English Grammar 101: Verb Tense

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Modern English has six tenses, each of which has a corresponding continuous tense.

The first three tenses, present, past, and future, present few problems. Only third person singular in the present tense differs in form:

Present tense of regular (weak) verbs:

Today I walk. Today he walks.

Yesterday I walked.

Tomorrow I shall/will walk.

The dwindling class of irregular (strong) verbs must be learned individually.

Today I go. Today he goes.

Yesterday I went.

Tomorrow I shall/will go.

The other three tenses, perfect, pluperfect, and future perfect, are formed with the helping verbs have, has, and had.

perfect: used to express an event that has just finished, and to describe an event which, although in the past, has effects that continue into the present.

Queen Elizabeth has reigned for 56 years.

pluperfect (past perfect): used to express an event that took place before another action, also in the past.

I had driven all the way to Oklahoma when I realized my mistake.

future perfect: used to express an event that will have taken place at some time in the future.

As of February 26, I shall have been in this job six years.

For complete conjugation tables of weak and strong English verbs, see the Wikipedia article.

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14 thoughts on “English Grammar 101: Verb Tense”

  1. The following sentence is incorect: “I had did it.” What do you call the grammatical error? I know that “had” requires “done” to follow it but can’t remember the rule. It just sounds right to me after all these years. I need a chart to help my grandson master this. His grammar is great except for this

  2. Can I request an article on the difference between verbs in the Imperfect and Perfect Tense? I’ve been trying to pick up some German lately and while trying to learn some basic rules of german grammar, I realised my english grammar isn’t too strong, especially on verb tenses.

  3. What can I say to these good materials which you tried to delivery to us?.I have to thank you for your time and the much effort you took to prepare these materials to help me and others to improve every day English.May the God strengthen you in each steps forwards.
    In peace Thabit Abdul.

  4. Dear Sir/Madam,

    1)Waht is the difference between ” Ex: Do you have money? ” no,I haven’t/ not, I don’t have” Are these both answers right? Or in which contexts we use them?

    2) I have(verb) a coffee every hour. He has/have(verb) a coffee every hours. in the second sentence for he, should we use “has”? does this “has” mean “eat”?

    Please clear my doubts



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