adverb Clause, when Future Indefinite Tense is given in Principal Clause, as

  1. If the school bus comes, I shall board it.
  2. When she returns, I shall convey your message to her.
  3. If you insist, I shall stay a little longer.

(J) To introduce Imperative Sentence, such as

  1. Obey your elders.
  2. Do not hate the poor.
  3. Never tell a lie.
  4. Please lend me some money.

 

Present continuous tense

Present continuous tense which expresses the continuation of the present.

Composition

Positive  is / are / am + Ist form + ing I with am
Negative is / are / am + not + Ist form + ing We, you. they with are
Interrogative Is / are / am + Subject + Ist form + ing …. ? He, she put is with it.

 

Remember this

1. If there is ‘ ‘ at the end of Verb, then ‘e’ is removed while putting + ing, eg come + ing = coming, write + ing = writing advise + ing = advising.

2. If ‘ ie ‘ is at the end of Verb, then ‘ ie ‘ becomes y when + ing is used; Like dle + ing = dying , lie + ing = lying, tie + ing = tying.

3. If the last letter of a verb (except w.r, y) is preceded by a vowel, then the last letter is written twice when + ing is used; like

run + ing = running , put + ing = putting , beg + ing = begging

 

Use of present continuous tense 

( a ) To express an action taking place while talking, i.e. in the sentence now, these days, now – a – days, still, at this time, at this moment at present etc. Give one of the Adverbs and Adverb Phrases placed, as if

  1. The children are playing in the field.
  2. Why am I wasting my time?
  3. He is teaching in this school now – a – days.

(b) to indicate an action to be taken in the near future, such as

  1. The schools are closing next Saturday.
  2. We are holding a seminar next month.

(c) to reveal a temporary situation, such as

  1. Sohan is riding a horse.
  2. The postman is standing at the gate.
  3. My grandmother is sitting by the fire.

(d) To reveal such circumstances which may be permanent but the author or speaker may reveal them as if they were temporary. This is because he is studying them on the basis of his past experience.

  1. Soon you will come to a big house. This house is facing the south.
  2. You can’t help appreciating the Taj Mahal, it is wearing a white look.
  3. You will recognize the building, it is touching the sky.

(e) to express q habit or custom, as, to express a habit or custom, such as

  1. He is working very hard these days.
  2. She is reading the books very regularly these days.
  3. She is looking after her children very carefully these days.

 

Present perfect tense

It is known from the Present Perfect Tense that the work is over, but it is finished. It’s not too late.

Composition

Positive  has / have + 3rd form I, you, we, they with have and He, she, it with has.
Negative have + not + 3rd form
Interrogative has / have + Subject + 3rd form .. ?

 

Use of present perfect tense

(a) To describe Past Experience: That is, at the end of the sentence, words like before, once, twice, thrice, several times etc. have been given.

  1. I have seen this girl somewhere before.
  2. He has seen the Taj at Agra twice.
  3. They have gone to Mumbai once.
  4. Many people have died of sunstrokes.
  5. Gambling has ruined many careers.

(b) to describe an action that has ended a short time ago and includes the words already, so far as yet, just now, till now, recently, presently, this year, etc.; like

1. My brother has returned from Kanpur presently.
2. I have not finished my work so far.
3. Have you not taken your breakfast as yet?

(c) to describe an action that was already taking place and is still in progress; like

I have known her for seven years.
I have not seen him since Monday last .
Have we not lived here for ten years ?

(d) While expressing that activity which has ended in the past and which can be inferred from present signs or evidence such as

  1. Sushma has eaten all the bananas. ( There are not any left for you )
  2. Manorama has gone out . ( Her house is locked )
  3. It has rained during the night. ( The ground is wet ) .

 

Present perfect continuous tense

Present Perfect Continuous expresses an action that started from the past and continues now.

Composition

Positive  has / have + been + Ist form + ing
Negative has / have + not been + Ist form + ing
Interrogative has / have + subject + not been + Ist form + ing … ?

 

Use of present perfect continuous

(a) To describe an action in which the time since/for has been given and a word describing the present ( this , these , here , now etc. ) is given, such as

  1. I have been living in this house for two years.
  2. These boys have been making a noise for an hour.
  3. She has been washing clothes since morning.

(b) To describe an action that begins with Since when or For how long, such as

  1. Since when have you been waiting for me?
  2. For how long have you been living in this house?

(c) To express an action that began in the past and has ended recently but which has still an effect, such as

  1. They have been walking in the rain, so they are shivering.
  2. I have been whitewashing my house since morning, so I am feeling tired.

 

The past tense

Past indefinite tense

Past Indefinite Tense expresses an action that happened in the past.

Composition

Positive  2nd form of the verb
Negative did not + Ist form
Interrogative Did + Subject + Ist form …… ?

 

Use of past indefinite tense

(a) To describe an action in which the time showing the past i.e. yesterday, last, ago, never etc. has been given, such as

  1. The sun shone brightly yesterday.
  2. My friends saw the Prime Minister last week.
  3. Our servant left us two weeks ago.
  4. She never told a lie.

(b) To describe an action that was in the past as a habit, such as

Gandhiji always spoke the truth.

(c) To describe an action in which since is used as an adverb, such as

  1. It is an hour since the train left.
  2. He is staying with us since he came here.
  3. He is making mischief since he entered the room.
  4. When my grandmother was alive, she fed sparrows early in the morning every day.

 

Past continuous tense

Past Continuous Tense expresses an action that was going on at some point in the past.

Composition

Positive  was / were + 1st form + ing I, he, she, it, was with Noun ( S ) and we, you, they, were with Noun ( P ).
Negative was / were + not + 1st form + ing
Interrogative was / were + Subject + 1st form + ing …… ?

 

Use of past continuous tense

( a ) To describe an action that is accompanied by when in the Adverb Clause, Past Indefinite Tense, such as

  1. When I saw him, he was playing chess.
  2. I was writing a letter when he came to my house.
  3. Mohan was sleeping when I knocked at his door.

(b) If one of the two simultaneous actions is given in Past Continuous Tense, then the other action is also placed in Past Continuous Tense, such as

  1. We were bathing in the river when it was raining.
  2. While I was writing letters, my mother was sleeping.
  3. The nurse was eating sweets when the patient was dying.

(c) This tense is also used with the words always, continuously, etc. to express Persistent actions or past habits;.

  1. He was always ringing me up.
  2. He was constantly troubling his parents.

 

Past perfect tense

Past Perfect Tense expresses an action that was completed in the past before any other action was started.

Composition

Positive had + 3rd form
Negative had + not + 3rd form
Interrogative had + Subject + 3rd form …….. ?

 

Use of past perfect tense

(a) If the before or when clause is given in the Past Indefinite Tense, then the Main clause is placed in the Past Perfect Tense; like

  1. The rain had stopped before we returned home.
  2. The picture had started when I reached the cinema hall.
  3. I had done my exercises when Sheela came to see me.

(b) If Main Clause is placed in Past Indefinite Tense, then the latter Clause is placed in Past Perfect Tense; like

  1. She told me his name after he had left.
  2. We reached the school after the bell had gone.
  3. He caught the scooter after he had missed the bus.

(c) to describe an action in which till, yesterday, till then is given; like

  1. She had not finished her home task till sunset.
  2. He had not paid his fee till the end of the session.
  3. You had not prepared for the examination till the last hour.

 

Past perfect continuous tense

The Past Perfect Continuous Tense expresses an action that has continued in the past.

Composition

Positive had been + Ist form + ing since/for
Negative had not been + Ist form + ing
Interrogative had + Subject + been + Ist form + ing … ?

 

Use of perfect continuous tense

If the when or before clause is given in Past Indefinite Tense, then that Main clause (in which since / for time is given) is placed in Past Perfect Continuous Tense; like

  1. He had been working hard for ten years when he fell ill.
  2. My grandfather had been running a business before he died.
  3. It had been raining since morning when you rang me up.

 

The future tense

Future Indefinite tense

The Future Indefinite Tense expresses an action that is yet to happen

Composition

Positive  will / shall + Ist form We put shall with I and We and Will with all the rest.
Negative will / shall + not + Ist form
Interrogative will / shall + Subject + Ist form

 

Use of future indefinite tense

(a) To describe an action in which the time indicating the future, i.e. tomorrow, next etc. is given; like

  1. It will rain today.
  2. We shall win the match.
  3. I shall see the Taj during the coming holidays.

(b) To describe an action in which the Adverb Clause made up of if unless, when, etc. is given in Present Indefinite Tense; like

  1. Till you reach the station in time, you will not catch the train.
  2. If he works hard, he will pass.
  3. Unless you mend your ways, you will not succeed in life.

 

Future continuous tense

The Future Continuous Tense expresses an action that will continue at some point in the future.

Composition

Positive  will / shall + be + Ist form + ing
Negative will / shall + not be + Ist form + ing
Interrogative will / shall + Subject + be + Ist form + ing …. ?

 

Use of future continuous tense

To describe an action in which tomorrow. At this time with next Sunday next week etc., like

  1. The cook will be cooking food at this time tomorrow .
  2. I shall be writing an essay at this time the next week.
  3. I shall be waiting for you at the crossing.

 

Future perfect tense

Future Perfect Tense expresses an action that will be completed at some point in the future.

Composition

Positive  will / shall + have + 3rd form
Negative will / shall + not have + 3rd form
Interrogative will / shall + Subject + have + 3rd form …… ?

 

Use of future perfect tense

(a) to describe an action in which a time indicating the future is placed before till or by ; like

  1. It will rain today.
  2. We shall win the match.
  3. I shall see the taj during the coming holiday.

(b) To describe an action in which Simple Present is given in front of when or before.

  1. He will have bought a new scooter before he receives your scooter.
  2. I shall have taken a bath before the school bus arrives.
  3. You will have got ready before we visit your house.

 

Future perfect continuous tense

The Future Perfect Continuous Tense expresses that action will continue to happen at a specified time in the future.

Composition

Positive  will / shall + have been + Ist form + ing Since / For
Negative will / shall + not have been + Ist form + ing
Interrogative will / shall + Subject + have been + Ist form + ing .?

 

Use of future perfect continuous tense

To describe an action in which the future showing time with by is given in addition to the time since/for. like

By next Monday. I shall have been staying at my uncle’s house for three weeks.
By tomorrow, she will have been doing her sums for ten days .
By the end of this year, he will have been learning English for two years.

 

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