DailyWritingTips

Module 10: Course Review & Certificate

Now that you have completed all the modules on the 12 tenses and learned how to use them, let’s review. 

Tenses allow us to express actions and events and provide a way to let our audience know when they occurred or are occurring. They are an important part of correct sentence structure so you can make sure your audience understands your message.

Sometimes it can be challenging to remember the differences between simple, continuous, and perfect tenses. Make sure to use the modules, examples, formulas, and charts we have provided for help with proper tense use. 

Comprehensive Review of All Tenses

The following sections provide a quick review of each tense, including their formula and examples. Use these reviews along with the chart found in Module Seven and the many practice sessions provided to help you remember how to use each. 

Simple Tenses

The simple tenses are the basic verb tenses in English that allow us to show actions and events in a simple manner. These tenses are used to give information about when an action took place or will take place without getting into the details of time relationships.

Simple Present Tense

Equation: Subject + Verb (s/es)

Use: The simple present tense is used for general truths, habitual actions, and scheduled events. It’s also used to express facts and opinions.

Examples: 

  • Habitual Action: She reads books every evening.  
  • General Truth: Water boils at 100 degrees Celsius.

Simple Past Tense

Equation: Subject + Verb (-ed)

Use: The simple past tense is used to describe actions that were completed in the past. It’s commonly used in storytelling and to talk about events that have happened.

Examples:

  • Completed Action in the Past: He walked to the park yesterday.
  • Past Event: They visited Paris last summer.

Simple Future Tense

Equation: Subject + will + verb base form / Subject + am/is/are + going to + root form verb

Use: The simple future tense is used to discuss actions that are planned, scheduled, or expected to happen in the future. It’s also used for making predictions and promises.

Examples: 

  • Future Action: I will call you tomorrow. OR, I am going to call you tomorrow.
  • Prediction: It will rain later today.
  • Promise: I will always love you.

Continuous Tenses

The continuous tenses, also known as the progressive tenses, provide a more detailed view of actions and events. They emphasize the ongoing nature of actions, whether they are happening at the moment, were happening in the past, or will be happening in the future. The three main continuous tenses are present continuous, past continuous, and future continuous.

Present Continuous Tense

Equation: Subject + am/is/are + Present Participle (-ing form)

Use: The present continuous tense describes actions that are happening at the current moment or around the present time. It emphasizes ongoing activities.

Examples: 

  • Current Action: She is reading a book right now.
  • Ongoing Activity: They are studying for their exams this week.

Past Continuous Tense

Equation: Subject + was/were + Present Participle (-ing form)

Use: The past continuous tense is used to discuss actions that were in progress at a specific time in the past. It highlights ongoing actions in the past.

Example: 

  • Past Actions in Progress: I was cooking dinner when the phone rang.
  • Ongoing Past Activity: They were playing basketball yesterday afternoon.

Future Continuous Tense

Equation: Subject + will be + Present Participle (-ing form)

Use: The future continuous tense is used to describe actions that will be ongoing at a specific time in the future. It emphasizes actions that will be in progress.

Examples: 

  • Future Ongoing Action: He will be studying all night for the exam.
  • Ongoing Activity in the Future: We will be traveling this time next week.

Perfect Tenses

The perfect simple tenses, also known as perfect tenses, allow us to talk about actions that are completed or have a connection to a specific point in time. They connect the past, present, or future with the idea of completion, helping an audience understand the timing of specific actions. There are three main perfect simple tenses: present perfect, past perfect, and future perfect.

Present Perfect Tense

Equation: Subject + have/has + Past Participle (-ed form or irregular)

Use: The present perfect tense is used to discuss actions that have a connection to the present moment. It shows that an action was completed at some point before now.

Examples: 

  • Action Completed with Connections to the Present: She has finished her homework.
  • Experience Up to Now: I have never been to Europe.

Past Perfect Tense

Equation: Subject + had + Past Participle (-ed form or irregular)

Use: The past perfect tense is used to show actions that were completed before a specific time or action in the past. It establishes a sequence of events in the past.

Examples: 

  • Past Action Completed Before Another Past Action: He had already left when I arrived.
  • Prior Experience: They had seen the movie before.

The past perfect tense is often used with words like “before,” “after,” “already,” and “by the time” to clarify the sequence of past events. For example: “She had already finished her report by the time the meeting started,” or “After they had eaten, they went for a walk.”

Future Perfect Tense

Equation: Subject + will have + Past Participle (-ed form or irregular)

Use: The future perfect tense is used to talk about actions that will be completed by a specific point in the future. It emphasizes the completion of an action before another future action or time.

Examples:

  • Future Action Completed Before a Future Time: By next year, he will have worked here for a decade.
  • Anticipated Completion: We will have finished dinner by 8 PM.

Perfect Continuous Tenses

The perfect continuous tenses, also known as the perfect progressive tenses, give a detailed view of actions that have been ongoing and are connected to a specific time or point in time. These tenses combine the concepts of continuity, completion, and timing. There are three main perfect continuous tenses: present perfect continuous, past perfect continuous, and future perfect continuous.

Present Perfect Continuous Tense

Equation: Subject + has/have + been + Present Participle (-ing form)

Use: The present perfect continuous tense is used to show actions that began in the past and have connections to the present. It emphasizes the duration of an ongoing action up to the present.

Examples: 

  • Ongoing Action with Connections to the Present: She has been studying for three hours.
  • Continuous Activity: They have been working on this project all week.

Past Perfect Continuous Tense

Equation: Subject + had been + Present Participle (-ing form)

Use: The past perfect continuous tense is used to show actions that were ongoing in the past and were completed before another specific point in the past. It shows the duration of an action up to a past reference point.

Examples: 

  • Ongoing Action Completed Before Another Past Action: He had been playing tennis for an hour before it started raining.
  • Duration of Waiting: They had been waiting for ages when the bus finally arrived.

The present perfect continuous tense is often used with words like “for” and “since” to indicate the duration or starting point of the ongoing action. For example: “We have been living here for five years,” or “He has been feeling unwell since yesterday.”

Future Perfect Continuous Tense

Equation: Subject + will have been + Present Participle (-ing form)

Use: The future perfect continuous tense is used to discuss actions that will have been ongoing up to a specific point in the future. It highlights the duration and completion of an action before a future time.

Examples: 

  • Ongoing Action Completed Before a Future Action: By the time she arrives, I will have been waiting for an hour.

Duration of Residence: They will have been living in the city for a decade by next year.