Lеаrning vеrb tеnsеs is оnе оf thе mоst impоrtant tаsks in аny lаnguаgе learning. Thе tеrm, tеnsе, hаs bееn dеrivеd frоm thе Lаtin wоrd “tеmpus” mеаning timе.
Undеrstаnding Еnglish tеnsеs is thе kеy tо using Еnglish grаmmаr cоrrеctly. In Еnglish lаnguаgе, thеrе аrе thrее bаsic tеnsеs: prеsеnt, pаst, аnd futurе. Еаch оf thеsе tеnsеs hаs fоur fоrms: a simplе fоrm, a pеrfеct fоrm, indicаting cоmplеtеd аctiоn; а cоntinuоus оr prоgrеssivе fоrm, indicаting оngоing аctiоn; аnd а pеrfеct cоntinuоus fоrm, indicаting оngоing аctiоn thаt will bе cоmplеtеd аt sоmе dеfinitе timе. Vеrb tеnsеs аrе fоrmеd аccоrding tо pеrsоn, numbеr, аnd tеnsе.
This vеrb tеnsеs tаblе bеlоw prоvidеs thе rulеs fоr еаch tеnsе, еxаmplеs оf prоpеr tеnsе usе, аs wеll аs timе еxprеssiоns cоmmоnly usеd with thе tеnsе.





Time Expressions

Simple Present

A: I/You/We/They work

He/She/It works

Q: Do I/You/We/They work?

Does He/She/It work?

N: I/You/We/They don’t work

He/She/It doesn’t work

to talk about habits and long lasting situations.

to talk about events which are part of a timetable.

to talk about facts.

to talk about scheduled future events.

with a future meaning in subordinate clauses (if sentence).


every day, usually, often, never, always, normally, seldom, sometimes

Present Continuous

A: I am working

You/We/They are working

He/She/It is working

N: I am not working

You/We/They are not working

He/She/It is not working
Q: Am I working?

Are You/We/They working?

Is He/She/It working?

to express the idea that something is happening now, in the moment of speaking.

for temporary situations - to say that we are in the process of doing a longer action.

for annoying habits.

for definite future arrangements.

now, at this moment, currently, right now



Present Perfect

A: I/You/We/They have worked

He/She/It has worked

N: I/You/We/They have not worked

He/She/It has not worked

Q: Have I/You/We/They worked?

Has He/She/It worked?


action that has taken place once, never or several times before the moment of speaking.

to talk about unfinished actions that started in the past and continue to the present.

to talk about life experience in the past.

to talk about finished action with a result in the present (with emphasis on the result).



never, often, already, yet, since, for, lately, this week, this month, ever, not yet, so far, till now, up to now








Perfect Continuous

A: I/You/We/They have been working

He/She/It has not been working

N: I/You/We/They have not been working

He/She/It has not been working

Q: Have I/You/We/They been working?

Has He/She/It been working?

for unfinished actions which started in the past and continue to the present, putting emphasis on the course or duration (not the result)

actions which have just stopped and have a result, that influenced the present

for two years, since yesterday, since .. o’clock, for a long time, all day, the whole day, how long?

Past Simple

A: I/You/We/They/He/She/It worked

N: I/You/We/They/He/She/It didn’t work

Q: Did I/You/We/They/He/She/It work?

to express the idea that an action started and finished at a specific time in the past.

to list a series of completed actions in the past.

to describe a habit which stopped in the past.

ago, in 1990, last night, yesterday, the other day

Past Continuous

A: I/He/She/It was working

You/We/They were working

N: I/He/She/It was not working

You/We/They were not working

Q: Was I/He/She/It working?

Were You/We/They working?

action going on at a certain time in the past.

continuous action in the past which is interrupted by another action or a time.

two actions which happened at the same time in the past.

annoying and repeated action in the past.

all day long, all day yesterday, all the time, from ... till, while, when, as long as

Past Perfect

A: I/You/We/He/She/It/They  had worked
N: Had I/You/We/He/She/It/They worked?
Q: I/You/We/He/She/It/They had not worked


to talk about completed action before something else in the past.

something that started in the past and continued up to another action in the past.

as part of the third conditional.

putting emphasis only on the fact (not the duration).

by ... o’clock, by Monday, by the 1st of May, by the end of the week, already, just, never, not yet, once, until that day

Past Perfect Continuous

A: I/We/You/He/She/It/They had been working
N: I/We/You/He/She/It/They had not been working

Q: Had I/We/You/He/She/It/They been working?

to talk about something that started in the past and continued up to another action or event.

putting emphasis on the duration or course of an action.

for three years, for a long time, since, the whole day, all day

Future Simple

A: I/We  shall  work

You/They/He/She/It will work

N: Shall I/We work?

Will You/They/He/She/It work?

Q: I/We  shan’t work

You/They/He/She/It won’t work

for voluntary action in future.

in promises.

in general prediction about the future.

spontaneous decision


assumption with regard to the future

Tomorrow, next week, in 5 years, in 2020




Future Continuous

A: I/We shall be working

You/We/They/He/She/It will be working
N: I/we shall not be working

You/We/They/He/She/It will not be working

Q: Shall I/We be working?

Will You/We/They/He/She/It

Be working?

continuous action in the future which is interrupted by a time or by another action.

to make a guess about the present.

action that is going on at a certain time in the future

at .. o’clock, at that moment, all day long, all the time, from .. till..




Future Perfect

A: I/We shall have worked

You/They/He/She/It have worked

N: I/We shall not have worked

You/They/He/She/It  will not have worked

Q: Shall I/We have worked?

Will You/They/He/She/It have worked?

to talk about an action that will be finished before a certain time in the future

by ... o’clock, by the 1st of May, by the end of the week

Future Perfect


A: I/we shall have been working

You/We/They/He/She/It will have been working

N: I/We shall not have been working

You/We/They/He/She/It will not have been working

Q: Shall I/we have been working?

Will You/We/They/He/She/It have been working?

to talk about an action which starts before a time in the future and continues up to that time.

putting emphasis on the course of an action

for …, the last couple of hours, all day long